KATRINATOWNS….The Washington Post has an informative story today about “FEMA City,” a trailer park set up after Hurricane Charley that’s similar to the “Katrinatowns” FEMA is apparently planning to set up along the Gulf Coast. The basic problem is that some of the towns ravaged by Charley didn’t rebuild their low-income housing because ? not to put too fine a point on it ? they didn’t especially want their low-income residents back. Thus the trailer park is nearly as full today as it was a year ago and is becoming a pretty grim place.

The housing problem caused by Katrina is so massive that I imagine it will require multiple solutions, and unfortunately, trailer parks are probably one of them. But things like Section 8 vouchers ought to be used a lot more aggressively, and it’s disturbing that President Bush and his advisors don’t seem to be thinking about this.

As for what they are thinking about, Mark Schmitt expands on an idea that also popped into my head several days ago. As usual, he says, it’s all about demonizing the opposition:

Ask yourself, what do you think Rove is thinking about right now? My guess: The 2006 election, and specifically, how they can set up a situation in which Democrats vote against or seem to oppose some sort of Gulf Coast reconstruction package.

Based on the barrage of totally outrageous things we’ve seen so far, including not just the Davis-Bacon and Service Act suspensions, but also the move to create a backdoor school voucher system, I suspect they’re planning a replay of the Department of Homeland Security setup, where their insistence on exempting the department from ordinary civil service rules, and Democrats’ predictable unwillingness to go along with that, basically gave them the 2002 congressional elections by letting them portray Dems like Max Cleland as putting union interests above national security.

….I doubt that the vision dancing through Rove’s head right now is of a thriving, rebuilt New Orleans, full of life and hope. He’s probably imagining an ad with dark music, pictures of ruined houses, and a narrator saying, “Bill Nelson and Ted Kennedy put the liberal union bosses ahead of rebuilding the Gulf Coast…”

Read the whole thing for more, including Mark’s suggestion about how to fight this. The first step, of course, is to realize that, yes, this kind of approach is unthinkable, but no, that doesn’t mean they won’t do it. The time to fight back against it is now, before it picks up steam.