After much prodding by other bloggers, I set this up for my own writings. The name is in honour of the two women that mentored me throughout my life on politics and intelligence issues, as well as being wonderful family members, now alas deceased. I hope to live up to their standards at this site.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Rove running reconstruction? Prepare for disaster number 3 from Katrina

I found this out yesterday, but I did not blog it then because I was quite frankly too stunned by this news. Karl Rove has been tapped by the Bush White House to run the reconstruction efforts post Katrina. Think about what this implies for a minute, just think about it.

First off, leaving aside anything to do with the other controversies surrounding Karl Rove and his previous actions as political chief for George W Bush, what job experiences does he have that even remotely qualify him for this job? I mean really, didn't this Administration learn ANYTHING from putting Brown in charge of FEMA? One of the main reasons FEMA failed so spectacularly was because the person in charge of running it had absolutely no experience in disaster management issues whatsoever, and it showed in the staffing choices made followed upon what the man that brought him in Joe Albaugh had done at FEMA prior. Karl Rove's history is that of a political operative, a ruthless and successful one to be sure, but that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the skills/experiences/background for directly a large scale reconstruction of the infrastructure of a large city and the main part of two States and some of a third. We are talking about infrastructure of every type needing rebuilding. We are talking about residences needing the same. In the case of NO we are talking about making a city significantly more resistant to hurricanes and flooding damages. Not to mention the long term cleanup of the toxic materials so that the grounds to be rebuilt upon are not toxic to those that will work/live there.

That all on its own should be enough to disqualify him from holding this position, but in Rove's case there is far more to disqualify him in anything resembling an honest (or for that matter more traditional somewhat sleazy but somewhat responsible government which most democracies including America have known over the decades) government. This man has been confirmed as having discussed/confirmed classified information as revealed a few months back via Time's Matt Cooper, and then there is the overhanging sword of Damocles known as the Fitzgerald grand jury into the outing of Valerie Plame and Brewster & associates. Given that this is barring an extension wrap up in October, this is incredibly irresponsible. Say he actually does start getting things set up for him to manage the reconstruction, what happens if he is one of those indicted by the grand jury if it does bring down indictments? It is not as if it is considered an unlikely possibility given all that is known about the focus of this grand jury. The disruption would set reconstruction efforts badly needed to be up and running ASAP by an unknown amount of time.

However, in many ways what makes this particularly galling/offensive is that it shows that for this Administration is seeing the reconstruction of the post Katrina ravaged Gulf Coast sees this is at heart a political operation, and not policy. That the contracts and the methods used to rebuild will first and foremost conform to political requirements instead of what works best, has a proven track record whether it fits ideology or not, and will be directed to political loyalists first before any other criteria. We have seen how well that worked in Iraq during the first couple of years there, both the test bedding of conservative theories using people unqualified for such work from conservative think tanks and the amount of corruption and unaccounted for billions/tens of billions of American tax dollars during that process is mind-boggling. This has the potential to be worse in terms of costs, and this is something that America and Americans will HAVE to live with since it is happening there and not overseas. It will be the same people managing both, and with the same overall goals, the advancement of a permanent GOP majority government.

Now, while it would be foolishness to say there is no political component/element in something like this, it has no business being the primary component. This shows in so many ways a fundamental lack of understanding of the reality on the ground in the Gulf Coast, and it also shows a fundamental lack of empathy/sympathy for the Americans most affected by this disaster. By seeing it first and foremost in terms of political gains and potentials a disaster that needs to be apolitical/bipartisan to be properly managed and recovered from is doomed to be anything but. How can that be seen as doing right by those Americans now displaced and whose lives were devastated by Katrina, as well as their homes and long term investments in them? No, this only indicates further just how detached from every day reality this Administration is, and where its priorities truly lie.

Karl Rove may be a political reconstructionalist of some ability, but to confuse that with the kind of reconstruction skills needed here demonstrates incompetence, arrogance, and worst of all, indifference to the welfare of America and Americans. The only bright side to this is that Karl Rove and his methods of operation work best through cutouts. With this he becomes a significant public figure responsible for the direction of tens of billions of tax dollars as a part of his direct responsibilities. It will be far harder for him to run away from any of his actions in this position, and may well be what brings him down if the Fitzgerald grand jury does not.

Update (Sept 17 05):

This comment at TMPCAFE describes exactly what I am referring to regarding this being a political operation over true reconstruction with the choice of Karl Rove to head it at the WH. This is also something Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly's Political Animal has also speculated about.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sat Sep 17, 05:34:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Politicagrll said...

Scotian it's great to see you've started your own blog! Welcome to having a spot where you can post---instead of just being able to comment. I think you'll like it.

Sun Sep 18, 11:44:00 AM 2005  
Blogger Scotian said...


Perhaps, though I am not exactly pumping them out as of yet. On the other hand, I do think I want to be more concerned with the quality of my writings than the quantity. I just hope those that find what I write worth reading don't mind the (so far at least) infrequency. I do suspect that over time that will change, but I don't want to promise something I am not sure I can fulfill.

Mon Sep 19, 12:49:00 AM 2005  
Blogger Mark Francis said...

This is all reminiscent of Mike Harris in that his government really held experts in contempt. Far better to have a political ideologue in charge than some over-educated, supposedly can't-see-outside-the-box something-crat pushing studies at every problem.

I merna, heck, the entire CPA in Iraq was nothing more than a pile of republican loyalists who knew nothing about running a foreign country under occupation.

And, gee, that went well.

Mon Sep 19, 04:04:00 AM 2005  
Blogger eddytaft10576300 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Fri Sep 23, 07:13:00 AM 2005  

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