Wednesday, September 07, 2005

McClellan Whirls, Brown Dodges and Weaves

Editor and Publisher posted a transcript of Scott McClellan’s press briefing yesterday. McClellan tried to follow the orders he’d received from Karl Rove but the press corps wasn’t having any. McClellan used the word “focus” eleven times. As in, the president’s job now is to focus on solving problems and not play the blame game. But the press corps stayed focused on the burning question: Why? Why did the Bush administration wait so long to get mobilized? No answer. Why didn’t the president send the order for the army to send troops to New Orleans? No answer. In the Bush administration, where does the buck stop? Finally, an answer. McClellan: “The President.” Follow-up question: “All right. So he will be held accountable as the head of the government for the federal response that he's already acknowledged was inadequate and unacceptable?” Back to the prepared babble-gabble: “The President's most important responsibility is the safety and security of the American people,” McClellan said. And FEMA director Michael Brown is also dancing as fast as he can to try to explain FEMA’s slow inadequate response. To add to his woes, yesterday the Associated Press published a memo it had obtained from Brown to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, which was sent five hours after Katrina hit Louisiana. It called Katrina "this near catastrophic event" but used no urgent language. And the memo also clearly showed the real priorities of FEMA and Homeland Security. According to the memo, Brown told employees that they would be expected to "convey a positive image of disaster operations to government officials, community organizations and the general public." But midst all the stumbles, fumbles, finger pointing, and mindless rhetoric, this morning the president gave us the real answer to all the Whys. George W. Bush says “bureaucracy” caused all the problems.

No comments: