In a speech at Brown University, John Kerry said Katrina had "stripped away any image of competence and exposed to all the true heart and nature of this administration. The truth is that for four and a half years, real life choices have been replaced by ideological agenda, substance replaced by spin, governance second place always to politics."
What did White House defenders say to that? Well, as the New York Times put it, they leapt into rapid-response mode by “accus[ing] Democrats of trying to take political advantage of a tragedy.”
But there is no “ouch” there. Just laughter, because such a pathetically inadequate retort not only fails to defend, but actually confirms what Kerry charged. In responding to legitimate, widespread criticism of gross mismanagement by merely accusing critics of playing politics, the White House demonstrates its unswerving loyalty to spin over substance and politics over governance - and both tactics underlie the administration’s overarching, strategic ideology-in-practice of always keeping its agenda safely removed from reality.