A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The E-Mail Did It!

AP: E-Mails Show How Katrina Swamped La. Gov.---

BATON ROUGE, La. - As looters and Hurricane Katrina floodwaters ravaged New Orleans, Gov. Kathleen Blanco's top aides were inundated with requests from around the world, from celebrities, dignitaries and people whose relatives were trapped in the city, according to newly released documents.

Dan Rather and Oprah Winfrey wanted interviews. An outspoken congresswoman wanted a security escort in the flooded city. Cuba's dictator offered medical help; Venezuela's president wanted to chat with the governor.

The correspondence also shows that Blanco staffers also sought to boost her image and debunk rumors about rampant violence.

"FYI, the shooting of looters in Jefferson Parish is still unconfirmed," said an e-mail message from a state police lieutenant to Bob Mann, Blanco's communications director, four days after the storm struck.

The contents of Mann's e-mail inbox from Aug. 23 through Sept. 6 — hundreds of messages each day — make up part of the estimated 100,000 pages of documents Blanco's office sent on Friday to two congressional committees investigating government failures in preparing for and responding to Katrina.

Many are police reports about traffic, weather and crime, logs of calls from people needing to be rescued, plus public statements from the governor and day-by-day official reports on flooding, refugees and evacuation efforts.

Typo-laden e-mail messages deal with improving the public's perception of Blanco, who in the early days of the crisis appeared on television looking stricken and grim, and once wept during a news conference. In response, her aides sought ways to play up her strengths, even while the news media continued broadcasting images of thousands of people waiting to be rescued.
It wasn't just a "perception" of Blanco; Her actions (or lack thereof) spoke louder than her sobbing words. And what strengths? She was a sobbing baby.

Blanco did a pathetic, inadequate, and all-around terrible job. It was her (and New Orleans' mayor Ray Nagin's) job to prepare, evacuate, and bring order to New Orleans. Blanco failed exceedingly well.

Unless she walked around with her computer strapped to her, and dealt with every e-mail she received personally, then why does it matter that she received so many e-mails. I'm sure the President receives 10 times the amount Blanco received . . . in a single day.

Then again, perhaps all these e-mail messages explain why Blanco did so horribly. Rather than deal with what was going on, she sat at her computer and played pen pal with Oprah and Dan Rather.

A good governor wouldn't have allowed receiving lots of e-mails distract her from doing her job. Really, what do these e-mails have to do with Blanco not doing her job? This is just another case of Liberals blaming something else for their miserable failings (which is often).