A couple of weeks ago, I addressed a piece from the AP's Jennifer Loven. Loven, the wife of a former Clinton administration environmental official, found it necessary to write, as gasoline prices were rising, about how George W. Bush was probably the greatest consumer of gasoline. Well, after almost two weeks of absolutely relentless criticism of the President for not taking Katrina seriously, the AP has run a Loven article today (Many Chiefs in White House Recovery Effort) which criticizes the President for having his administration focused on the Hurricane relief effort.
There are an awful lot of chiefs around the White House these days when it comes to Hurricane Katrina. There's Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, whose portfolio has swelled to give him...the job of the president's primary daily briefer...There's Andy Card, who as White House chief of staff is the supervisory point person for all things Katrina...Then there's Vice President Dick Cheney, whom Bush dropped into the mix Tuesday... There's nothing out of the ordinary about a White House having several people overseeing different portions of such an enormous effort...But in this case, with the president under fire for a poor early reaction to the storm, the large cast of sometimes-changing aides being thrown at the response is contributing to a perception that the president has not taken complete control of the situation himself, said Paul Light, a professor of organizational studies at New York University. "It's just reinforcing this image that the federal government doesn't know who's on first," he said.
It is just unbelievable. The President is an executive, delegating responsibility to subordinates, but she was able to go out and find a professor to criticize that. Somehow, because the President is delegating responsibility, because he has these high-level government officials focused on the disaster relief, that's an indication that "the president has not taken complete control of the situation himself." It doesn't take much mental agility to imagine a piece from the AP in which the President is criticized for NOT having those officials focused on those tasks, had that been the case instead. No, the AP's motto appears to be "all the news that's fit (to impugn the President) to print..."
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