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September 02, 2005

Condi's Shoes

Having spent the previous two entries banging on the Bushies, let me take a moment to say that I don't particularly care that Condi Rice was buying shoes and taking in a Broadway show the other day. She's Secretary of State, which if I remember correctly means that she deals with the rest of the world. One doesn't want to excuse the "it's not my department" sort of thinking in a general sense, of course, but in this case it really isn't her department. Also, she probably had those Spamalot tickets for weeks, since before Katrina was even a tropical depression. Basically, there are so many legitimate things to be outraged about with what's going down South that this just seems like an unnecessary expenditure of bile.

Posted by john at September 2, 2005 02:08 AM

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Comments

Byron | September 2, 2005 02:49 AM

I have to disagree on this one---she should be at work coordinating offers of relief from other nations (Canada being a notable example). Hell, if she was paying attention she would have tried to show some leadership for purely political reasons---she just blew her chance to be 'the hero of New Orleans.' Instead she's going to be 'the one who went shopping' in 2008 (or whenever she makes her run at the Presidency)

Anonymous | September 2, 2005 04:28 AM

Cribbed from here,
one of the things that just might be her department is answering calls from Russia, Japan, Canada, France, Honduras, Germany, Venezuela, Jamaica, Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece, Hungary, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, China, South Korea, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, NATO and the Organization of American States.

marrije | September 2, 2005 05:02 AM

The situation with international help is quite baffling to me. Apparently, help has been offered for days already, but governments have basically been told thanks but no thanks. That seems to be changing (see NYT article), but goodness, I think it was clear even a few days ago that any help would HELP here. There's Dutch Navy in the Caribbean, for instance. Ask them to head north and assist with helicoptering in food & water.

Have people at the Superdome received water and food and such yet?

marrije | September 2, 2005 05:31 AM

anonymous, thanks for that link, which led to even more helpful bits. As I suspected, help has been offered and been turned down. Not smart.

tommyspoon | September 2, 2005 06:31 AM

John, it's the leadership, not the shoes.

John Scalzi | September 2, 2005 07:14 AM

Byron:

"I have to disagree on this one---she should be at work coordinating offers of relief from other nations (Canada being a notable example)."

I am assuming she has underlings that are competent to do that while she catches a show, however.

I'm not saying it was the smartest thing for her to catch a show, just that ti doesn't rise to the level of outrage.

tommyspoon | September 2, 2005 07:47 AM

Perhaps not, but I found the reaction of the woman in the shoe story very telling. It is the responsibility of the government to provide leadership in times of crisis. And don't you think that Condi could have scored some tix for a later date? I mean, it's just "Spamalot!" for Pete's sake. Honestly, she could just rent 3 or 4 Monty Python films and have a much better time.

Daniel | September 2, 2005 08:04 AM

I'm proud to live in a country where the fate of Terry Schiavo is far more important to our leaders than the fate of New Orleans.

mythago | September 2, 2005 10:51 AM

Was she doing this shoe shopping during the day, when she should have been coordinating relief efforts? (I'm betting the Broadway show was at night.)

It's one thing to criticize her if she was playing when she should have been working. But is it really reasonable to expect the Secretary of State to do nothing else 24/7? (For one thing, I thought we had this agency to coordinate disaster relief....what's it called....FEMA-something?)

snowcrash | September 2, 2005 11:43 AM

I believe it's called FE-NAMBLA.

I miss Jon Stewart. At least with him, I can laugh at the insanity going on...

Brian Greenberg | September 2, 2005 12:30 PM

John - my turn to give you an "Amen" and "Hallelujah." Even if the State Department did have a major role to play, I'm sure no one was sitting around & waiting to make a critical decision until Spamalot hit intermission.

These folks are the same folks who think Bush's five minutes with the kids in Florida slowed down our response to 9/11. And rest assured, if it weren't for the rumors that she might make a presidential run in the near future, no one would be discussing it. I mean, heck - I heard that Donald Rumsfeld left his office yesterday to get a sandwich. Someone alert the media!

Unfortunately, Byron is right - when it comes time for her presidential run, someone's going to show video of her shopping for shoes & attempt to discredit her. It's not outrage for New Orleans, it's presidential politics run amok...

Steve Eley | September 2, 2005 01:42 PM

snowcrash:
I miss Jon Stewart. At least with him, I can laugh at the insanity going on...

I think (not positive) that the Daily Show was scheduled for repeats this week already, but even if they weren't it's a smarter choice than trying to make jokes about something like this on the week it happens.

Steve Brady | September 2, 2005 02:00 PM

I'll concede the nighttime show, but maybe she could have donated to the relief effort instead of buying another pair of expensive shoes.

