Michael Brown: Politics Played role in federal Katrina Response

Brown confirms what we all thought…

NEW YORK (AP) — Party politics played a role in decisions over whether to
take federal control of Louisiana and other areas affected
by Hurricane Katrina, with some in the White House
suggesting only Louisiana should be federalized because it
was run by a Democratic governor, former FEMA Director
Michael Brown said Friday.

Brown, speaking to a group of graduate students in New York
about politics and emergency management, said he had
recommended to President Bush that all 90,000 square miles
along the Gulf Coast affected by the devastating hurricane
be federalized.

“Unbeknownst to me, certain people in the White House
were thinking ‘We had to federalize Louisiana because
she’s a white, female Democratic governor and we have a
chance to rub her nose in it,” he said, without naming
names. “We can’t do it to Haley (Barbour of
Mississippi) because Haley’s a white male Republican
governor. And we can’t do a thing to him. So we’re
just gonna federalize Louisiana.’

Brown declined to say who in the White House had argued for
federalizing the response only in Louisiana, but said that
he’d later learned of the machinations through
Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s office and from other
officials on the federal level.

Federalizing the region would have involved placing the
federal government in charge of all agencies responding to
the disaster, he said.

Blanco reacted sharply on hearing what Brown had said.

“This is exactly what we were living but could not bring
ourselves to believe. Karl Rove was playing politics while
our people were dying,” Blanco said through a
spokeswoman, referring to President Bush’s top
political strategist. “The federal effort was delayed,
and now the public knows why. It’s disgusting.”

It’s beyond disgusting.

–scout

7 thoughts on “Michael Brown: Politics Played role in federal Katrina Response

  1. dusty59…there may be such a mechanism coming I think. No need to be sorry. I was glad you pointed it out because I had completely forgot

  2. Sorry to be “meta”!
    I hate that it is up to you to remember to sign each post. I would have thought there was some mechanism for IDing the blog posts similarly to how each comment is ID’d. Silly me!
    Forgetting to sign is certainly something I would do, probably repeatedly! so good luck!
    On the real subject, thanks for not letting us forget about the debacle that is Bush’s New Orleans.

  3. Perfect. I had not seen this yet, but it is great to have confirmation of what we knew.
    As an aside, I hope you can get some “posted by” tag added to the timeline on the blog, or somewhere… I’d guess this is Scout, and certainly have no complaint w/ content… but I do like to know “who I’m reading”!
    disclaimer- I have no clue how to work TypePad- so I’ve no idea if any mechanism exists!

  4. I read that this morning. Anyone who believes that Bush has any inclinations to bi-partisanship is a fool. The pundits who complain about the shrillness of Democrats and continue to push the idea that the public wants everyone to move away from partisan politics and just get along are full of it. Tell that to the Republicans.
    I’ve done my share of criticizing Blanco, but I’ll give her credit in that instance for standing eye-to-eye with them until they blinked.

  5. feeeeel the bi-partisanship.
    uniter only when he is forced to. and then only for show.

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