Blame Game

Politicians are hard at work at what they do best, shifting blame. The criticism and vitriol has been flying fast and thick in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. There has been far less attention fixed on looking at what was working and what came apart and more attention on the statements of semi-elected officials. (When incumbency rules the roost, it's hard to think of these self-absorbed jerks as elected.)

Example comes from information posted by Paul at Wizbang, who quoted the Washington Post. It appears that the Federal government asked to take control of the New Orleans evacuation before Katrina struck. The Bush Administration had declared a state of emergency three days before the Governor Lousiana did.

We have heard plenty in the press from the Governor, but I haven't heard much about her failures.

The Mayor of New Orleans has been quick to criticize, too, but:

Nagin is not without his warts… While he did save hundreds of thousands of lives, his abject stupidity should not and will not be ignored. He not only did not understand the strength of this hurricane but he failed to execute a long standing plan properly.

But, Governor Blanco drew most of the ire:

…Kathleen Blanco killed thousands of people. When she met with Bush and Bush tried getting control of the situation she told him she needed “24 hours to think things through.”
Blanco's lack of ability to think on her feet was evident in the debates she had during the election… now it cost lives…

I have watched the stupid antics of placing blame and taking potshots at the rescue efforts. This is hardly the time to armchair quarterback. It is time to do what is necessary and discard what is not. I sure wish the politicians would remember that.

Update: So, it appears that both the state of Lousiana and the Federal Government declared a state of emergency at the same time, a couple days before the evacuation order. This doesn't deflect much of my criticism of her blame game aimed at Bush and FEMA.

Josh Poulson

Posted Sunday, Sep 4 2005 09:10 PM

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America's Pompeii

Well sir. Why didn’t you just hold out for limousines? I’m sure that people lying in their own excrement waiting to get out of New Orleans would have loved the site of a school bus. When your people are dying you use whatever is available. You us... [Read more]

Oblogatory Anecdotes

Linked Sunday, Sep 4 2005 10:45 PM


There are 10 comments on this entry.

I think it was in Bush's power to stop the storm before it hit the Gulf. Wasn't it?


Posted Monday, Sep 5 2005 12:03 AM

There is a difference of course.. I live here. I'm not some idiot in Podunk spouting off about something they know nothing about.

If you read my "note to fellow bloggers and the MSM" you will see I'm square against Monday morning quarterbacking... but take it for what I called it... The first draft of history.... A picture is starting to emerge.


Posted Monday, Sep 5 2005 06:02 AM

I had in mind the armchair quarterbacking people having been aiming at FEMA, honestly, not what you write in your post, Paul. As a mananger that's had to deal with the usual kinds of data center crises, I know the value of swift, decisive action and I feel your criticism of Governor Blanco is spot on.

I look forward to future drafts.

Josh Poulson

Posted Monday, Sep 5 2005 07:21 AM

"Blame Game" is trotted out by people looking to defend their own inepitude.

The whole thing on the Gulf Coast was so depressing that satirizing it, like I do on my website seemed like the only way to deal with it without getting terribly upset at our institutions.

Don Keehotey

Posted Monday, Sep 5 2005 07:56 AM

I know the Gov dropped the ball when this first happened. and you know they prob should look at a few replacements for a few people. But you know we are only human. people make mistakes. I wish people were more focused on helping the people who need it and not place politics. God Help us and Bless us. We sure do need it.

Emperor Joe

Posted Monday, Sep 5 2005 08:00 AM

Yeah, everyone's playing the blame game. But y'know, I always have to side against the folks telling bald-faced lies. What can I say? When someone's outright lying while playing the blame game, it's a darn good bet they're the ones that hold the most fault. Here's an example:

"The Bush Administration had declared a state of emergency three days before the Governor Lousiana did."

That is an outright, bald-faced lie. Governor Blanco (LA) declared a State of Emergency on August 26, 3 days before Kartina hit N.O. I've found conflicting reports about when Bush declared a State of Emergency, but the earliest is August 27 (latest is August 31).

Since the feds have also lied concerning knowledge of the levee failures, knowledge of people at the Convention Center, the rate of evacuation of the Superdome, and the fact that multiple other State governors & NG commanders have contradicted the feds' claims of why there were delays, I believe it's a clear case of CYA on the White House's part.


Posted Monday, Sep 5 2005 08:32 AM

What I posted was based on this item found in the linked posting:

…the Wapo had a correction, she declared the SoE Monday—still fully 3 full days after Bush declared a Federal SoE.

So I went looking. There is this statement in the President's radio address:

The President today declared an emergency exists in the State of Louisiana and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the parishes located in the path of Hurricane Katrina beginning on August 26, 2005, and continuing.

Going back a little further we find this statement on August 23:

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Louisiana and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by Tropical Storm Cindy on July 5-6, 2005.
Federal funding is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Tropical Storm Cindy in the parishes of Jefferson, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, and St. Charles.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures in the parishes of Jefferson, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, and St. Charles.

Maybe Paul was lead to a mistake by those statements? Or, perhaps, he was mislead by the statements in the Washington Post article he quoted that were later corrected.

Josh Poulson

Posted Monday, Sep 5 2005 09:31 AM

There's a difference between a "major disaster" and a "state of emergency".

Regardless, when the levees broke, the one man who could have cut through all red tape instantly was President George Bush.

What took him so long?

My theory is that he got very bad advice from his military people. They told him he needed to get Gov. Blanco to federalize the LA National Guard. Rather than be the Commander in chief, he let himself get caught up in red tape and procedure. It turned out it wasn't true, he could send in troops whenever he wanted to and he finally did it.

He allowed his military advisors (Rumsfeld?) to hold the occupants of the Superdome and the Convention center as hostages because the military wanted this stupid piece of paper.

President Bush let us down. He seems to have good intentions, but he can't seem to take charge in an emergency.


Posted Tuesday, Sep 6 2005 10:41 AM

Actually, no, George Bush needed the permission of Louisiana Governor Blanco before being allowed to use the military for any sort of operations in her state, because of the ways we have structured the law in the United States. Despite what people seem to think, we limit the Federal Government's ability to wield power, and we do so on purpose. There was no “advice” that he got that said this, it's clearly written in the Posse Commitatus and Stafford Acts.

You folks are making my point pretty clearly. This is not about finger-pointing, it's about fixing things. You seem to think that someone can wave a magic wand and sweep aside certain protections we take for granted. The fact is that those protections generally work, and in this case they didn't because the people in local control were afraid of losing control.

Josh Poulson

Posted Tuesday, Sep 6 2005 10:55 AM

Thank goodness people are finally coming to realize that this wasn't (poor them) all GWB's fault. Given, the federal response could have been about 18-24 hours faster, but besides that it was a royal screw up on the part of the governments of New Orleans and Louisiana.


Posted Wednesday, Sep 7 2005 02:07 PM

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