Scapegoating Mike Brown Is Still Politically Correct
Rich Galen is celebrating the anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe with a column titled "Nagin, Brownie and Katrina." His use of "Brownie" was a give away that the column would be a hit piece on a competent man who did his best and was scapegoated nevertheless. A man who deserves a Richard Jewel award as well as apologies from the Administration and the mainstream media.
Rich Galen is celebrating the anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe with a column titled "Nagin, Brownie and Katrina."
His use of "Brownie" was a give away that the column would be a hit piece on a competent man who did his best and was scapegoated nevertheless. A man who deserves a Richard Jewel award as well as apologies from the Administration and the mainstream media.
President Bush hung that nickname on Mr. Brown shortly before sacrificing him to satisfy the public craving for someone to blame, even though Mr. Brown had been urging and doing the right things for years, because Louisiana's historic incompetence and corruption under nearly continuous Democrat leadership since Reconstruction and inept female governor (Democrat Kathleen Blanco) and New Orleans' odd black mayor (Democrat Ray Nagin) were unsatisfactory to the mainstream media (and Democrats, of course).
Mr. Galen's positions:
"New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is a goofball. Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco is incompetent. Former FEMA director Michael Brown has an ego the size of a category 5 hurricane.
"In a nutshell (emphasis on the first syllable) you have the leaders on the ground of the three levels of government who were involved in the preparations for, and the actions following, the landfall of Hurricane Katrina.
"As it turned out there was not a competent person among the three of them."
"Then there were the political people: Dopes.
"Governor Blanco spent a significant amount of her time, in essence, sitting in a corner her arms wrapped around her, rocking back and forth. She refused to allow the National Guard to be nationalized to join the troops commanded by Lt. Gen. Russell Honore.
"Ray Nagin not only didn't direct rescue and recovery operations, he was found hiding out in the Hyatt, fearful that his constituents, the residents of New Orleans, would storm the place and lynch him.
"'Brownie,' who had already decided he was leaving FEMA to go into the private sector, was more worried about how his performance would influence the job offers he'd already received than how his agency was performing."
"I did Hannity & Colmes on Friday night to discuss Mayor Nagin's stupid crack that the lack of progress in New Orleans was no different than the 'hole in the ground' which is how he described the remnants of the attack on the World Trade Center buildings.
"I said that everyone knows Nagin is a dope. But when he says things like that - and says things like New Orleans continuing to be a 'chocolate city' - the rest of the country thinks he is not a serious guy and think that enough money has been spent on rebuilding a city which (a) has done nothing to help itself at all and (b) is being run by people who are goofballs.
"Katrina demonstrated the best and worst in people. Unfortunately, the worst were the people in charge.
"The best were the people who's names we will never know."
Andrew Lester, a lawyer and a friend of Mr. Brown, was stunned by Mr. Galen's pathetic political ploy (including Mr. Brown with Louisiana's top state and city culprits, apparently in an attempt to protect President Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff and to deflect charges of racism and sexism by defenders of Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin).
"I am amazed at what my Republican friends come up with to perpetuate the myth of former FEMA director Michael Brown as the designated scapegoat of Katrina. First, the White House did everything it could to hang him out to dry, putting out the story that Brown didn't keep his superiors informed of what was going on. He was incompetent, they said, unqualified, lacking knowledge of emergency management.
"Oops. It turns out he was knowledgeable, was qualified, did know emergency management, and had led the nation through over 160 presidentially declared disasters.
"Then it comes to light that he had fought within the Administration to keep the Department of Homeland Security from decimating FEMA. He wrote memoranda, some as long as two years before Katrina, warning that DHS was 'fundamentally sever[ing] FEMA from its core functions,' 'break[ing] longstanding, effective and tested relationships with states and first responder[s],' and ensuring that there would be 'and ineffective and uncoordinated response' to a manmade or natural disaster.
"Then the White House tried to order him not to testify about his contacts with the President and his top aides. When it became clear Brown would nevertheless testify (the President didn't have the courage of his own conviction in this regard. He could have invoked executive privilege. But he didn't want to take the heat; he just wanted Brown to violate the law, and refuse to answer the questions Congressional investigators put to him.), they sent a Republican Senator to do a hit-and-run attack on him; but the Senator didn't have the courage to stay in the committee room to allow Brown to respond.
"Then the videotapes showed Brown was doing all the things Republicans accused him of not doing. So the Republicans then came up with a new approach: now the story was that Brown disobeyed the 'chain of command,' a preposterous (and false) charge on its face, especially in light of the Republican Senate Committee's number one finding that whoever directs FEMA in the future have a 'direct line to the President during catastrophes.'
"But of all the charges leveled at him, I hadn't heard the one you came up with in your latest email -- that he was 'more worried about how his performance would influence the job offers he'd already received than how his agency was performing.' I'll give you this: it is inventive. But it is utterly false, completely disconnected from reality.
"I don't understand the Republican insistence on continuing to beat up Michael Brown. I know that the White House revealed that strategy as far back as the first week of September last year when a high-ranking White House official quoted the President as saying, 'I'd rather they beat up on him [Michael Brown] than me or Chertoff.' But isn't it time to move on to a different strategy?
"Maybe Washington Republicans could start by telling the truth. At least it has the advantage of being honorable."
Aside to Mr. Lester: I'd guess that the Administration wants to discredit Mr. Brown before he writes a book, in order to make what he writes suspect.
Advice to Mr. Galen: Succumbed to the temptation to scapegoat a white guy in order to blame a white women and a black man may be good politics, but it's despicable.
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.