In a Bush postmortem in the February Vanity Fair, two former advisers suggest Hurricane Katrina finished off George W. Bush’s presidency. “The president broke his bond with the public. Once that bond was broken, he no longer had the capacity to talk to the American public. State of the Union addresses? It didn’t matter. Legislative initiatives? It didn’t matter,” said former Bush pollster and campaign strategist Matthew Dowd.
Dan Bartlett, former White House communications director and later counselor to the president, said: “Politically, it was the final nail in the coffin.”
Another former top aide, Lawrence Wilkerson, likened the new president, circa 2001, to Sarah Palin during the past campaign, suggesting Vice President Dick Cheney and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell had to cover for Bush’s ignorance of foreign policy. “It allowed everybody to believe that this Sarah Palin-like president — because, let’s face it, that’s what he was — was going to be protected by this national-security elite, tested in the cauldrons of fire,” Wilkerson said.