The Bush Administration sat on a request from Gray Davis for money to clear dead trees for six months, then rejected it just as the wildfires broke out. [*]
Somehow the fact that the state was getting money to try to control the bark-beetle infestation that had been killing the trees was seen as a reason not to provide money to clear out the trees the beetles had already killed before they burned. The well-known desire of the Bush Administration to stick it to California presumably played no role.
Twenty people died in the fires. How many of them would be alive today had the Administration done the right thing will never be known.
I’d like to see some Democratic campaign ads featuring the victims’ families. Hardball? You bet.