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K Marx The Spot

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13 September 2005

Brownie Points

Michael Brown has officially submitted his resignation as director of the Federal Emergency management Administration (FEMA). I suppose that is a good thing: no organization works well when its leader is demonstrably incompetent. But two things in the wire service story disturbed me.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the White House did not seek Brown's resignation.

"This was Mike Brown's decision and we respect his decision," McClellan said.

McClellan praised Brown's work but conspicuously left out any reference to his contribution to the Katrina efforts.

With all of Michael Brown's obvious ineptitude, the White House decided to leave it up to Michael Brown to resign or not? Perhaps that is true; perhaps the Bush administration cares so little about homeland security in the broadest sense of the term that having a director of FEMA fester in Washington was a good use of that position. I suspect, however, that Bush and his sycophantic band are too proud ever to admit that any of their decisions proved to be in error.

The bigger problem was also buried in the article.

Brown said he spoke Saturday to White House chief of staff Andrew Card and was not asked to resign. Brown said the decision to step down was his.

"I think it's in the best interest of the agency and the best interest of the president to do that and get the media focused on the good things that are going on, instead of me," he said.

Brown said he last talked to Bush five or six days ago.

"Five or six days ago" would be Tuesday, 6 September, or Wednesday, 7 September. The White House relieved Brown of his duty to oversee the hurricane relief effort on Friday, 9 September.

One can only hope that Brown had spoken several times with Michael Chertoff, his boss and the head of the Department of Homeland Security, since the 6th or 7th of September. But one would also expect that George Bush would want—for a host of reasons—to speak to the man running a multibillion dollar governmental relief operation more than once per week, especially when that operation was the subject of intense scrutiny and criticism.

If Brown is correct, than George Bush is more insulated than a Dewar flask.

Posted by Tim W at 9/13/2005 01:00:00 AM

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