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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
David Brooks in the New York Times stumbles onto one of the more salient comparisons we've seen this week.
On Sept. 11, Rudy Giuliani took control. The government response was quick and decisive. The rich and poor suffered alike. Americans had been hit, but felt united and strong. Public confidence in institutions surged.
Last week in New Orleans, by contrast, nobody took control. Authority was diffuse and action was ineffective. The rich escaped while the poor were abandoned. Leaders spun while looters rampaged. Partisans squabbled while the nation was ashamed.
Of course, while Brooks doesn't have the wit to capitalize on his accident, he leaves it sitting there waiting for someone to knock it into the bleachers. So . . .
The most important thing to read here is the first line: RUDY GUILIANI TOOK CONTROL. And, let me think, what was Rudy's job title? Um . . . lessee . . . oh, yes. MAYOR! The Mayor took control and guaranteed that the government response was quick and decisive.
And, just to play this out, try to picture New Orleans with a Mayor Guiliani. Try to picture a major catastrophe bearing down on his city and him waiting until 12 hours before landfall to issue an evacuation order. Try to picture him leaving school buses in their parking lots when an entire sub-stratum of the city was unable to comply with that order. Try to picture him encouraging people to evac to a location which he had already identified as inadequate to his city's needs. Try to picture a police force being ineffective or corrupt in his city.
Or try to picture him trying to shift the responsibility--and the blame--for HIS CITY onto anybody else.
I have defended the President to this point, but in one thing I am critical of him. When he flew over the city on Wednesday and saw the condition of the city and received reports of anarchy, he should have immediately federalized the entire city and appointed Rudy Giuliani to oversee all recovery and evacuation operations.