Sunday, September 11, 2005

Bush Management Style and Katrina

The Bush administration has had a well deserved reputation for extremely tight message control. Almost nothing comes out of the Administration if not approved by the folks at the very top. I came across a striking example of this in an editorial by Dana Milbank via Kevin Drum. Note the final paragraph Drum pulls out

Hughes replied that ambassadors are free to talk -- if they use the talking points she sends them. "If they make statements based on something I sent them," she said, "they're not going to be called on the carpet."

Ambassadors are only supposed to speak based on statements given by the White House. There is no room for independent action by the Ambassador. Given this there is no way for an Ambassador to act in the face of some novel situation, a sudden emergency, until the Administration focuses on it and develops its talking points and strategy.
That's the situation Ambassadors face.

Given that this message discipline has been the hallmark of everything this Administration does, it seems very likely that federal emergency management would be under the same sort of restrictions. No independent action until the White House becomes involved. If that is the case, is there any wonder at the performance of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, given that Bush did not become involved until several days after the Hurricane struck?

[Update - Sun Sep 11, 2005, 1:37 PM] This Newsweek article covers much the same issues in greater depth.

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At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Donte Cantu said...

Wishing you all the best!


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