Flood Level Hypocrisy

Michael Brown, the former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency CBS

Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News anchor and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.


I don't know about you but I know all I need to know about the government bumbling after Hurricane Katrina.

When I tuned in to those Senate hearings Friday, I realized it is now the hypocrisy that's at flood level. And the wind speed? Forget it.

There was Old Brownie, the former FEMA chief who became the face of government ineptitude. Now he tells us it was everyone else's fault. He says he called the White House early to warn it was bad and talked to the President. Well, check that. He's not really sure the President was on the line.

Give me a break. You call the White House and you're not quite sure you're talking to the President?

Then there are the Democrats. They blistered Old Brownie when the levees broke, especially after the President said he was doing a heck of a job.

But now that Old Brownie is blaming higher ups, Democrats are portraying him as some kind of victim. Give me another break. I was beginning to believe one of the Democrats might hug Old Brownie Friday.

Here's all we need to know. Old Brownie may or may not be, well, limited. But here's the larger point. By now we know this was a failure of government at every level and that the Department of Homeland Security is a monumental flop, a bureaucracy so huge it is unable to move in spite of itself.

FEMA, the disaster relief agency that Brownie ran should be removed from Homeland Security, and its chief should report directly to the White House.

And God help us if there IS a terrorist attack.


E-mail Face the Nation.


By Bob Schieffer
  • Patrick Kiker

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