Investigation? What investigation?
Slate is usually too busy playing Beltway frat boy to get it right, but Eric Umansky's pungent distillation of what's in today's newspapers is always illuminating. Here he points how all this talk about an official investigation is entirely misplaced:
Asked about the government's response, President Bush stuck by the playbook and gently suggested that state and local officials should share the blame. But what the papers focus on is his promise to "lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong." Presumably riffing off that, the NYT's lead headline reads in part: "U.S. INQUIRY IS SET."
The only problem: Nothing was "set." As the Los Angeles Times points out up high, the president avoided putting a time frame on the "investigation." And as the NYT itself notes, the White House even backed away from the I word, preferring to call the eventual inquiry an "analysis." "There will be a time to do a thorough analysis," said spokesman Scott McClellan. "Now is not the time to do that."
Though the news pages don't seem to touch it, the president's insistence that he'll "lead" the inquiry fits a pattern. The last "investigation" the president set up was the WMD commission. It was endowed with a limited mandate that excluded one of the central questions. [LINK]Eric also includes this other nugget: "The Post points out inside that FEMA chief Mike Brown is getting some extra help. The Coast Guard's chief of staff was brought on board to, as the WP puts it, 'take over operational control' of the federal response." Gee, George, I thought Brownie was "doing a heck of a job."