Could FEMA have done better? No doubt. Does FEMA deserve only the criticism and hatred the Democrats engineered against them with no praise whatsoever for any efforts or services they provided? Apparently so.......
Apparently we both agree that FEMA and the pooch got overly friendly, and that in the time since their somewhat overly familiar relationship hasn't become one more appropriate to the situation. The disagreement seems to be about whether FEMA was in some fashion or another able to do nice things for the pooch at the same time, and whether the nice things made up for the basic behavior pattern.
Perhaps you would care to venture a guess as to the percentage of niceness FEMA provided and which was not reported.
I would remind you that when FEMA rushed supplies in and pre-positioned them for distribution, this was widely reported and praised in the press by everybody, including The Washington Post and The New York Times; and that when President Bush made his promises, these too were widely reported and praised by these same sources. The President was very happy to get this recognition and he and FEMA both deserved it. I have nothing against justly earned and well deserved praise, and these are examples.
When the supplies were not distributed, when the promises were not kept and when the President attempted to distribute the blame of these problems elsewhere, he was not so happy with the verdict reached by these same sources; and he was quick to smear them and everybody else he could reach rather than accept responsibility for problems of his own creation.
When the news sources praised him, he thought they were correct, when they criticized him, they were part of a liberal plot. Both FEMA and the President deserved praise in both the incidents I mentioned above. For their ineffectiveness and unwillingness to put into place the corrections that bipartisan investigation has since determined are necessary, they deserve every bit of criticism they have gotten. This has nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans, as I seem to have to point out time after time without any acknowledgement on your part; it has to do with failure to deliver appropriate and even minimal services to people who are in terrible need.
It is not simply FEMA, it is this version of FEMA that is not working. Both Democrats and Republicans agree on this. Both agree on the solutions to the problem, which is to give FEMA direct access to the President; to eliminate the currently politicized nature of the FEMA administration and bring in people who are professional at providing disaster relief and giving them decent funding to do the job; and giving FEMA its own independent Cabinet level director. This administration, isolated from the recommendations of even its own committee members, continues to act as though nothing needs to be done.
FEMA's leadership positions still need to be filled by people who are professional at this sort of work. The contracts FEMA distributes should not be filled by the usual suspects. The GAO should not have to issue the kind of reports that it does about the way these funds were used. There should be a much better level of recovery in New Orleans and throughout the Gulf States than there is at present.
Do I hate FEMA?
No, I don't.
Do I think they deserve only criticism?
No, I don't.
Balladeer, you are trying to accuse democrats in general of Black and White thinking: Either this or that; either black or white; either one or the other. We Democrats have usually been accused of trying to see the nuances in things, the details, wanting to understand the shades of meaning. I suppose I should be relieved to hear a new accusation, but I guess I'd rather hear one that was a bit more reflective of the actual reality of the way Democrats actually see and experience the world.
I think this version of FEMA needs to be changed in line with the way both Democrats and Republicans seem to think it would actually work better. I like FEMA; I simply want it to work better. I don't like it to be set up to be a poster child for this year's GOVERNMENT DOESN'T WORK campaign by the neoconservatives. Government has enough legitimate issues to be worked out without phony issues being trumped up. FEMA's a perfectly decent government agency that's being destroyed to no good purpose, and it's being kept from doing the kind of job it was designed to do and which it can do very efficiently and very well indeed.
I actually like FEMA, and despise what's being done to it, and despise what it's being prevented from doing. If it were well run, I wouldn't give a hoot who was in power. Balladeer, you've heard me be critical of my Democratic friends and allies when I think it's warranted, and you've seen me be kind to Republicans, difficult as that may be.
It's the good of the country that matters, and the people in it.
This version of FEMA's got both hands tied behind its back and it isn't pretty what President Bush has done to it.
I do look forward to talking about Iraq.
Have you seen the new Vincent Bugliosi book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder? I've just finished it and it's extraordinary, as well researched as you'd expect anything by Bugliosi, and very well written.
Have a look if you can.
Best wishes, BobK.