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"There are few worse condemnations of an executive"

Tigerhawk is wrapping up George Bush's Decision Points and has put up a revealing post detailing one of the book's key moments:

The chapter on Katrina not surprisingly contains no small measure of regret, but it is uncharacteristically savage in its depiction of Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and Mayor Ray Nagin:

"Who's in charge of security in New Orleans?" I asked.

My question silenced the raucous discussion in the Air Force One conference room on Friday, September 2, 2005. "The governor is in charge," Mayor Ray Nagin said, pointing across the dark wood table at Governor Kathleen Blanco.

Every head pivoted in her direction. The Louisiana governor froze. She looked agitated and exhausted. "I think it's the mayor," she said non-committally.

...

The tone started out tense and got worse. The governor and mayor bickered. Everyone blasted the Federal Emergency Management Agency for failing to meet their needs. Congressman Bobby Jindal pointed out that FEMA had asked people to email their requests, despite the lack of electricity in the city. I shook my head. "We'll fix it," I said, looking at FEMA director Mike Brown. Senator Mary Landrieu interrupted with unproductive emotional outbursts. "Would you please be quiet?" I had to say to her at one point.

I asked to speak to Governor Blanco privately. We walked out of the conference room, through a narrow passageway, and into the small cabin at the front tip of Air Force One. I told her it was clear the state and local response forces had been overwhelmed. "Governor," I pressed, "you need to authorize the federal government to take charge of the response."

She told me she needed twenty-four hours to think it over.

"We don't have twenty-four hours," I snapped. "We've waited too long already."

The governor refused to give an answer.

Next I asked to meet privately with Mayor Nagin. He had spent four days since Katrina holed up in a downtown hotel. He hadn't bathed or eaten a hot meal until he used my shower and ate breakfast on Air Force One. In a radio interview the previous evening, he had vented his frustration with the federal government. "Get off your asses and do something," he said, "and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country." Then he broke down in tears. When I met him on that plane, Ray whispered an apology for his outburst and explained that he was exhausted.

I asked the mayor what he thought about federalizing the responses. He supported it. "Nobody's in charge," he said. "We need a clear chain of command." But only the governor could request that the federal government assume control of the emergency.

"The Louisiana governor froze." There are few worse condemnations of an executive. One gets the sense that if, say, Rudy Giuliani or Rich Daley had been running New Orleans and just about anybody else had been running Louisiana the human costs of Katrina would have been vastly less. Voters would do well to remember that in electing politicians to executive positions they are choosing the people who will make the first crucial decisions in a local, regional, or national crisis.

Compelling stuff and quite the lesson picked up nicely by Tigerhawk in that concluding paragraph.  Might we all take note and learn.


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Comments (31)

Voters would do well to ... (Below threshold)

Voters would do well to remember that in electing politicians to executive positions they are choosing the people who will make the first crucial decisions in a local, regional, or national crisis.

Thankfully, we've elected a president who... who...

Oh, crap.

It's the 24 hour decision p... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

It's the 24 hour decision period that Blanco required that has always intrigued me. I remember the media reporting on a variety to people being brought in to consult with the Governor, and then the confident "We can handle this ourselves" statement she issued. I suspect that the decision was largely a political one and I would love to have a list of names of those with whom she consulted.

BTW, anyone seen Blanco lately?

While plenty of issues surr... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

While plenty of issues surrounding Katrina can be laid at the door step of FEMA, I was horrified at the utterly uninformed and vile outbursts by so many on the left at everyone but the Governor and Mayor. FEMA was between a rock and a hard spot in many respects, one of which was, if they had acted without the express request of the Governor they would have been ripped unmercifully for usurping states rights and the purview of its officials. As it was, since they were seeking approval by the governor, and she had not granted it, they were ripped unmercifully for NOT acting.

I have been in healthcare f... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I have been in healthcare for years and the point person for emergency operations. FEMA is the agency that I deal with mostly when there is a disaster of any kind. In Texas it is usually a hurricane. They have always been helpful and exacting in there procedures. In the Katrina event, FEMA could not move without authoriztion. The pinhead left loves to blame Bush for this but those that are aware of the continuity of command in a disaster know where the problems was. ww

I like the part where he to... (Below threshold)
Roy:

I like the part where he told Landrieu to put a sock in it.

Whenever I think about "Vot... (Below threshold)
CT:

Whenever I think about "Voters would do well to remember that in electing politicians to executive positions they are choosing the people who will make the first crucial decisions in a local, regional, or national crisis." I ponder what if Al Gore had been President on 911? Then I realize Ought-Oh!

So who does Minnesota vote ... (Below threshold)
BluesHarper:

So who does Minnesota vote for Governor? Mark Dayton. He's the guy that pisses his pants at the first sign of trouble, crawls under his desk and lies there in the fetal position. He's not a Senator anymore because he snapped. Hey!! Let's make him our Governor. Yeah, that's it! Well… as long as he's a knee-jerk bleeding heart liberal, he's a shoe-in, here in Minnesota. You don't believe me? Minnesota voted for Al Franken. I rest my case!

