We have said that we thought there was a Democrat PR element to capitalize on Katrina. The appearance a week ago of FEMA head under Clinton, James Lee Witt, is suggestive that the boondoggle was not limited to a plan to make a little hay out of whatever hurricane hit the Democratic state of Louisiana, but to capitalize on the specific problems of Katrina for partisan PR purposes. Note the order of events. Here is a WaPo story from last Sunday, September 4, showing that while the deplorable Blanco was dithering about federal troops, she had no problem making the decision to hire the Clinton FEMA chief:
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…..
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.
It is even worse than the Post makes it out to be. Blanco contacted Witt on Thursday, September 1, according to the Boston Globe. Then on Friday, September 2, Mayor Nagin made his famous direct appeal to President Bush aboard Air Force One — the one in which Blanco said she needed “24 hours” to decide if she would accept federal troops. Here, once again, is what Nagin said of that meeting:
The president looked at me….He said, “No, you guys stay here. We’re going to another section of the plane, and we’re going to make a decision.” He called me in that office after that. And he said, “Mr. Mayor, I offered two options to the governor.” I said – and I don’t remember exactly what. There were two options. I was ready to move today. The governor said she needed 24 hours to make a decision….She said that she needed 24 hours to make a decision. It would have been great if we could of left Air Force One, walked outside, and told the world that we had this all worked out. It didn’t happen, and more people died.
Clearly, Mayor Nagin was desperately reaching out for help, which the governor refused to decide upon. She had no problem deciding on other matters, however.
The deplorable Blanco had no problem deciding to contact and hire a Democrat crisis management firm, but somehow had great problems making simple and obvious decisions to actually manage the crisis, like letting Federal troops in — if those decisions let in the Bush administration for action and, we suppose, credit. We really want to know who Blanco needed to talk to in the 24 hours after Mayor Nagin’s desperate plea: the result of Blanco’s 24 hours of deliberation was to hire a Democratic consulting firm and to shun real, tangible, large, and direct federal assistance. We would really like to see Blanco’s phone records for that period. (Big HT: Larwyn)