Bush resigns amid Katrina scandal
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Grinn News Service) - His face heavy with remorse, a somber George Bush today announced his resignation from the presidency amid accusations that his administration had bungled relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
A palpable aura of grief and stunned disbelief blanketed the capital as news of the announcement spread. Bush, who has enjoyed record approval ratings in the wake of his largely successful war on terror, which has resulted in a free, democratic Iraq and the stabilization of the Middle East, said his resignation will be effective Nov. 20, when Vice President Dick Cheney will replace Bush as president.
"I take full responsibility for the federal government's failure to brief aid and relief to the New Orleans victims of Katrina," Bush said in a televised address from the Oval Office. "Our failed efforts to provide relief stem from decisions and appointments made during my presidency, and I believe it is essential that the right person be held accountable at times like this, and not a scapegoat. I am that person. The fault is mine.
"Therefore, I hereby resign as president of the United States. I will work closely with incoming President Dick Cheney to ensure that the transition is a smooth one and that the people of the United States and the people of the world will have no need to fear instability or an unsteady hand at the nation's helm."
Political analysts nationwide were stunned by the day's events. Bush's willingness to admit mistakes and his forthrightness in humbly taking responsibility for those errors have been hallmarks of his administration, but evidently few expected such drastic action, even considering the horrifying delays in the federal response to Katrina, which caused billions of dollars of damage in New Orleans, reduced the city to anarchy, claimed an estimated thousand lives and left thousands of others stranded with no food, water or medical attention.
Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic Party, wished Bush good fortune in the twilight days of his administration.
"I wish he really wouldn't go," said Dean, who sought but failed to secure the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004. "President Bush has been a uniter and not a divider all five years he's been in office, and it's hardly fair to place all the blame on his shoulders. He's being made a scapegoat."
Some political analysts believe Bush's resignation was inevitable once the news reports started rolling in about the situation in New Orleans. Jonathan Hanks, a professor of political science at Princeton University, said the pressure of precedent weighed too heavily upon Bush for any other decision to be possible.
"Just look at the spate of high-profile resignations in the past 20 or so years," Hanks said. "Clinton resigned after admitting to perjuring himself about the Lewinsky affair, and before that, Janet Reno took full responsibility for the Branch Davidian deaths in Waco, Texas, and resigned from being attorney general. Ronald Reagan, held as the example of what a Republican president should be, took full responsibility for the Iran-Contra scandal and resigned.
"The only president in recent history to take 'full responsibility' for something without taking any sort of redemptive action was President Nixon. Nixon acknowledged a role in the Watergate coverup, but refused to resign. True, he was able to complete the remainder of his term, but his legacy was tainted forever," said Hanks.
"Bush could follow that example and claim to take responsibility without actually doing anything, in the hopes that the American people will be satisfied with mere semantics," Hanks allowed. "But doing that would make a mockery of honor, responsibility and integrity. Who could respect himself after doing something like that?"