WORST. PIVOT. EVER…. The president met with his cabinet this morning, and briefly spoke to reporters, ostensibly to talk about the response to Hurricane Gustav. Bush started off explaining, “[W]hat happens after the storm passes is as important as what happens prior to the storm arriving.” He added, “It’s not too early … for the federal government to continue to coordinate with state and local people. That’s why Secretary Bodman was in touch with Governor Jindal.”

In an unusual non sequitur, the president, just a few seconds later, added:

“One thing is for certain: When Congress comes back, they’ve got to understand that we need more domestic energy, not less; that — and one place to find it is offshore America, lands that have been taken off the books, so to speak, by congressional law. And now they need to give us a chance to find more oil and gas here at home. I’d much rather American consumers be buying gasoline produced from American oil than from foreign oil. I’d rather our dollar stay at home than go overseas.

“And I know the Congress has been on recess for a while, but this issue hasn’t gone away. And this storm should not cause the members of Congress to say, well, we don’t need to address our energy independence; it ought to cause the Congress to step up their need to address our dependence on foreign oil. And one place to do so is to give us a chance to explore in environmentally friendly ways on the Outer Continental Shelf.”

What does coastal drilling have to do with the response to Gustav? Nothing. The president just thought he’d exploit the storm to push for more drilling anyway, apparently hoping to connect the two in the minds of voters.

You stay classy, George.

How bad was it? Even MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough was exasperated: “For this president that performed so poorly during Hurricane Katrina, to use another hurricane in Louisiana to promote offshore oil drilling? … Just stop.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.