Lanna Lee Maheux-Quinn | September 2, 2005 02:08 PM

Obviously she should be barefoot!

Barefoot and unamused.

(BTW John, I tried to sign in to typekey and I got this error message: The site you're trying to comment on has not signed up for this feature. Please inform the site owner.)

MKeaton | September 2, 2005 03:04 PM

I am reminded of Camus (especially "The Stranger").

Steve Brady | September 2, 2005 03:36 PM

Okay, what's the over/under on how many pairs of shoes Condi owns? 50?

Patrick | September 2, 2005 04:45 PM

Apparently we (Canada) are now sending ships with supplies down New Orleans way (http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/09/02/canadian_response20050902.html).

Kevin Q | September 2, 2005 07:09 PM

Patrick said,

Apparently we (Canada) are now sending ships with supplies down New Orleans way

Thank you.

K

Brian Greenberg | September 3, 2005 01:56 AM

Steve Brady:


I'll concede the nighttime show, but maybe she could have donated to the relief effort instead of buying another pair of expensive shoes.

Yeah - like Condi Rice can't donate to the relief effort and buy a pair of expensive shoes...

bellatrys | September 3, 2005 10:54 AM

Okay, anybody remember the Kursk?

Putin, an autocrat in all but name, was so shaken in his rule by his choosing to vacation through and refuse help, that -- well, you saw what happened when another sub got stuck recently.

Imagine if, on 9/15, Condi didn't cancel her tickets to a show in Vegas.

Imagine if Blair hadn't dropped everything and rushed back to London in the middle of the V8.

Imagine if the Greek prime minister had just kept vacationing through the big earthquake.

In any government but ours, it would be call-for-new-elections time. In any administraion but this, it would be firing time.

And then it is all part of a piece - the month of watching Bush scuttle back and forth to Crawford on Yet ANOTHER Vacation (the vacationingest President ever) avoiding Mrs. Sheehan and other Gold Star families to alternate playing and peddling his mystic snake oil - the sense that it *is* all a potemkin presidency, that they are just aristos playing at being shepherds, and you have a populace that is *almost* in the mood to start decorating the lightposts.

The Rev. | September 3, 2005 12:23 PM

snowcrash, that's a load and you know it.

An American city has been destroyed, and that means it's an ALL HANDS ON DECK situation- regardless of your cabinet position. That vaunted intelligence of hers can't be applied to domestic concerns? The sheer gall she displayed by hanging out at the U.S. Open, taking in a show, and buying several thousands of dollars worth of Ferragamos on 5th Ave. (not to mention having a woman forcibly ejected from the store when she was called on it) is only exceeded by that of her boss.

And what's she doing now for the people of New Orleans? Spin control for the administration. God- please let there be a hell.

mythago | September 3, 2005 01:05 PM

but maybe she could have donated to the relief effort instead of buying another pair of expensive shoes

Maybe you could be down in Mississippi now volunteering for the Red Cross instead of posting on blogs. Maybe we could all scale back down to dial-up and donate the extra money to the Red Cross.

Admittedly, I am a little leery of the fact that the "thousands on Ferragamos" comes from an anonymous source on a blog.

mythago | September 3, 2005 04:35 PM

Ah, here we go:

http://www.snopes.com/politics/katrina/rice.asp

lilly | September 4, 2005 11:43 AM

I agree with it not being her job. But at the same time she has role in the gov even if to just show support. Not to mention isnt she or her family from the Ala. ? To me it just showed bad taste, you have such a huge event in the US, lots of people who didnt have much to begin with are now without anything, kids walking on hot roads, people with cardboard taped to their feet to stop the burning and she is shopping for $3000 shoes. Granted its not here job, but neither is it for all of the unknown volunteers who stepped up to sort clothes and so forth. I just think she should have put the shoe shopping off and did a little more. I am sure now though with the public knowing she will.

mythago | September 4, 2005 01:57 PM

and she is shopping for $3000 shoes

So now we're from a gossip tidbit about "thousands of dollars on shoes" to shoes that themselves cost $3,000. See how this game is played?

lilly | September 4, 2005 02:45 PM

well, actually I saw $3000 dollars on another report. I get your point, but at the same time my point remains the same she is still shoping for shoes no matter what the cost. And to add I dont have any problem with Condi, im just simply saying for a public figure that high up in the gov she just showed bad taste.

mythago | September 4, 2005 03:00 PM

If "she is still shoping for shoes no matter what the cost" is the point, then why all the extranous details about the cost of the shoes or how many she bought? Think the story would have the same punch if it were "Secretary of State Condoleeze Rice stopped in at a Payless Shoe Store for five minutes as she was leaving an important government meeting, and spent $20"?

