Monday, August 27, 2007

Meet the new boss ...

So Alberto Gonzalez resigns, and it's expected that President Bush will replace him with Michael Chertoff.

The same Michael Chertoff who was unprepared for Hurricane Katrina and waited for 36 hours after the storm hit before passing off responsibilities to Michael Brown.

Good Lord. Is failure a prerequisite for a position in the Bush Administration?

7 Comments:

Blogger Polusplagchnos said...

Sometimes I think it's difficult to get into any position of power without being in some way a failure or in having some kind of incompetency. I don't think it's so much the Bush administration, so much as it is the nature of the contemporary state.

Think of the most virtuous person you know. Most likely, that's not a person you would also think is "electable" or able to run a bureacracy. A person who runs or manages a bureacracy well has to be familiar both with her own inadequacies and with her own sense of pride, so that in the former she can appoint or hire those who will best complement that limitation or incompetency and so that in the latter she can do the appointing or the hiring without wounding her own ego in the process.

Otherwise, ignorant of one's own limits and one's own pride, the incompetent or proud manager rushes forward and screws things up singlehandedly.

For all that I can see coming this talk about how the governor and the mayor are actually the ones to blame for what happened after Katrina, I wonder if "national disasters" is something the federal government is supposed to be responsible for in the same way that "national defense" is. Not anything implicit in this, I'm just curious.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everybody knows what to do with the bull, except the man who has him by the horns.

To answer your final question, polu, the first person responsible for me in the event of a natural disaster is me.

But then, if I've been fed and clothed and housed and medicated and--to some extent, at least--educated by the government for my entire life, the notion that I am ultimately responsible for my life probably doesn't occur to me.

At which point I'd hope somebody in a position of responsibility would have the school buses ready to go. You know the ones I'm talking about: the rows and rows and rows of buses that flooded to the axles.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Jmac said...

To answer your final question, polu, the first person responsible for me in the event of a natural disaster is me.

But then, if I've been fed and clothed and housed and medicated and--to some extent, at least--educated by the government for my entire life, the notion that I am ultimately responsible for my life probably doesn't occur to me.


I don't think that's what he was getting at at all. The government, at the very least, has a responsibility in coordinating rescue and relief and ensuring that law and order can remain in the affected areas.

Of course, they should also be prepared for the threat of disasters through notification, sound infrastructure and advance planning.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Well, failure or a previous life in the Nixon administration...

6:30 PM  
Blogger Polusplagchnos said...

I suppose in the event of an invasion by Cubans and Russians, the first person responsible for me is the same: me. And I ain't gonna use no leaves.

But maybe beyond that first person, there are other people, too.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

He was a "man of high character whose name was dragged through the mud for political purposes." or something like that, said W.

Its always sad to see a perjurer retire from the highest law enforcement office in the US Govt.

5:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is everything that happens wrong in the world today the fault of the Bush administration? Are you kidding me? It was the people of N.O. who were unprepared for Katrina (and I was in new orleans that weekend, I watched that doofus mayor on tv telling everyone to get a plan ready (but never telling anyone to evacuate, get out while you can, etc), where the hell was his plan I ask you? it must have been in the 400 empty buses that flooded out instead of being used to evacuate those without transportation (but who probably had cable or satellite tv and cell phones for sure). You'd think that he'd at least have thought of putting water and food in the superdome once he thought of sending people there to ride out the storm. Oh wait, that would have made sense. Are you trying to tell me that everyone in the world but the govt officials in New Orleans knew about the sad shape of the levees? Why is it that you dont hear the people in Mississippi and the rest of the gulf coast affected by katrina bitchin'and complaining like most of the people in new orleans? Oh that's right, because they're actually rebuilding instead of expecting the federal govt to come in and take care of them and do every little thing for them.

3:56 PM  

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