For all of you who think I do nothing but bash Bush, prepare to eat your words. Today I come not to bury Caesar, but to praise him. In a move that had to happen for Mr. Bush to retain even the slimmest shred of integrity and respectability, Mike Brown tendered his “resignation” moments ago. I applaud the move as the right thing to do for this country, and the right thing to do as leader of this country.
All to often, Mr. Bush has shown a greater trust in loyalty than competence. Mistakes are swept away or excused – or worse, never acknowledged as having been made in the first place. How well you toe the line is a better measure of your career longevity than how well you do your job. The people who were sacked were often the people who disagreed a little too much.
That isn’t bashing, it’s a real assessment of Mr. Bush’s leadership strategy. In some ways it’s noble in a world full of political backstabbers, but when loyalty puts people’s lives at risk, then the nobility is replaced with stupidity.
Hiring Mr. Brown because he was the friend of a friend was stupid. That’s how you decide who plays in a poker match, not who runs FEMA. It is also a pretty common thing in this White House. That’s why you see such poor vetting (Bernie Kerik anyone?). Who needs to look for sordid detail in a world where a man’s word is good enough?
Except we all know that the words of certain men aren’t worthy of that type of trust, or this kind of misplaced loyalty.
We don’t pay taxes to reward loyal behavior. We pay taxes for the same reason a company pays a wage – to get a job done. When the job isn’t done, there needs to be a change. This time, that common sense was followed. Too late to be of comfort to thousands of people, but maybe not too late to save others from the same fate.
No word yet on whether or not Mr. Brown will receive the Medal of Freedom. I’d put the odds as even money.