Monday, December 05, 2005

 

The Response to Hurricane Katrina

For the Blanco administration, politics mattered most

Last Friday, the state of Louisiana released 100,000 pages of memos, handwritten notes, e-mails, phone logs and other documents requested by congressional committees that are investigating the response to Hurricane Kartina. Evidently, politics took priority at the highest levels of the Blanco administration:
For the state's part, Blanco's chief of staff Andy Kopplin e-mailed employees Sept. 4 saying they needed to get national supporters to say "that the federal response was anemic" and asked them to point out budget cuts to levee programs.

While Blanco's office wanted to blame the federal government, the documents show that her staff didn't want it to appear as if the federal government was seizing state power.

When Bush visited New Orleans on Sept. 5 Blanco was initially supposed to visit evacuees in Houston, but Blanco spokeswoman Denise Bottcher didn't like the idea of Bush being in the state when the governor wasn't. "Reinforces the notion that she's not in charge and LA needs to be federalized," she e-mailed Kopplin.
Via Bryan Preston, who comments:
The more I think about this, the more of a smoking gun I think it is. Blanco had her top personnel working not on storm relief, but on political relief. Rather than working strategies to get food and transportation lined up, they were lining up an air war against President Bush. Her actions are beyond criminal, and her decisions are beyond appalling. What we see in the Blanco communications is an attitude in which saving herself from political fallout took precedence over saving stranded people from floodwaters.

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