Blues, we need to send the ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Blues, we need to send the CDC to Minn. to analyze what's in the water and offer an antidote.

I've met and talked to many people from Minn. and all of them are just as aghast as many of us are at the election outcomes. It's one of the universe's unexplained phenomena.

An antidote? THERE IS NONE.... (Below threshold)
914:

An antidote? THERE IS NONE. There are still idiots with Obama bumper stickers in this state. After 2 1/2 -4 years of him and the rest of these crooks if anything the mental illness grows in MN.

This recounting confirms my... (Below threshold)

This recounting confirms my lasting visual impression - the unused local school buses sitting parked in the flood waters. Remember that one?

http://libertyatstake.blogspot.com
"Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

Throw in the illegal vote c... (Below threshold)
914:

Throw in the illegal vote cheating and you see why the retards are in office.

Paulbait(for all y... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Paulbait

(for all you longtime Wizbangers)

Hope I don't get called names for saying that.

I remember this very well. ... (Below threshold)
Howie:

I remember this very well. The media made it seem like it was the President's fault, but you could see when Mayor Nagin was talking he was feed up with Blanco. I remember one interview where he praised the effort of the President and blasted Blanco. Reading that, I have more respect for Ray Nagin.

Of course, all everyone remembers is "George Bush doesn't care about black people". Friggin Kayne West is a moron.

Why did he not have a press... (Below threshold)
Greta:

Why did he not have a press conference and lay this out as he did in the book? I kept waiting for the president or someone in the administration to take the opportunity for a civics lesson to the ill informed and biased media.

Greta,It was the p... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Greta,

It was the policy of 43s White House that, when someone was making a stupid, ill-informed accusation against him that they did not honor that stupid, ill-informed accusation with a response.

If Blanco made a political ... (Below threshold)
kathie:

If Blanco made a political decision, do nothing and blame it on Bush, it worked didn't it? Given the left wing media, they were more then happy to take Bush down, and it was handed to them on a silver platter.

If you understand "States rights", you would not have fallen for the trap, but few understood that States are sovereign entities.

Les, be very careful. ;) w... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Les, be very careful. ;) ww

One thing I fault/blame Pre... (Below threshold)
JDL:

One thing I fault/blame Pres Bush for was letting the left run his presidency into the ground with lies and without a fight back at them, with the truth. That is why we are where we are today, with the worst President in in recent history.

Conservatives only have the... (Below threshold)
Woop dere it is:

Conservatives only have themselves to blame for having Obama -- in large part because when the nation realized that Bush had lied his way into the Iraq War you clowns defended him.

Nothing was more scary in 2008 than the thought of another Republican president who would lie with impunity and have his lies defended by Americans who by and large knew he was lying but defended him anyway. Americans just plain got sick and tired of Republican bullshit. That was the "hope" and "change" they were counting on....

A majority of Americans believed that Bush lied his way into Iraq, and that included a lot of Republicans. But find a Republican (other than Colin Powell) who would publicly state that Bush lied? Tumbleweeds...

So now the former "Liar in Chief" is attempting to rewrite history over Katrina. BIG surprise there.

There are no doubt many Republicans who know he's lying here in his memoirs. Just try to find one who'll be honest enough to admit it publicly? More tumbleweeds. See anyone calling Bush on his BS here on this comment thread. Nope.

Ever since Obama took office there have been Dems openly disagreeing with him - but Republicans band together and lie to each other and their neighbors in unison.

At this point Obama, despite his poor performance, would beat any of the Republican contenders who would go up against him in an election held today. What does THAT tell you about how American voters feel about Republicans and their ability to lead the nation?

I want some of what Woop de... (Below threshold)
zaugg:

I want some of what Woop dere it is is smoking. Obamao, worst president ever.

Conservatives only... (Below threshold)
Brett:
Conservatives only have themselves to blame for having Obama -- in large part because when the nation realized that Bush had lied his way into the Iraq War you clowns defended him.

Nothing was more scary in 2008 than the thought of another Republican president who would lie with impunity and have his lies defended by Americans who by and large knew he was lying but defended him anyway. Americans just plain got sick and tired of Republican bullshit. That was the "hope" and "change" they were counting on....

Wow, you reset the bar for stupidity. I think you argue as if the "Buck lied, Kids died" meme *hadn't been a falsehood you invented*. It's certainly not true - you yutzes just invented it, chanted it for years, to the point you appear to have forgotten that is was a nonsense. It's sad when con men start believing their own bullshit. Particularly so when the self-same bullshit was taken up as gospel by those allegedly charged with determining the objective truth.

WMDs were certainly found (even used in an IED after the war) and Saddam certainly did have an active nuclear program that was on the order of two years from success. Both reported as trivial items in the NYT, no less, what you idiots use as a paper of record - and the rest of us use to wipe our asses, if we come across it.

I won't even waste my time addressing your other so-called points, you are clearly so moronic that it would be fruitless.

Woop,You are truly... (Below threshold)
JDL:

Woop,

You are truly delusional and must only watch MSNBC and get your news from Huffpo. DEMS OPENLY DISAGREEING WITH OBAMA? LOL, LOL, LOL. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN THE LAST 2 YEARS, FANTASY LAND? The only time the Dems have disagreed with him is when he IS NOT FAR ENOUGH LEFT OF PROGRESSIVEFOR THEM. Your lack of honesty about that fact gives you NO credit at all. No surprise from a Bush hater. It must be so hard for you to be truthful in the fact that Bush is creaming Obama in the recent polls on who they wish was in office today.

Here is some interesting info you probably did not know because you obviously do not think for yourself. Or if you did know this then you are being disingenuous.

“It should also be remembered that it was the Clinton administration, not the current administration, which first insisted-despite the lack of evidence-that Iraq had successfully concealed or re-launched its chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs. Clinton's fear-mongering around Iraqi WMDs began in 1997, several years after they had been successfully destroyed or rendered inoperable. Based upon the alleged Iraqi threat, Clinton ordered a massive four-day bombing campaign against Iraq in December 1998, forcing the evacuation of inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) and the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA.) As many of us had warned just prior to the bombing, this gave Saddam Hussein the opportunity to refuse to allow the inspectors to return. It also provided a "lesson" that unilateral military action, not nonviolent law-based processes through inter-governmental organizations, was the means to respond to the threat of WMD proliferation.”

Kind of an inconvenient truth eh Woop.........

What you fail to admit is that Obama has lied from day one about who he is and who he has surrounding himself in his admin. Obama is the greatest threat to our country than any military in the world. So take your lies and go to Huffpo for your daily dose of delusional kool aid.

If you really wonder why Ge... (Below threshold)
kathie:

If you really wonder why George Bush never commented on what the left said, just read WOOP. Really, what's the point?

So Kathie, are you saying t... (Below threshold)
JDL:

So Kathie, are you saying that Sarah Palin is wrong for hitting them back every time they lie about her? It is just wrong to let anyone smear you with lies. And if you let people just run your name into the ground with lies, what does that say about your own character? I find pres Bush's comments about not caring about what they do and say about him very naive at times. It did not do anything to help our Country when the left kept hammering about Bush lying all the time, it hurt us on the world stage. The left has weakened our country more in the last 2 years than any army in the world. We as a nation have to stand up to the threats to our way of life. And right now that includes Obama and the progressives.

Does it not bother you that Obama has had people (Van Jones)in his administration that are calling for and supporting revolution against our country?

People need to wake up and take this threat seriously, if it is not too late already. People like Woop are so far gone it is frightening, and they do not even see it themselves.

"Whoop dere it is" has a po... (Below threshold)
Howie:

"Whoop dere it is" has a point in that right now Obama would most likely win reelection. The reason is Republicans don't know how to fight. Intelligent people can see through the lies of the Left, but too bad most of voting america can not.

Cheers,

GWB had a higher regard for... (Below threshold)
John:

GWB had a higher regard for the office of president than for the person holding the office. So no direct gutter fighting, he misread the level some in the country were willing to sink.

Jeebus Whoop/BryanD/Galoob.... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Jeebus Whoop/BryanD/Galoob...

I haven't heard anything that trippy since I gave up LSD and Jack Daniels-crystal meth slurpies as the opening act of the weekend...

JDL.....where was the Repub... (Below threshold)
kathie:

JDL.....where was the Republican party, where were the Senators and House members who should have defended the President and their votes. THE PRESIDENT DIDN'T MAKE A UNILATERAL DECISION TO GO TO IRAQ, for instance.

Sarah Palin is not sitting in the Oval Office, I admire her for standing up for herself. But....she is not the leader of the free world at the moment, with the stature and seriousness that goes with the image, real and imagined. How small does Obama look......he is no statesman, he's a school yard 6th grader, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed.

"I will close Gitmo in one ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

"I will close Gitmo in one year"-Lie
"I will not sign any bill with earmarks"-Lie
"There will be no lobbyists in my admin"-Lie
"Transparency will be my goal"-Lie
"C-Span will monitor crucial meetings"-Lie
"You can keep the doctor you have"-Lie
"I will never extend the tax cuts for the wealthy"-Lie

This is just off the top of my head. And unlike the fake points woop tried to make, these actually happened and it has just been two years. ww

"....when the nation rea... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"....when the nation realized that Bush had lied his way into the Iraq War...."

Am I expected to read anything beyond that line? I hope not because I'll fall right to sleep and I have too much to do.

Nobody wants to take action... (Below threshold)
James:

Nobody wants to take action because they don't want the blame...sounds like a scene out of Atlas Shrugged.




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