Hurricane Katrina? Thanks, Obama!

Public Policy Polling has a new poll out with a rather startling result. In a survey of Louisiana voters, more Republicans in that state blame Obama for the federal response to Hurricane Katrina than blame Bush. Obama, of course, had nothing to do with it, he had just taken his seat in the Senate a few months earlier.

A significant chunk of Louisiana Republicans evidently believe that President Barack Obama is to blame for the poor response to the hurricane that ravaged their state more than three years before he 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.

Now, this is to some extent a “gotcha” poll question. They only gave two options, Bush or Obama, when they could have also asked about the mayor, the government, the state’s representatives in Congress, FEMA and so forth. But it still says something very disturbing about how people form opinions on important questions. We all are prone to tribalism, confirmation biases and all the other ways that our brains subvert our rationality, but it should also be clear that most people (and not just these particular Republicans) do not base their political beliefs on rational thinking at all.

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  • John Pieret

    Another example of wingnut “thinking.” “Every bad (for wingnut definitions of “bad”) thing is Obama’s fault.”

    That’s what he gets for presidenting while black.

  • matty1

    You forgot about the time machine again. Obama is responsible for everything, the less likely he was involved the more certain it is he did it. For events before he was born it is a dead certainty that he flew in on the OFTM and, for example, stabbed Julius Caesar.

  • Christoph Burschka

    for the federal response to Hurricane Katrina

    Just the response? He made that hurricane.

    Obama also did 9/11, faked the moon landing, and I’m convinced he personally ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor as well as the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. Crucifixion of Jesus? Thanks, Obama!

  • Don Williams

    1) I think the Democratic pollsters did us a disservice by NOT asking the Louisiana voters WHY they blamed

    Obama more than Bush.

    That would have let us tell if they are simply brainwashed by deceitful Republican propaganda (e.g, Fox), if they are ignorant, or if they felt that Obama and the other 99 Senators should have got off their ass and done something other than pose.

    I mean, what is the Senate good for other than to enjoy the benefits of power (being bribed by the Rich) while accepting no responsibility for the state of the nation?

    2) Bush was obviously incompetent — I could never tell if that was because he was a fool, deeply corrupt (and hence focused only on the concerns of the Rich, not the People) or both. But he at least accepted that he was — more or less — responsible for results. Even in the worst of his goatfucks, that gave him an advantage over two-faced poseurs who are just polishing their resume as another step up the Empire’s Cursus_Honorum.

  • raven


    The Louisiana war on education is obviously winning.

    It looks like much of the state can’t even read a calendar. Or read at all.

    Next stop. The New Dark Age.

  • Don Williams

    In May 2008, Congress was held in greater contempt than George W Bush — its approval rating was a historically low 18% versus Bush’s 29%.

    That was 18 months since the Democratic Caucus had taken charge. in January 2006.

    Oh, and rank and file Democrats held Congress in even greater contempt than did Republicans — only 16% approving versus 20% Republicans.

    Heck of a job, Nancy.

  • exdrone

    “Heck of a job, Barry.”

  • That time machine is a dangerous thing in Obama’s hands.

    But seriously, this is like that poll showing that Republicans think Obama is a Muslim. If you ask a question, “did Obama do a bad thing or is a bad type of person”, they will always say yes. I guess that’s telling in and of itself, but we don’t need a poll to tell us that wingnuts associate the President with all things evil.

  • eric

    Now, this is to some extent a “gotcha” poll question.

    I worry more that it’s acting like an unintentional push-poll, and actively increasing the level of ignorance. Without a name prompt, people might have remembered correctly who was in office. By giving names, I bet some of the respondents started to doubt their initial thoughts about it being Bush.

    I bet at least some internal narratives went like this: “Gee, I don’t remember Obama being around then. But this poll guy is probably pretty smart. If his question includes Obama as an option, Obama must have been important back then. Maybe I was wrong to blame Bush all this time. Pick Obama!”

  • Alverant


    Well Don the Democrats have a whole network dedicated to lying about them and putting everything they do in the worst possible light while promoting Republicans and ignoring the crap they do. Also the Democrats did not “take charge” of Congress. The Republicans still had enough votes to do a perpetual filibuster of anything the Democrats tried to do. The fact is they used the filibuster more times during Obama than any other President.

    Funny how you can keep someone from doing their job yet with a straight face blame them for not doing their job.

  • To be far a lot of people have poor recollections of the passage of time and when events happened. I would imagine a few of the respondents actually think Hurricane Katrina struck after Bush left office. Of course the chance to find yet another thing to blame on Obama doesn’t help.

  • Alverant


    Good point. I remember a lot of GOPers wanted to blame Clinton for 9/11 because they thought it happened on his watch. Some even claimed there were no terrorist attacks during W’s reign.

