John Podheretz, writing on NRO's blog The Corner, provides some perspective
on the relief operation in New Orleans:
So it took the federal government somewhere between 72 and 96 hours to go on full mobilization after the disasters of Katrina. At any time in history before the present moment, that would have been considered lightning-fast. Even as little as five years ago, we wouldn't have gotten the horrifying reports out of New Orleans that we got from Shep Smith and others using light cameras and videophones -- and by the time the extent of the nightmare would have become widely known, the relief operation would have been fully underway.
After all, huge naval vessels can only sail so fast; the deployment of National Guardsmen takes a bit of time; even moving helicopters and the like into place surely isn't a matter of a few moments. The thing is that America now sees these things in real time and imagines that if Fox and CNN can be there with a few people, surely the feds can be there with tens of thousands.
With the local and state governments of Louisiana collapsing both tactically and emotionally, there was nowhere for that sense of frustration to flow other than toward the federal government. And there it will remain until the president succeeds in convincing the nation that he has taken personal responsibility for the management of this unprecedented disaster. At which point the responsibility might well begin to flow back again to the local and state authorities whose negligence in the days preceding the catastrophe border on the homicidally negligent. But not until then.