How much do Louisiana Republicans dislike President Obama? Many of them blame him for the government’s tragic response to Hurricane Katrina – which struck the state more three years before Obama took office.
The latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, provided exclusively to TPM, showed an eye-popping divide among Republicans in the Bayou State when it comes to accountability for the government’s post-Katrina blunders.
Twenty-eight percent said they think former President George W. Bush, who was in office at the time, was more responsible for the poor federal response while 29 percent said Obama, who was still a freshman U.S. Senator when the storm battered the Gulf Coast in 2005, was more responsible. Nearly half of Louisiana Republicans – 44 percent – said they aren’t sure who to blame.
I realize that 2005 was a while ago, and among Republicans there’s some disagreement about the efficacy of George W. Bush’s handling of the crisis, but the PPP results really don’t make any sense.
So what explains this? There are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, it’s possible that after several years in which the political world described all sorts of different developments as “Obama’s Katrina,” a lot of folks may have gotten confused and started to connect the words “Obama” and “Katrina” in a mistaken way.
Second, let’s not underestimate the scope of reflexive GOP opposition to the president, in Louisiana and elsewhere, and the way in which that leads Republican to blame Obama for just about anything. More Louisiana Republicans blame Obama than Bush for the response to Katrina, which obviously don’t make sense, but I imagine if PPP asked, a non-trivial number of Louisiana Republicans would also blame the president for 9/11, Watergate, the Hindenburg disaster, the 1919 White Sox, and the U.S. Civil War.
In other words, Louisiana Republicans may say they blame Obama for the response to Katrina, but what they’re really saying is they just hate the president and blame him reflexively for everything.