UPDATE [3/2]: In what may be one of the more lamer attempts at defending Bush, Mickey Kaus writes:
A good deal of the gleeful Froomkinian outrage in the press and Democratic party over that pre-Katrina video seems to be based on what is at best is a semantic misunderstanding. After Katrina, Bush said "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." In the video, Patterico points out, Bush is warned by hurricane expert Max Mayfield that there's a chance the "levees will be topped." Topping is different than breaching, no? When a levee's "topped," or "overtopped," some water sloshes over it and into the city. Then the storm passes and that's it. When a levee's "breached," there's a hole in the levee and Lake Pontchartrain pours in the gap and keeps pouring in until the city is completely flooded. What Bush said after the storm seems quite consistent with what Mayfield told him before the storm--i.e., he thought the levees might be topped by the storm surge but not that they'd be breached, with the catastrophe that resulted.Yeah, that's the ticket...all Bush was warned of was that "some water" might drip over the levees and down into the Big Easy as a result of Katrina, not that there would be mass flooding as a result...such a trivial thing, too; I wonder why Mr. Mayfield even broached the subject. And technically, Clinton didn't have "sexual relations" with Ms. Lewinsky either.
Jeez, that doesn't even survive the giggle test. In fact, "topping" and "breaching" are the same thing, in this context. Both constitute a failure in the levee system to prevent water from flooding the city of New Orleans, and with Katrina predicted to be a Cat-5 hurricane when the President was briefed, the predicted result was going to be the same: a calamitous and overwhelming ocean of water entering the city, ruining everything in its path. It didn't matter if the water was coming over the levee or through it. Bush knew that this was possible, was warned about it before it took place, then denied he had been told anything of the sort several days later. This isn't even lame spin; it's insulting.