Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Impolitical Person of the Year 2005: Brownie


Readers of the Impolitical blog will have seen this choice of Brownie as the Person of the Year coming. No high-falutin' choices here, no Bill and Melinda Gates/Bono altruistic selection to be made by this blog. Our man ran a close second. But is the clear winner of this award for his singular and momentous role in shaking up the U.S. political dynamic in 2005. Let us count the ways.

For exposing to the world the utter incompetence of Bush himself, who strummed, dithered on vacation and did a belated fly-by while was sinking, taking us back to pre-9/11 days.

For giving lie to the myth of Bush as the competent Chief Executive who could save his energy, focus and time for the high-end decision-making without micro-managing the details because he surrounded himself with the best and the brightest, competent managers like Brownie, for instance.

For briefly ushering in a new era of media responsibility, where the Bush administration's free ride magically came to a crashing halt (for a time anyway, and less so now) and reporters suddenly grew back bones, enough to question the policies and actions of the Bush administration to a degree unseen since 9/11.

For highlighting Bush's penchant for cronyism. Why, oh why was the unqualified Brownie ever placed in the position of FEMA Director, other than having been Joe Allbaugh's friend? When came along, Bush's crony tendencies became amplified even moreso, a focus that may not have predominated the Miers nomination to such an extent had Brownie not brought cronyism to the fore.

For providing countless hours of mischievous blogging material as Brownie's exploits compounded. The candid admissions that he did not know of the Convention Center disaster until well after it was unfolding, the e-mails on dinners and clothing to and from staffers, so hopelessly inappropriate amidst the surrounding circumstances, and by the end of the year, the new consulting venture Brownie launched on disaster preparedness (truly embodying the spirit that when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade).

Perhaps most importantly, for single-handedly shattering the myth of Bush as the protector and strong leader to which America could turn in times of national crisis. "You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie" was chosen as the year end "quote of the year" for good reason.

For all of these reasons and more, including surviving the taunts and jabs of such muckrakers as myself, Brownie is the Impolitical Person of the Year 2005.