Noah: Hey, you must be Bush. I can tell by all the water.
Bush: What water?
Noah: That’s precisely my point. Because you can’t see the water, you must be Bush.
Bush: Wait a minute. I know all about water. I can walk on it.
Noah: That doesn’t help every body else. The least you could have done was build an ark. Load up two alligators, two po boy sandwiches, two Republicans. The works. But you sat there at the ranch, dry as a bone.
Bush: I got Mike Brown at FEMA taking care of all that stuff. Doin’ a great job.
Noah: The Times-Picayune said you should fire him.
Bush: Hell, that’s just a newspaper. What do they know?
Noah: His last job was director of the International Arabian Horse Association. And they forced him out.
Bush: Those Arabian horses don’t know squat.
Noah: So what will you do now?
Bush: For starters, I’m giving all the survivors of Katrina a two grand debit card, so they can charge up stuff at Wal-Mart.
Noah: How are they going to get there?
Bush: I’m giving them all rowboats.
Noah: I’m starting to like this. What next?
Bush: I’m going to hire them to rebuild New Orleans.
Noah: When do they start?
Bush: As soon as the water recedes.
Noah: By then, they won’t need the rowboats.
Bush: You may have a point there. Forget about the rowboats.
Noah: I understand Halliburton is going to do all the rebuilding. You mean Halliburton is going to hire all those people?
Bush: Exactly right. Cheney is down there now, getting it all set up.
Noah: So, you’ve got thousands of troops all over the place. Where did they all come from?
Bush: We called some of them back from Iraq.
Noah: If you don’t mind me asking, what were they doing in Iraq?
Bush: They were bringing the Iraqis democracy.
Noah: Never heard of it. What is it?
Bush: It’s when people get to vote for the people who govern them.
Noah: If I’m not mistaken, in New Orleans, they voted for that mayor who sat on his duff waiting for you to do something. And the Americans voted you in, and you sat on your duff waiting for the mayor of New Orleans to do something. Would you mind telling me why you would give the Iraqis a system like that? It doesn’t seem to work.
Bush: We got the troops over there to make sure it works, and we’ve got them in New Orleans to make sure it works there.
Noah: That sounds like a good old-fashioned military dictatorship. Look, in my case, God figured that things had gotten so rotten that the only thing to do was to let it rain for forty days and forty nights, so the great flood would wash away everything so we could all start again. It was my mission to build the ark, so we could have enough of the best to do it.
Bush: That’s not the case here, Noah. Things are basically great. We just got a little bit of rain and some wind, and now we have to ride it out. Stick to the plan, that’s my motto, in New Orleans and in Iraq. And I’ve got the best team in both places, you wait and see.
Noah: I’ve seen better teams on chain gangs.
Bush: Don’t you worry. We’re gonna have those guys working, too.
Noah: But it will all still be below sea level. What’s the point? There’s bound to be another flood, another hurricane.
Bush: That won’t be my problem. It’ll be someone else’s. By then, I’ll be back at the ranch, cooling out with Laura.
Noah: I’m not so sure I like this. It sounds a lot like passing the buck, not "the buck stops here."
Bush: Look, back in your time, you didn’t have politics. Now, that’s what we’ve got. Politics is the art of the possible.
Noah: Back in my time, if the people messed up, God saw to it that they got what they deserved. Why not now?
Bush: Heck, I pray all the time. Only instead of praying TO God, I pray AT him. I tell him what’s what and what he should do. That’s leadership. And God put me here to lead. I can’t lead if I have to ask him what to do.
Noah: When was the last time you spoke with him?
Bush: It wasn’t long before Katrina. I told him the news from Iraq was terrible and that he had to do something about it. I told him to whip something up that would eclipse the Iraq news.
Noah: You mean….
Bush: Hey, Noah, keep this to yourself. Katrina was a blessing. Nobody is talking about Iraq and I get to hand out debit cards in New Orleans. Now that’s what I call compassionate conservatism. And meanwhile, the Corps of Engineers is plugging the holes in the levies. What more could you ask?
Noah: How about knowing the truth and the truth making you free.
Bush: And pray tell, what truth would you be talking about?
Noah: That you lied to get America into the war in Iraq because the war would get you reelected, and that you spent billions on the Department of Homeland Security, because the government failed to prevent 9/11 when it easily could have, and now, after all that money, it messed up totally when Katrina hit. And because of the war in Iraq, which you have messed up, the National Guard had its guys over there instead of here, when the New Orleans police cut and ran. There was no one around to stop the looting and to protect the victims of violence.
Bush: Hey, you take care of your flood and I’ll take care of mine.
Noah: I’ve got news for you. It’s the same flood.
Bush: Did I just hear thunder? And was that lightning?
Noah: No comment.
Richard Cummings [send him mail] taught international law at the Haile Selassie I University and before that, was Attorney-Advisor with the Office of General Counsel of the Near East South Asia region of U.S.A.I.D, where he was responsible for the legal work pertaining to the aid program in Israel, Jordan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is the author of a new novel, The Immortalists, as well as The Pied Piper — Allard K. Lowenstein and the Liberal Dream, and the comedy, Soccer Moms From Hell. He holds a Ph.D. in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University and is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. He is writing a new book, The Road To Baghdad — The Money Trail Behind The War In Iraq. He is a contribution editor for The American Conservative.