Somehow, I'm thinking not.

lilly | September 4, 2005 03:11 PM

Unfortunately, thats not what is being reported. I am only giving my opionion on the what the articles are stating occured. (shopping for expensive shoes) Simply saying if its true then i think it was bad taste.

Anonymous | September 5, 2005 12:59 AM

Unfortunately, thats not what is being reported.

What you said was "my point remains the same she is still shoping for shoes no matter what the cost".

windypoint | September 5, 2005 02:24 AM

I disagree. How long is the crisis phase of a disaster like this supposed to last... a week? two weeks? Not that long a period of time to delay shopping for shoes and concentrate on doing your job better than you've ever done it before. Poor working people do this all the time... have periods of time where they work 80 hour weeks and don't have time for jack all else. Maybe the town they are in has a major sporting event and their employer needs to sell a hundred times as many burgers as usual. Maybe their factory gets an extra big order. Maybe the equipment at their factory breaks down and when it is repaired the work needs to be made up.

The point is, she's really got no-one managing her, telling her when is time for overtime, because she should be expected to work it out for herself and discipline herself, push herself, do more than before. If there isn't enough work in her department, well gosh, the rest of the team appears to be in a bit of trouble, how about helping out there by offering to do whatever work she can do?

The adminsitration seems to have behaved like a bunch of 17 year old kids working their first jobs for minimum wage at a burger joint. Sorry we didn't do this, that, the other, no-one asked us to. Sorry, I've finished my work, what you expect me to help with someone elses??! And buying shoes and taking in a show is a bit like "Let's leave work at our rostered finish time even though there is chaos here and it is getting worse", it is the sort of behaviour you expect from people who have never really worked at a job where they have less than optimal power over a situation and all the responsibility for fixing it and just have to deal with it by busting their guts a bit until doing what they can do brings things back into control. I suspect that every time they've worked somewhere and the work has backed up, essentially the workplace has fallen into a hole and the climbing out will be hard and painful, other people have rescued their privileged arses.

Litz | September 5, 2005 11:36 AM

Boy, if I were that Spanish member of parliament stranded at the New Orleans Convention Center for five days and I found out our Secretary of State was shopping and enjoying a Broadway show and a tennis match while I walked ankle deep through shit-infested water while gangs shot at me ... let's just say I'd be a little pissed.

It's not just poor taste, it's Condi's job. Plain and simple. You don't relegate to underlings during a time of national disaster like this. You show leadership. You take charge.

These people have no fucking clue.

ehj2 | September 5, 2005 12:27 PM

Most of you have missed the point.

The New Orleans disaster is not merely a human and economic disaster, but one with strategic world-wide political and military ramifications ... and those are Condi's job.

Any potential disruption of the world's energy flows requires immediate and sustained attention until it is resolved. Those who might attempt to take advantage of such a situation need to understand what will happen.

The real "cost" of the New Orleans disaster is incalculable -- the loss of American credibility. Here, we have demonstrated to the world not only that we are incompetent to protect our own self-proclaimed priorities, but that we are callous regarding our own citizens' safety. China (with Asia now our banker) will play this card the next time we talk about human rights.

As oil declines (this is the decade of PeakOil), the world looks for leadership, and more and more it doesn't appear like the USA will be providing it.

At this point, the American version of leadership looks like people on vacation and shopping for shoes.

/e

Anonymous | September 5, 2005 12:44 PM

Yea great post - if I was a member of the president's cabinet and the worst national catastrophe in our nation's history occured I would definitely go shopping too....cause hey, "I already had the tix." That shows "leadership."

mythago | September 5, 2005 10:13 PM

It's not just poor taste, it's Condi's job.

Huh. I thought it was FEMA's job. Why take any of the heat off FEMA? Just because it's a fun excuse to bash Condi?

nick | September 9, 2005 04:05 PM

condi deserves to be bashed. "Bad taste"?

No. Inexcusable neglegence. Bordering on criminal. Theres a reason international assistance offers were hanging in the air unresponded to for days: shoe shopping and a show.

And to who ever said "she probably had the tickets for weeks"... give me a fucking break. Whatever you do for a living, I hope (for their sake) that nobody actually depends on you getting your job done.

Glynn | September 7, 2006 07:42 AM

But it's so much FUN to bash Condi. And besides, we MUST blame SOMEONE...let no one survive! Good grief, talk about mountain molehill. What was Clinton doing when 800,000 Rawandans died in 100 days? I am betting somewhere in there he got a couple of haircuts, met a few new interns, took in a couple of shows and maybe even bought a new suit. Who the heck cares!

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