We've told you what the fringiest of the fringy right-wing groups are saying about Hurricane Katrina: It's God's retribution for -- well, you name it: abortion, homosexuality, whatever. But what do you see when you take a baby step back from the far right edge and into the mainstream of the Republican Party?
Here's a sampling.
In his nightly message to supporters, Gary Bauer bemoans the looting in New Orleans and asks, "At a time when we are presumably prepared to deal with another September 11th attack, and with days of warning that a category five hurricane was headed directly to New Orleans, did no one in authority, at any level of government, think about the obvious threat to public order this storm would bring?" It sounds like a criticism of George W. Bush, among others, but Bauer makes it clear that "Bush-bashers" are already going too far by suggesting -- as part of their "radical political agenda" -- that the hurricane had anything to do with global warming. Bauer also says he's not "holding my breath" as he waits for European nations to offer help. In fact, they already have.
Pat Robertson has managed to avoid calling for anyone's assassination in the wake of Katrina, but he did manage to blame environmentalists for some of the impact of the storm. When a guest on his program said that Katrina could cause further hurt U.S. refining capacity and thereby drive up gas prices, Robertson said: "The environmentalists went after the refinery. The environmentalists stopped the rebuilding of the refinery and the judge issued the restraining order. That has happened all over the country. We haven't had a new refinery since Jimmy Carter. What will we do about this?"
At the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins takes a break from his usual ranting about government and religion to suggest money and prayers for victims of the hurricane. But over at the home page for James Dobson's Focus on the Family, there's not a word about Katrina or how pro-family voters might help the families in need.