FEMA destroyed by Brown’s turf war

Thanks to Horse Whisperer for pointing me towards an article in today’s Washington Post, chronicling the disintegration of FEMA under Michael Brown’s watch: “Brown’s Turf Wars Sapped FEMA’s Strength.”

Katrina exposed FEMA as a dysfunctional organization, paralyzed in a crisis four years after the supposedly galvanizing attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. And it turned Brown — a former executive of the International Arabian Horse Association who had no emergency management experience before joining the Bush administration — into a symbol of government ineptitude. But Brown’s well-chronicled gaffes in Louisiana had less impact on FEMA than his little-known power struggles in Washington. Brown lost almost all of them — partly because he was widely despised at DHS for his relentless infighting — and FEMA paid a price in money, manpower, missions and prestige.

And of course, a big thanks to Horse Whisperer for tipping me off to Brown’s tumultuous tenure at the IAHA — a story that first broke here on HA — that came to symbolize the cronyism endemic in the Bush administration, and hastened Brown’s removal from office. (I say that with all modesty, as Brown blamed HA himself.)

While the article makes it clear that Brown is not the only incompetent Bush appointee to blame for FEMA’s decline, it certainly shows what inevitably happens when you put a man who fell victim to the inside politics of a horse association in charge of a major federal agency.


  1. 2

    bluesky spews:

    That was the intent: to destroy FEMA. Norquist’s infamous statement, “My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” (literally, in this case) Looks like it is working.

  2. 4

    Voter Advocate spews:

    Quite so.

    The righties have been saying that government can’t do anything right for thirty years. Don’t expect them to do anything that would alter that self-fulfilling prophecy when they have power.

    When they are less in power, they carp that the opposition can’t do anything right, as in KC. When they are in power, they prove that no one can.

    It is time to stop playing their game.

  3. 5

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    goldy! What I particularly like is that it took “horsesass” to bring down a horses’ ass.
    In all sincerity, and no irony, You’re doin’ a heckuva job,

  4. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “While the article makes it clear that Brown is not the only incompetent Bush appointee to blame for FEMA’s decline”

    Another incompetent appointee responsible for the FEMA debacle is George W. Bush. Technically speaking, he is not a Bush appointee, of course; he’s a Supreme Court appointee.

  5. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    That should get the trolls warmed up on this chilly winter day. I’m using trollgas to keep the heating bills down in my burrow. he he he he he

  6. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I see a couple of drinking establishments in the GOP’s hand-picked county were cited for violating the smoking ban. Wenatchee police reported the smokers were “hostile.”

  7. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Roger Rabbit has posted 50.0% of the comments on this thread. If you don’t like it, go screw an armadillo!

  8. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    On today’s crime blotter, I see the following item:

    “MILAN – A Milan court has issued a European arrest warrant for 22 CIA agents suspected of kidnapping an Egyptian cleric from Italy’s financial capital in 2003, Prosecutor Armando Spataro said on Friday.” (Reuters) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10584239/

  9. 13

    Wingut Bushite Apologist spews:

    Katrina and NOLA? Oh that was Nagin and Blanco’s fault for not using the schoolbuses.

    Brownie did a heck of a job. The President said so.

  10. 15

    horse whisperer spews:

    Brownie and Captain Clueless are a great pair as far as ducking any personal responsiblity for the chaos they create.

  11. 16

    Winston Smith spews:

    Don’t forget: Jimmy Carter started FEMA. He was one of the few actual human beings to occupy the Presidency in the 20th Century.

    And ,no. Ronald Reagan was NOT one of the others. Or maybe he was one of the : OTHERS…

    I mean, get real!