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Dear Michael Brown

Dear Michael Brown

I've been thinking about this since the video broke on “Hardball.”
Today, I'm doing something about it.

I'm joining Joe
Gandelman
.

Mr. Brown, I'm sorry. I was wrong, especially for this
post
. You sure did need a “stiff margarita,” but not for the reasons
I gave.

Oh, and by the way, the Washington Post is wrong too, but they won't admit
it like I will, like Joe and others have done. The following paragraph finally
appeared today, long after the commander in chief's Katrina catastrophe video
made the rounds.

Three days after Hurricane Katrina wiped
out most of New Orleans, President Bush appeared on television and said, “I
don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” His staff has
spent the past six months trying to take back, modify or explain away those
10 words.
Katrina
Video Refuels Debate Over Response

President George W. Bush joins Arizona Senator John McCain in a small celebration of McCain's 69th birthday Monday, Aug. 29, 2005, after the President's arrival at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix. The President later spoke about Medicare to 400 guests at the Pueblo El Mirage RV Resort and Country Club in nearby El Mirage.
White House photo by Paul Morse

Bush's quote was nowhere to be seen on the Post coverage, in the
aftermath of the AP video being released. The Post slipped it in today, hoping
no one would notice. Nice try. You'll never get a “correction” or
apology from them, however. I guess we'll all just have to be happy with it
appearing at the top.

But the rest of us, who laughed at “heckava job Brownie,”
are now left to say, as several of my readers have said and emailed to me, just
maybe you did do a heckava job, especially compared to the bosses. Bush and
Chertoff were not just in a bubble, but remained oblivious amidst it all, the
president not even asking questions about the full capabilities and possibilities
of the Katrina catastrophe.

Of course, that doesn't take anyone off the hook for Katrina,
but the blame doesn't belong to Brownie alone anymore, because it's clear he
got it, while Bush remained clueless. Mr. Brown, you even warned everyone of
the Superdome disaster that would eventually play out.

Seeing the video is a stark reminder that when dealing with Cat
5 hurricanes you don't get guarantees of carnage. However, we expect our leaders
at the top, those listening to experts in personal briefings, to have the foresight
to understand the underlying message without expecting it to be written down
to cover their butts. Our president knew what was bearing down on the Mississippi
Delta coast but didn't feel the urgency, with Michael Chertoff more worried
about American avian flu than a Cat 5 about to hit land.

George W. Bush and John McCain were celebrating with cake as Katrina
became a Gulf Coast region catastrophe. Who knew “let them eat cake”
would end up having such significance.

Meanwhile, Republicans are now fleeing the boss, with Dennis Hastert
saying today on MSNBC, that we must never allow a tragedy like Katrina to happen
again. But let's remember Dennis Hastert right after Katrina hit.

“It looks like a lot of that
place could be bulldozed,”
the Illinois Republican said in an
interview Wednesday with the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill.
House
speaker says rebuilding New Orleans … makes no sense

If this weren't such a deadly serious issue you could simply call
a flip flop for what it is and leave it at that.

But Republicans don't just get to flip flop and back away from
Bush when it's convenient, after Republicans in Congress have become a rubber
stamp for the Bush presidency. After Democrats have shown the way forward, leading
the way out of the port deal and everything else, Republicans don't get credit
for jumping on board, because they still haven't held Bush accountable for anything.

There are a lot of mistakes to go around on Katrina, which for
me always began at the top, but you were the whipping boy of my rage, Mr. Brown. Again, I'm sorry about that, which seems lame, considering you were ruined from coast to globe. The least we can do is apologize, though some aren't even doing that much.

It's abundantly clear that George W. Bush knew
what was about to hit and didn't press forward on FEMA, state and local officials.
The federal government had more resources than anyone in the Delta, plus having
the advantage of being away from the eye of the storm, but Bush didn't mobilize
his team. Condi
was caught buying shoes! I always put the blame at the very top, but amidst
the horror playing out across cable, “Brownie” got the brunt.

I'm sorry, Mr. Brown. Please accept my apology.

… Oh, and let me add, I will correct the record on every post on this blog.

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.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong