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September 08, 2005

Slow Response Blamed on Need to be Politically-Correct

This is wild.  The New York Times has an article in tomorrow’s paper that suggests that the Bush Administration sat around and tried to see how they could be sensitive to a Democratic woman politician, Governor Kathleen Blanco, so as not to offend her.  That’s why they took so long to respond in Louisiana.  You see, they didn’t have that problem with the good-ole governors of Mississippi and Alabama – nice, white, Republican guys who had each previously done their stint as staff with the Republican National Party.   

Could it be possible that they are going to try to blame the slow reaction of the federal government on the need to be politically correct? 

Ladies and Gentlemen, a two-fer.  Get people to believe that President Bush tried to do a good job but was stymied by the need to be sensitive.  So, in the future, let’s not allow petty little things like actually communicating with the people who are also involved to us to interfere with our ability to respond properly.  That is too politically correct and we don’t have time for it in a “time of crisis”.

It is awesome to behold.

More after the fold. 

These may be business-people but they are not good business-people.  I spent 15 years training managers and teams in large corporations.  Good businessfolks treat people well and build alliances and plan ahead.  Good managers don’t play the blame game.  They communicate with everyone and listen and pull the common agendas together and put together a solution that all are able to work with.  They work together for the greater good and take care of their own agenda, but only as part of the whole, not instead of it. 

The arrogant Republicans don’t see building relationships with the folks on the ground, who are actually doing the governing; they don’t see a reason to communicate with people who aren’t fully loyal.  They aren’t accustomed to treating everyone in a respectful, thoughtful way.  They don’t bother to plan ahead for the very real emergencies of life that we can only really deal with as a large, generous community. 

When you don’t spend time governing and building relationships, bad things happen.  We also hear that the folks in the Bush Administration couldn’t communicate amongst themselves either.  When you require that everyone agree with you, you don’t get the full picture.  You don’t get the most innovative ideas; you have people going off on their own because they can’t see good coming from working as a larger group.  You get out of the practice of communicating in a real way.

So, last week, they realized that they had made another big, wrong assumption.  Still from the same article, Administration officials,

began to realize that Hurricane Katrina exposed a critical flaw in the national disaster response plans created after the Sept. 11 attacks. According to the administration's senior homeland security officials, the hurricane showed the failure of their plan to recognize that local police, fire and medical personnel might be incapacitated and unable to act quickly until reinforcements arrive on the scene.

These folks had made a very big mistake that cost the death of hundreds if not thousands of people and caused untold additional mayhem and dislocation.  It, like the time of the immediate aftermath of the Iraq War, was simply something they hadn’t thought about.

Why not?  Hubris, I venture to guess – a sense of absolute entitlement.  No sense that it was worth bringing other people into the mix or asking the people on the ground to determine what to do and then supporting them to do it – ahead of time.  No sense of governing. So, instead of actually governing well, when these guys make mistakes and this form of management always brings large mistakes, these guys spend their time spinning.

The authors go on to say,

Can you imagine how it would have been perceived if a president of the United States of one party had pre-emptively taken from the female governor of another party the command and control of her forces, unless the security situation made it completely clear that she was unable to effectively execute her command authority and that lawlessness was the inevitable result?" asked one senior administration official, who spoke anonymously because the talks were confidential.

They’d had some earlier difficulties.  She was not one of the good ole guys.  And she may well have made some mistakes herself.  But, gads, do we have to buy this nonsense?  They guys were bad managers from the beginning and we are all reaping the sour harvest. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on September 8, 2005 at 10:04 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink

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