The 'governess' sinks to new low
by Sam Hanna, Jr. - posted Monday, January 29th, 2007 @ 5:38 am
Was it any coincidence Gov. Kathleen Blanco staged news conferences over a two-day period, whining about "Washington Republicans" just as Congressman Bobby Jindal was announcing his plans to oppose Blanco in this fall's governor's race?
No, it wasn't a coincidence at all.
Instead, it was Blanco's intentions to deflect attention from the Jindal for Governor campaign, using remarks delivered by a former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to allege that a well-orchestrated plan existed in the White House back in the summer of 2005 to sandbag Blanco and her efforts to respond to Hurricane Katrina.
In case you missed it, about two weeks ago Michael "Brownie" Brown spoke to a group of college students in New York City. In his speech, Brown, the director at FEMA who became the Bush administration's scapegoat in the wake of the hurricanes in '05, suggested that officials in the White House worked to make life miserable for Blanco when Katrina struck, simply because she was a female governor who happened to be a Democrat.
Haven't we heard something to that effect before? More on that in a moment.
Blanco's two-day tirade last week at appearances in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, blaming anyone and everyone except her rudderless administration for the state's pitiful track record in rebuilding areas devastated by Katrina, was an excellent example of an elected official who can't stand on her own record. It also was another example of what elected officials do best when their political world is crumbling around them. And that's to either blame somebody for it or fire them. In this case, Blanco's playing the blame game because, for goodness sakes, we certainly shouldn't expect the governor to take any responsibility for her failure to lead.
For months we've listened to Blanco and other officials in her beleaguered administration complain that the State of Mississippi and its popular Republican governor, Haley Barbour, got more than its fair share in federal appropriations to rebuild in the wake of Katrina. Blanco and her lackeys have offered some rather convincing evidence, pointing to discrepancies in federal funding extended to Louisiana and how that federal funding paled in comparison to the money Mississippi received. Of course, Blanco and company have noted that Louisiana took it on the nose to a greater degree than Mississippi when Katrina turned our world upside down some 17 months ago.
We're sympathetic to Blanco's complaints, and it's understandable that she's upset.
Why, though, did Blanco choose the month of January of 2007, an election year in which she is expected to run for re-election, to show her hind side over an issue that's dead on arrival?
Before we answer that question let's recall a commentary offered in this space in the first week of February 2006.
In a column titled "The Karl Rove Way in Louisiana," we offered an opinion that suggested it was highly possible the president's chief political advisor, Karl Rove, would be more than willing to stall or outright work against the rebuilding of the New Orleans area. It was said that Rove was more than capable and probably quite willing to act in such a manner to turn the then-ongoing mayor's race in the Crescent City in favor of a Republican.
Do you remember that column?
I do. I remember it well. I was widely criticized for writing it.
What's the point? Why does it matter now to point out that I wrote an opinion piece roughly one year ago suggesting exactly what Michael Brown said in New York City two weeks ago?
That's exactly the point.
It doesn't matter.
Should we be surprised that the president who said "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job" would act in a partisan way?
Just like Blanco's whining in the past week about the so-called, evil "Washington Republicans" doesn't amount to a hill of beans. Her whining also will accomplish absolutely nothing in moving Louisiana forward on its long road toward recovery, a road of recovery that's moving at a snail's pace thanks, in large part, to the inept administration operating under the tutelage of Kathleen Blanco.
Blanco, instead, should be embracing the upcoming campaign as an opportunity to debate the issues that affect the lives of all Louisianians.
Don't hold your breath.
Instead, look for Blanco to avoid those debates with Jindal because her performance in office has been pitiful at best.
Jindal, meanwhile, distinguished himself during those extraordinary times when Katrina swirled about as one cool cucumber under pressure.
Remember how the governor reacted?
Sam Hanna, Jr. is publisher of The Ouachita Citizen, and he serves in an editorial/management capacity with The Concordia Sentinel and The Franklin Sun, three newspapers owned and operated by the Hanna family. Hanna can be reached by calling (318) 805-8158 or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.