Did Bush go to the Superdome or the Convention Center or any other places where the teeming masses were yearning to eat food and drink water and breathe fresh air?
Where did he go in the days after the World Trade Center bombing?
To Ground Zero.
The Bush tour of Gulf Coast devastation seemed to possess little more gravitas than a ribbon cutting.
A presidential visit anywhere requires security arrangements in place as far in advance as possible before he arrives. In New Orleans, that would have needlessly diverted law enforcement officials (those who didn't run away or join the looters) from rescue and relief efforts.
What would a visit from the President to the Superdome have done for anyone there? Would it have fed the hungry, clothed the naked or quelled the violent?
The same pundits who condemn him today for not showing that he cared with by showing up for a photo-op, would have condemned him instead for wasting the city's time and resources on a visit when people were starving in their attics.
The best thing President Bush could have done is what he's doing now; offering the federal assistance he can legally provide and letting the city and state officials do their job, as far as they are willing and capable to.