September 9, 2005


Embattled Brown Taken Off Katrina Duty (LARA JAKES JORDAN, September 9, 2005, AP)

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown, the principal target of harsh criticism of the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, was relieved of his onsite command Friday.

He will be replaced by Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad W. Allen, who was overseeing New Orleans relief, recovery and rescue efforts, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced. [...]

Brown has been under fire and facing calls for his resignation because of the administration's slow response to the magnitude of the hurricane. On Thursday, questions were raised about whether he padded his resume to exaggerate his previous emergency management background.

The resume padding lets the President can him without admitting the Katrina response is the proximate cause.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 9, 2005 5:02 PM

Brown should just do the right thing and resign.

I'm not sure what day it was when Chertoff showed up (August 31?), but there was a sense early on that Brown was out of his depth, even before his Nightline interview on 9/1.

As for his resume, most resumes in DC are padded, though it's generally not noticed since no one bothers to read them.

Posted by: George B at September 9, 2005 5:24 PM

Brown should have gone. Unfortunately this allows the media to say they were right about the govt response and continue to completely ignore the role the NO mayor and LA governor played in the response.

Posted by: AWW at September 9, 2005 6:50 PM

Yeah, I know. In politics, perception is reality. Yadda, yadda, etc.

Having genuflected to Katrina's herd of galloping geldings: I am not aware of any action or non-action of the Federal Executive that (a) fell short of established performance standards, or (b) was inconsistent with applicable law, or (c) contributed in any material way to the outcome of this disaster.

Posted by: ghostcat at September 9, 2005 8:28 PM

Slightly OT - the casualty estimates are now around 1-3,000 instead of the 10-25,000 the media were pushing last week. Does this take any of the blame off of Bush, Brown, Nagin, Blanco for their response/lack of response?

Posted by: AWW at September 9, 2005 9:10 PM

I'm hoping ... and not simply for humanitarian reasons ... that the final death toll in LA turns out to be lower than in MS. Such an outcome does not seem far-fetched at this point.

Posted by: ghostcat at September 9, 2005 9:17 PM

Ghostcat has it right.

Brown for supreme court justice.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at September 9, 2005 9:57 PM


I hope she gets it, too!

Posted by: obc at September 9, 2005 11:26 PM


Brown's problem is that he came off as completely out of touch with reality during the crisis. He'd have been better informed in he'd simply ignored his staff and just read weblogs. This is exactly the kind of thing that a Republican administration can't have in its front line officials (remember the firestorm about Bush 41 and the scanner? did that make a particle of difference in 41's ability to govern?).

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at September 9, 2005 11:41 PM


I understand the cosmetics of it. I didn't work 35 years as a public sector manager and learn nothing about political atmospherics. All I'm saying is that FEMA performed just fine. The usual screw-ups, to be sure, but 750 Brits died just training for D-Day! Stuff happens in huge top-down operations.

What frosts me is the near-universal acceptance of the lie that FEMA fell down on the job. Even the bed-wetters in Bush's own party have bought into that "meme". Disgusting.

Posted by: ghostcat at September 10, 2005 12:20 AM

The problem for the Democrats right now is with Brown no longer in the picture and the military running both their regular operations in the N.O, area and overseeing FEMA through Allen, it leaves them either to rehash their previous complaints about the feds, to avoid targeting Allen's work that already has drawn praise because of the Coast Guard's efforts, or continuing to go after FEMA, and by implication Bush. But doing that leaves them with the prospect of having the blame game turn its focus towards the state and local officials who also failed to perform their duties.

My guess is after a day or two of stratgery, the Democrats will deicde the "Now is not a time to point fingers" position isn't that bad, as far as New Orleans relief efforts goes, while hunting for problems with the out-of-state relocation efforts, in order to point fingers over that issue.

Posted by: John at September 10, 2005 1:23 AM

Being relieved of Latrina duty was the beginning of an easy out for Brown for the reasons AOG stated. Chertoff doesn't inspire great confidence in me either. Rudy should have been given that job for a year or two.

Posted by: Genecis at September 10, 2005 9:44 AM

P.S. Recognizing that it's now too late re: the Guilianni appointment, I hereby nominate Tommy Franks to replace Chertoff when the opportunity comes to bump him up to an position that better utilizes his legal expertise.

Posted by: Genecis at September 10, 2005 9:59 AM