"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job"But as the news reports of despair, death, and chaos in New Orleans continued, the performances of Brown and FEMA drew widespread fire: Democrats demanded that Bush fire Brown, world leaders questioned the president's leadership, and even some Republicans called for investigations into the federal government's preparedness and response. Yesterday, Democrats praised Brown's removal from the scene but said Bush stopped short.
"It is not enough to remove Mr. Brown from the disaster scene. Mr. Brown simply doesn't have the ability or the experience to oversee a coordinated federal response of this magnitude."Michael Chertoff sidestepped questions yesterday over whether his key deputy had been forced out. As FEMA director, he must be ready to respond to potential threats posed by storms and terrorists, and the mission of Katrina relief is too big a job to allow distractions. Brown has been FEMA director since 2003, after two years as the agency's deputy director and general counsel. Time Magazine reported yesterday that Brown had contended to have been "an assistant city manager with emergency services oversight" from 1975 to 1978. He was an assistant to the city manager with no oversight duties. Though Brown is the main target, comments Bush made himself have contributed to the damage. On Thursday, Bush announced that he was cutting red tape to ensure that disaster victims could receive $2,000 debit cards, even as storm victims standing in line to get the cards at the Astrodome in Houston were shown complaining about delays. Bush drew withering criticism when he said in a TV interview that the breach of levees was a surprise, despite years of federal reports, scientific analyses, and newspaper articles predicting that it would happen in a storm of Katrina's strength. Democrats continued yesterday to call for an independent panel to investigate the government's preparedness for the disaster. In addition, they called for a new agency to coordinate federal, state, and local reconstruction efforts. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, recommended a "Gulf Coast Regional Redevelopment Authority" modeled on the New Deal-era Tennessee Valley Authority. Kennedy said he is working on legislation for such an entity. FEMA director says media made him a scapegoat - 'Atta-boy' out of there as new questions arise - New York Times - CBC News - MarketWatch.