Keystone Government

Oh, dear. I haven’t been to Michael Bérubé’s place in awhile – not on purpose, just because I haven’t gotten around to it. He was off on a vacation for awhile, I think, and I got out of the habit. Anyway I’m reading it now, and I keep bursting into laughter, so I thought I might as well share one or two of the shots. To set the scene for you – they have to do with Katrina and ass-covering. A major rescue operation:

“Operation Cover Our Asses was carried out with a combination of precision, speed and boldness the American people did not expect,” Bush told a select group of Gannons standing on the flight deck. “We set up an array of emergency photo ops and Potemkin villages with a can-do spirit that dazzled the world. I personally have hugged black people in the Gulf Coast, and the photos are now available on the White House website.”

Some comments on FEMA then and now:

Writing in Slate, Bruce Reed reminds us that thanks to Clinton and Gore’s wonky, do-good “reinventing government” initiative, FEMA was transformed from “a dumping ground for political hacks” to a competent, responsive agency.

But Bush had other ideas. He

appoints a campaign contributor/ horse whisperer to manage FEMA, thereby restoring to the agency the corruption and cronyism of his father’s era. (And not just any horse whisperer, mind you! An incompetent horse whisperer who was pushed out of his horse-whispering job because he was a “total disaster.” Give that guy a disaster-management position!)

Maybe that was it. Maybe the word ‘disaster’ gave someone the idea. I’m not sure I don’t believe it.

The question of which candidate would do a better job with FEMA just wasn’t important enough for most of our press to cover.

One more.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argued Saturday that government planners did not predict such a disaster ever could occur. Chertoff, fielding questions from reporters, said government officials did not expect both lightning and thunder in the extreme weather that devastated the Gulf Coast over the past week…“We knew about the lightning,” Chertoff insisted. “We had all gathered to watch the lightning, which was really awesome. But then came the thunder, and before we knew it, most of us had dived under tables, chairs, desks, anything—anything to get away from the horrible booming noise no one could possibly have expected.”

Read the rest. Read the whole dang page.

4 Responses to “Keystone Government”