aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, September 10, 2005
A RINO rages
...a raft of FEMA’s top leaders have little or no emergency management experience, but are instead politically well connected to the GOP and the White House. This is a scandal, a real scandal. How is it possible that four years after 9/11, the president treats a federal agency vital to homeland security as a patronage prize? The main reason I’ve been a Bush supporter all along is I trusted him (note past tense) on national security—which, in the age of mass terrorism, means homeland security too. Call me naive, but it’s a real blow to learn that political hacks have been running FEMA, of all agencies of the federal government! What if al-Qaeda had blown the New Orleans levees? How much worse would the crony-led FEMA’s response have been? Would conservatives stand for any of this for one second if a Democrat were president?
It’s time for real conservatives and RINOs to unite in holding this administration’s feet to the fire. As I’ve said multiple times - see. e.g., Iraq and Katrina and What Might Have Been - Bush is pissing away the conservative moment with his incompetence and tone deafness.
On FEMA chiefs
Kevin Drum asks, which of these four is not like the other:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ 1990-1992: Wallace Stickney, head of New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation.
Washington Monthly: “Stickney’s only apparent qualification for the post was that he was a close friend and former next door neighbor of Bush Chief of Staff John Sununu.”
House Appropriations Committee report: “A weak, uninterested executive who has little interest in the agency’s substantive programs.”
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ 1993-2000: James Lee Witt, Director of the Arkansas Office of Emergency Services.
Triumphs and Tragedies of the Modern Presidency: 76 Case Studies in Presidential Leadership, ed. David Abshire: “As amazing as it sounds, Witt was the first FEMA head who came to the position with direct experience in emergency management....On Witt’s recommendation, Clinton filled most of the FEMA jobs reserved for political appointees with persons who had previous experience in natural disasters and intergovernmental relations.”
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK): “I haven’t spent a lot of time complimenting the President on his appointments, but I sure did on this one.”
George W. Bush: “I have to pay the administration a compliment. James Lee Witt of FEMA has done a really good job of working with governors during times of crisis.”
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ 2001-2002: Joe Allbaugh, Bush chief of staff and National Campaign Manager for Bush-Cheney 2000.
Slate: “Almost nothing is known about Allbaugh except that he’s from Oklahoma, that he has a flat-top haircut, that he rides herd on campaign spending, and that Dubya calls him “Big Country.” Allbaugh is famously press-shy and has somehow managed to make it through the entire campaign without having a major magazine or newspaper profile written about him.”
Joe Allbaugh, explaining his view of FEMA’s role: “Expectations of when the federal government should be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level. We must restore the predominant role of State and local response to most disasters.”
Claire Rubin, senior researcher at George Washington University’s Institute for Crisis, Disaster and Risk Management: “Allbaugh? He was inept.”
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ 2003-Present: Michael Brown, Commissioner of Judges and Stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association.
The New Republic: “He was, among other things, a failed former lawyer - a man with a 20-year-old degree from a semi-accredited law school who hadn’t attempted to practice law in a serious way in nearly 15 years and who had just been forced out of his job in the wake of charges of impropriety....Yet he was also what’s known in the Mafia as a ‘connected guy.’”
ABC News: “We and other news organizations reported that Brown was college roommates with a man who recommended him for the job, former FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh. Allbaugh told us that was not correct. They were friends, but not roommates.”
Stephen Jones, a former employer: “He was average. Maybe that’s the best way to put it.” On learning that Brown was under consideration as deputy director of FEMA: “You’re surely kidding?”
Washington Post: “In his last extended TV interview on CNN, Brown admitted Thursday that the federal government did not know that thousands of survivors without food or water had taken shelter at the city’s convention center, despite a day of news reports.”
To Gore’s credit
At the urging of a doctor who once saved his son, Gore got some 270 Katrina evacuees airlifted on two private charters from New Orleans to Tennessee.
He didn’t mention that in his speech to the Sierra Club yesterday:
“When the corpses of American citizens are floating in toxic flood waters five days after a hurricane struck, it is time not only to respond directly to the victims of the catastrophe, but to hold ... the leaders of our nation accountable,” Gore told environmentalists at the Sierra Club’s national convention.
Gore had been scheduled to give a speech to state insurance commissioners in New Orleans this weekend about the likelihood that global warming will spawn increasingly deadly hurricanes. He decided to take his speech to San Francisco after that conference was canceled.
“The warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global climate crisis, it is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences,” Gore said.
Bush administration officials have said Katrina’s damage could not have been anticipated, but Gore rejected that.
“What happened was not only knowable, it was known in advance, in great and painstaking detail. They did tabletop planning exercises. They identified exactly what the scientific evidence showed would take place,” Gore said.
In an interview that will air on ABC tonight, former Secretary of State Colin Powell will apparently declare his factually-challenged February 5, 2003 speech to the United Nations-- which detailed the U.S. case for war based on Iraqi’s weapons of mass destruction-- was “painful” and a “blot” on his record. The Times article lets Powell off the hook when he is quoted as saying, “There were some people in the intelligence community who knew at that time that some of these sources were not good, and shouldn’t be relied upon, and they didn’t speak up. That devastated me.” But State Department officials did speak up-- a fact the Times should have included in this article.
His friends in the press virtually guarantee that he’ll be rehabilitated. I expect another book that will be a best seller with a huge advance. I still haven’t watched the interview, was it mentioned?