Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Heck of a Job Brownie

Did you all hear former FEMA director and former Horses' Ass inspector, Brown testify before the Republican led House committee on Katrina? Brown blamed the whole thing on the Democratic leadership of Louisiana. He said that things went smoothly in Mississippi and Alabama which are governed by Republicans. He also said that he was at a loss as to what else he should have done other than advise the governor and mayors to evacuate. That he said constituted his duty to "coordinate" the response. There are many even more outrageous statements by this ass but I get too mad to type when I think about them.

To their credit, House Republicans - especially one from Mississippi - did not let him get away with it. Only a Texas Republican came to his defense (what a shock!). Of course, criticism was limited to Brown who is being set up as a fall guy for the Homeland Security Agency (or as I like to call it "Heimatssichersheitsdienst") and the Bush administration in general.

The combination of rank incompetence and arrogance present in Brown is astounding. How Bush could even think about putting this man in a position of responsibility, let alone praising him on TV while he is obviously completely out of his depth is proof of Bush's unfitness for his own position! But what should I expect from a current President and former Governor who claims to need to observe the Rita response in order to find out how state and federal authorities interact!? I can only guess that the rumors that Bush is hitting the sauce again are true.

By the way, Brown got his BA from Central State University. Central State University is a traditionally black college in Ohio. I'm a little puzzled that Brown would have gotten his B.A. there in the 1970s judging from his age. Perhaps he really got his BA from the University of Central Oklahoma. Brown got his law degree from Oklahoma City Univerity School of Law - LTG or Seventh Sister please advise as to quality and/or existence.

Oh, and get this....He's still working as a "consultant" at FEMA!!


Dr. Strangelove said...

I suspect Mr. Brown is correct that the Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Louisiana did a poor job of organizing their own relief efforts. In terms of organizing its own relief effort, maybe FEMA did better job.

But the biggest problem wasn't the organization of the local, state, and federal relief efforts. The big problem was coordinating those efforts. And even though I am sure that the staff executing each separate plan did their best, the lack of coordination greatly diminished their effectiveness.

So who was supposed to be coordinating everything? Surely someone had that responsibility? Afteer all, the purpose of creating a unified Dept. of Homeland Security was precisely to facilitate such a coordinated response to a threat to the homeland.

Now Mr. Brown has testified that he could not convince the Governor or the Mayor to order a mandatory evacuation, and this illustrates the problem: the Director of FEMA was not in a position to be able to bang heads together. He's not even a cabinet-level administrator. And we know that neither the Mayor nor the Governor were able to direct FEMA's efforts, nor each others.

So when Brown could not get state and local officials to work with him, he should have looked for someone with more clout at the federal level to help him. When it was clear that coordination was not going to happen, or was not happening, someone should have stepped in and taken leadership. Someone should have made phone calls, held press conferences, banged high-level heads together, and made it happen.

But there's only one person who could have done that. And he was on vacation in Crawford, Texas.

This President has a hands-off style of management. That's fine... in most cases. But there are some tasks which cannot be delegated. True leadership in a time of crisis when parts of the government are not working well together--that's most certainly one of those times. All our President did was advise people to "listen to their state and local officals."

Mr. Brown is right: he couldn't have been expected to be superman. Instead, he's the fall guy. Oh, don't get me wrong his performance was lousy and he should have done a better job. But when people on the ground are asking "where is the government?" and when all of us are wondering, "why is it taking so long?", then we can look at all the squabbling and fingerpointing that was going on lower down in the food chain... or instead we can realize that we must look higher. The real question is, "why was there a vacuum in national leadership?"

Imagine what a powerful president would have done. Imagine how LBJ would have twisted arms at every level of government to make sure the job was done. But we don't have a leader--we have a photo-op president. We have a figurehead. You know, I'll bet Mr. Brown probably never even thought to ask the President for backup when he couldn't convince the governor and mayor to evacuate, because he knew it would be a waste of time.

The President continued his fundraising activities and did nothing to personally take charge. He showed up on the scene after a few days for a photo-op and praised Mr. Brown's efforts, a clear sign that the President was not in touch with what was going on down there. And he expressed surprise at the size of the disaster, saying wrongly that nobody had anticipated that the levees might not hold--again showing he was not in the loop.

And in the end, who did Bush send to oversee things? Cheney. God, that speaks volumes, doesn't it?

I'm sure Bush has learned his lesson that he needs to look more active during a disaster, but that might even be worse, since it would prevent anyone else from stepping up to the plate. No, the next time a disaster like this strikes, I do not want Bush to try to take charge. He has already shown he is an incompetent leader. I want a new President.

Anonymous said...

From what I've heard FEMA did have the authority to knock heads under the conditions of a Federal Emergancy. He was the highest ranking Federal official there. But from what I heard of his testimony, his approach to was ask, once, and then shrug and go away. If he had acted then with the self-confidence bordering on arrogance that he displayed in his responses to the Congressional hearing (mostly Republicans), then things might have been different.

But you are right Dr. Strangelove, "Brownie" is incompetent, and it is good that he was sort of fired (he's still "consulting"). But the buck doesn't stop at the desk of the Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergancy Management.  

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

One of the many things wrong with Brown's testimony is his claim that the problem is that Louisiana is not well governed. To whom, exactly, is this news? Was it the 1992 election between David Duke (klansman) and the indicted sitting governor a clue? What about Louisiana being barely above Mississippi in, well, everything? Poor folk in New Orleans may be on the TV for the first time, but it ain't NEWS.

But of course, Brown was just lying. He's right to be mad that nobody told him he could get in so much trouble with a cushy job.  

// posted by LTG

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Anonymous said...

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