Monday, August 28, 2006

Lying In Wait For Another Chance

On Hardball, Norah O'Donnell just got Brownie to say that the White House told him to "lie" about the aftermath of Katrina, and to admit that he himself, Michael D. Brown, "lied." Not that things were a mess, and no one quite knew what was going on, having been taking aback as was everyone, everywhere, about Katrinia's wrath. Not that people, he himself included, might initially have been horribly mistaken and out of touch.

And not even that he was advised to put a positive spin on things--though he briefly mentioned "talking points," that time-honored technique of ALL administrations. (Please, don't bother to argue with me about that. Sometimes, rain really is just wet, that quality being the nature of rain.) No, what O'Donnell got him to say was that the White House told him to lie. And that he, Brown, lied. Allowing not for mistakes or anything else, but something far more malign. Which I can entertain further down the line, but not in the immediate time and aftermath of Katrina. And which malignancy, even then, I can assign to almost everywhere.

Brown's hitting hot-buttons, politically, quite deliberately, and in the most opportunistic and convenient way. Not for one minute do I believe that it has to do with actual chagrin and humility on his part. Or any desire to really help real people, either to understand what went wrong back then or to move things forward right now.

It seems to me important to note that apart from Michael Brown's legitimate frustrations and beefs preceding Katrina and his issues with Michael Chertoff (legitimate, personal, or--as is most likely--a mix), he started, nine months ago, a disaster-preparedness firm. I have no idea how it's doing right now, though it's something I surely will try to google in more detail, later. But Michael Brown is very, very invested indeed, it is clear, with off-loading the flood of blame and recrimination in any way that it touches upon him. And--perhaps, just perhaps--in getting back at those who left him feeling "abandoned" (see below).

I've gone through various...phases...with regard to Mr. Brown. (And I'm definitely of the school that there is More Than Plenty of blame to go around with regard to Katrina's pre-math, during-math, and aftermath, most particularly as pertains to the situation as it played out in Louisiana.) I've blogged skeptically, in ways both sympathetic and not, about Mr. Brown back on my old blog. See I'd Love to See That Marketing Plan, A Disaster In The Making From Day One and "I certainly feel somewhat abandoned".

I think it's worthwhile remembering that when Brown got dumped--rightly or wrongly, fairly or not--last fall, a rather lot was made, appropriately enough, in the media about his background and qualifications, and whether or not they ever fitted him to the position he held. I wonder how often this issue will be raised as his remarks about "lying" are circulated round and about. Or, for that matter, the fact that he acknowledged himself a liar, this night.