September 27, 2005

Of Mice and Men

Brown: "You want me to be a hero."

So said a bitter former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown at a Congressional hearing organized by House Republicans. We don't know about Brown being a hero, but he's certainly a candidate for "goat of the year" for his thoroughly incompetent and largely accidental reign as head of FEMA and it's failed response to Hurricane Katrina.

Less than a month ago, Brown, who before his Katrina debacle was best know for his failed tenure as the head of an Arabian horsemen's association and for being Bush's 2000 campaign manager, was riding high collecting a fat no show salary and fiddling like Nero while his agency burned and self-destructed. Under Brown, 80% of FEMA's experienced management staff had resigned in disgust over his dismantling of the agency when it came under the control of Homeland Security.

Today, along the Gulf coast his approval ratings are about as high as Osama bin Laden's are in New York. Oh, the best laid plans of mice and men. Or as poet Robert Burns once penned in his poem, To a Mouse:

... But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain
For promis'd joy.

Brown: "If I, Mike Brown, individual, could have done something to convince them that this was the big one and they needed to order a mandatory evacuation, I would have done it."

A truly out of body statement which readily translates into "I, Mike Brown, as head of FEMA, was a horse's ass who was totally clueless as to how to manage my own agency and hurricane disasters."

Brown: "The reason that this primary responsibility, this first response is at the local level is that it is inherently impractical, totally impractical for the federal government to respond to every disaster of whatever size in every community across the country."

In other words, FEMA's philosophy under Brown was, "If disaster strikes you can kiss my ass first before kissing your own ass goodbye."

Brown: "First, I did not set up a system of media briefings which I should have done as that would have required less of my time than responding to all the requests for interviews."

In other words, Brown is telling Congress that the problem with the way he handled Katrina relief was basically one of poor media manipulation!!

Brown: "Second, I regret not being able to persuade Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin to sit down and coordinate their response."

I guess Brown "forgot" that Bush federalized the entire operaton two days before Katrina struck, which put FEMA and Brown in charge.

Brown: "People want to lash out at me, lash out at FEMA. I think that's fine. Just lash out, because my job is to continue to save lives."

Somebody run over to Home Depot for a hammer, nails, and a couple of four by fours for this man.

Brown: "I have overseen over 150 presidentially declared disasters. I know what I am doing."

Sure you do.

Brown: "I'm not a dictator."

True enough. He just got his job from one.

Brown: "My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional."

Which will hardly suprise anyone since the man failed to recognize that his own agency had become dysfunctional under his tenure.

Brown:"It's my belief that FEMA did a good job in the Gulf states."

And pigs can fly.


Former FEMA Chief Blames Local Officials for Failures.

Brown puts blame on Louisiana officials.