FORGETTING ABOUT KATRINA….Chris Kromm at Facing South challenges liberals to keep their attention focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:

Katrina put issues of race and class on the national radar in a way that won’t be repeated for a very long time. But the opportunity to discuss and act on these issues ? progressive issues ? is being largely squandered.

….This is our moment. Endlessly speculating about DeLay’s indictments or the Plame investigation may be fun. But the Gulf debacle is something progressives can do something about, now, that has the potential to permanently shift the debate about fundamental inequalities in our society.

Progressives need to step up to the plate, and 1) support the fight for a democratic, just and sustainable rebuilding in the Gulf, and 2) work tirelessly and with laser focus to return issues of poverty and inequality to the top of the national agenda.

E.J. Dionne agrees, and although he lays the blame for our sudden amnesia squarely where it belongs ? on congressional conservatives ? he also thinks liberals need to do more:

It has long been said that Americans have short attention spans, but this is ridiculous: Our bold, urgent, far-reaching, post-Katrina war on poverty lasted maybe a month.

Credit for our ability to reach rapid closure on the poverty issue goes first to a group of congressional conservatives who seized the post-Katrina initiative before advocates of poverty reduction could get their plans off the ground.

….I was naive enough to hope that after Katrina the left and the right might have useful things to say to each other about how to help the poorest among us. I guess we’ve moved on. You can lay a lot of the blame for this indifference on conservatives. But it will be a default on the part of liberals if the poor disappear again from public view without a fight.

Bloggers can help out here, but if we’re going to get sustained attention on this topic it needs the help of some big guns. I know that John Edwards and Bill Clinton are involved, but they aren’t in government anymore. Maybe I’ve missed it, but are there any congressional Democrats who are out front on this?

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