The Joys of Multi-Tasking


The devastation from Hurricane Katrina is pretty clearly the most important thing affecting the country right now. But it’s not the only thing affecting the country right now, and it seems odd that the Bush administration is getting ready to focus solely on the recovery—or rather, getting lots of photo-ops in to make it look like they’re doing something about the recovery. Whatever. Neverthless, are they dropping everything else? See this bit of news from Knight-Ridder:

[The hurricane] could crimp Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s ability to press on with the president’s highly ambitious foreign policy agenda, even as the administration grapples with such complex issues as the war in Iraq and Iran’s nuclear program, according to diplomats and analysts….

Bush had planned to host Chinese President Hu Jintao in Washington this week, but the White House asked that the meeting be rescheduled to take place during Bush’s trip to the United Nations, so he could concentrate on hurricane relief.

Why are they putting this off? The Secretary of State isn’t needed for hurricane relief. Nor, for that matter, is the president’s “supervision” required day in and day out. And repairing America’s image abroad, along with everyday foreign policy matters—especially since, say, Iraq doesn’t look like it’s getting any better—seems like a pretty crucial task at this point. But apparently not. Even the Vice-President is flying down to Louisiana. All hands on deck and say ‘cheese,’ that sort of thing. I’m beginning to think that Sam Rosenfeld might be onto something here when he says that the White House is treating this as an all-important opportunity to boost its image: “That’s the Bush approach in a nutshell — make messes, then take credit for boldly tackling those messes.” Perhaps Bush critics will rue the day they started screaming at the president to get down there and “do something” long after the fact. Hopefully not.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.