  • spacejunkie

    It’s funny how Clinton copped so much for 9/11 considering he was on a speaking tour of Australia at the time, warning us of the threat of Al Quaeda to world peace.

  • Don Williams

    Re Alverant at 10: “Also the Democrats did not “take charge” of Congress. The Republicans still had enough votes to do a perpetual filibuster of anything the Democrats tried to do. The fact is they used the filibuster more times during Obama than any other President.”

    So why hasn’t Reid destroyed the filibuster? What purpose does it serve other than giving several Democratic Senators the opportunity to sell out and defect to the Republicans whenever we give Democrats control of the White House, a huge supermajority in the House and a filibuster proof majority in the Senate.

    Rank and file Democrats could work their asses off putting 90 Democrats in the Senate — and at the opportune moment 31 of those Senators would defect to the Republicans and we would have a mob of Democratic “activists” springing up on Daily Kos to give incoherent explanations for why 10 Republicans are still running the US Government.

    I am tired of this two-faced bullshit. When George W Bush came to power in January 2001, he was able to steal $3 Trillion out of the Social Security/Medicare Trust Funds and hand it to the Rich within a few months –even though there were 50 Democrats in the Senate. Where was the magic filibuster then?

  • Matt G

    Louisiana needs to stop being the state of stupid (apologies to Gov. Jindal).

  • Obama hatred has become a conditioned reflex for many republicans. Just saying his name drives them into a frothing rage. It doesn’t matter what the questions was. It could have been who killed the Lindbergh baby. Once they saw Obama’s name, they exploded into an uncontrollable blamestorm.

  • Don Williams

    Re spacejunkie at 13:

    1) Maybe Clinton is held partially responsible for Sept 11 because during his Administration Al Qaeda blew up two of our embassies, blew a huge hole in the USS Cole and bombed the World Trade Center — and yet Bill Clinton did nothing to deal with them even though he had 8 years to do so and was Commander of the world’s nuclear superpower/hegemon. If Clinton had approved the CIA’s request to assassinate Bin Laden, 3000 Americans would not have died on Sept 11, 2001.

    2) Of course, one can understand Clinton’s timidness — he had thrown a million soldiers and intel workers away like used toilet paper to reduce the deficit with the Republicans.

    2) When your national security advisor has to sneak into the National Archives and commit a felony stealing classified papers , it’s kinda clear that you really don’t want the historians taking a look

    at how you performed:

  • sbuh

    I remember when 15% of the Republicans in Ohio gave more credit for killing Bin Laden to Romney than Obama.

    I just can’t figure these people out.

  • colnago80

    Re Don Williams @ #17

    Actually, he tried to have Osama’s ticket canceled but was 1/2 hour late. Now if he had dropped a 15 megaton bomb on Osame’s hideout, he would have gotten him and all his confederates.

  • colnago80

    Re Don Williams @ #14

    So why hasn’t Reid destroyed the filibuster?

    The answer to that is very simple and I’m surprised that a graduate of Utter Vacuous Assholes didn’t know the answer. The reason is that the Dems will not always be in control of the Senate and in the event the Rethugs take over, they want to be in a position to block legislation and appointments, just like the latter have done. See how simple that is.

  • smhll

    I normally don’t approve of bullshit voting restrictions, but I’m almost ready to propose one for people who think time and causality flow backwards.

  • ethanol

    It is helpful, when trying to understand beliefs like this, to consider Richard Hofstader’s conception of the fundamentalist’s relation to reality.

    The issues of the actual world are hence transformed into a spiritual Armageddon, an ultimate reality, in which any reference to day-by-day actualities has the character of an allegorical illustration, and not of the empirical evidence that ordinary men offer for ordinary conclusions. Thus, when a right-wing leader accuses Dwight D Eisenhower being a conscious, dedicated agent of the international Communist conspiracy, he may seem demented, by the usual criteria of the political intelligence; but, more accurately, I believe, he is quite literally out of this world. What he is trying to account for is not Eisenhower’s actual political behavior, as men commonly understand it, but Eisenhower’s place, as a kind of fallen angel, in the realm of ultimate moral and spiritual values, which to him has infinitely greater reality than mundane politics.

    Obama is fundamentally, essentially evil, and thus misfortune and disasters are likely to be linked with him, irrespective of obscure concerns like when he was in office.

  • skinnercitycyclist

    Yeah, ethanol, if Hofstader were writing today, he would have to title his work: Anti-Basic Cognitive Processes in American Life, or Anti-Chewing Gum and Walking at the Same Time in American Life.

  • dingojack

    Perhaps he’d call it See What Happens When You Believe Fairy-stories Are Real?.


  • That’s just nuts.