Monday, September 05, 2005

Why Fire Brown? Why Now?

The best way for the president to show us he gets it -- show he understands that the federal response to Katrina was and is unacceptably slow -- is to fire FEMA director Michael Brown now. Today. This very minute.

Why fire Brown now? Why not one of the other remedies proposed? Why not pull FEMA out of Homeland Security, or created a new cabinet level position?

It's simple: anything else would take too much time. Restructuring federal bureaucracy at that level would take an act of Congress, and a lot of negotiating between the executive and legislative branches of government.

Shuffling chairs on the deck of the ship of state is the last thing we need to waste time on right now. We need someone to take charge of the disaster relief and recovery now, someone who is far more competent and experienced a manager than Michael Brown.

Why fire Michael Brown and not Michael Chertoff? Again, simple: Chertoff was brought in as homeland security chief to beef up our defenses against terrorism. He belongs in the Beltway. As soon as Brown is fired, send Chertoff back to D.C. where he can help the new FEMA head cut through red tape.

What we need is a FEMA director we can trust. Someone who's a competent and effective manager of all our resources -- the "armies of compassion" as well as the actual armies. Someone who can be there on the ground, responding to a vast and fast-changing situation. Someone who can speak plainly, bluntly, and -- most importantly -- honestly.

Michael Brown is not that man, and so he needs to go. Now.


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