Brownie's public meltdown
September 28, 2005News & Politics
The House Select Committee took Michael Brown to the woodshed yesterday. Here are some of the highlights of richly deserved ass-whooping:
Rep. Christopher Shays, a Connecticut Republican, called Brown's account of events "feeble," "clueless," "shocking" and "beyond belief." Said Shays: "I'm happy you left, because that kind of . . . look in the lights like a deer tells me that you weren't capable to do the job." ... [LINK]
Rep. Gene Taylor .. said Brown was in way over his head. "You folks fell on your face. You get an F-minus in my book," he attested. .. Chairman Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) offered Brown no help, giving members unlimited time to abuse the witness and adding his own barbs. When Brown argued that the White House "was fully engaged . . . behind the scenes," Davis interjected: "They had to be behind the scenes, because I think we didn't see anything out front."His response: to blame the local officials. But when all that bluster didn't produce the desired effect:
Pointing his finger, pounding the table, Brown veered from his prepared testimony to insist: "I get it" and "I know what it's all about," and "I know what I am doing" and "I do a pretty darn good job." This display produced gasps and chuckles in the gallery.Brownie just sang like a canary:
Money for "catastrophic planning" for a New Orleans hurricane "was removed by the Department of Homeland Security," he said. Brown said he should have asked for President Bush's help earlier, and should have urged the military to come in sooner. He said it was a mistake that FEMA had no contingency contract for recovering dead bodies.
Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Tex.) elicited the biggest confession. "One of my frustrations over the past three years has been the emaciation of FEMA," Brown told him. Speaking of dwindling funds and a "brain drain," Brown said he struggled just "to keep that place together" and asserted that he "predicted privately for several years that we were going to reach this point."Pathetic doesn't even begin to cover it. [Crooks and Liars has the video highlights]