Peace through victory - the American way.

Monday, September 05, 2005

That's Leadership For You.

It shouldn't surprise that Bush haters have focused their wrath on the President rather than any of the local leaders in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's passage through the Mississippi River delta region. I'm sure there is no partisanship involved.

Anyway, here are some interesting facts from a story in The Washington Post (here) about the lack of leadership demonstrated by Louisiana's governor, Kathleen Blanco. Instead of working with the federal government for a unified response, her priority was on covering herself politically and protecting her own turf.

"Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as
federal officials tried to wrest authority from
Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly
before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent
her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request
a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a
source within the state's emergency operations center
said Saturday.

"The administration sought unified control over all
local police and state National Guard units reporting
to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the
request after talks throughout the night, concerned
that such a move would be comparable to a federal
declaration of martial law. Some officials in the
state suspected a political motive behind the request.
'Quite frankly, if they'd been able to pull off taking
it away from the locals, they then could have blamed
everything on the locals,' said the source, who does
not have the authority to speak publicly."

Then there's this delay by her in seeking help and taking action.

"Louisiana did not reach out to a multi-state mutual
aid compact for assistance until Wednesday, three
state and federal officials said. As of Saturday,
Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency,
the senior Bush official said."

And finally, there are these two actions which she took to protect her own turf.

"Blanco made two moves Saturday that protected her
independence from the federal government: She created
a philanthropic fund for the state's victims and hired
James Lee Witt, Federal Emergency Management Agency
director in the Clinton administration, to advise her
on the relief effort."

The actions taken by Blanco, described in The Washington Post story, show a political leader who is not focused on solving the crisis but who is focused on turf protection, political CYA, and inexcusable delay.

-tdr

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