Sunday, September 11, 2005

Damning inside details of "How Bush Blew It"

Here, in the September 19th issue, Newsweek Hurricane Katrina Coverage . Lots of interesting information on Bush's temperament, the reluctance of aides to broach the idea of him cutting short his vacation, the life inside the bubble where apparently Bush has little to no access to current media information other than those reports fed to him by his staff. A quick and colourful read.

Some interesting quotes are found here:
But on Saturday night, as Katrina bore down on , Nagin talked to Max Mayfield, head of the National Hurricane Center. "Max Mayfield has scared me to death," Nagin told City Councilwoman Cynthia Morrell early Sunday morning. "If you're scared, I'm scared," responded Morrell, and the mandatory order went out to evacuate the city—about a day later than for most other cities and counties along the Gulf Coast.
Bush's reaction did not seem to be the same...he went on about his schedule, heading to California to make a speech. As previously posted on this blog, Bush was also briefed by Max Mayfield but what his exact reaction was is unknown, we are left to judge by his business as usual schedule.

And there's this, for all of those who have been following Operation Blame Blanco - on the Monday night Blanco made a striking appeal to Bush that should have shaken him from his disengagement:
Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, a motherly but steely figure known by the nickname Queen Bee, knew that she needed help. But she wasn't quite sure what. At about 8 p.m., she spoke to Bush. "Mr. President," she said, "we need your help. We need everything you've got."

Bush, the governor later recalled, was reassuring. But the conversation was all a little vague. Blanco did not specifically ask for a massive intervention by the active-duty military. "She wouldn't know the 82nd Airborne from the Harlem Boys' Choir," said an official in the governor's office, who did not wish to be identified talking about his boss's conversations with the president. There are a number of steps Bush could have taken, short of a full-scale federal takeover, like ordering the military to take over the pitiful and (by now) largely broken emergency communications system throughout the region. But the president, who was in San Diego preparing to give a speech the next day on the war in Iraq, went to bed.
So for all those out there who continue to beat the drum on blaming the locals, who have not been blameless themselves, the inside story is not too flattering at the federal level either...a disengaged, reactive and slow moving President...