Responsibility for What?

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More hurricane “blame game”: the Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan research organization, looked into the question of whether the governor of Louisiana did everything she could to take the “necessary and timely steps needed to secure disaster relief from the federal government.” And the report says… she did. So that undercuts recent White House attempts to use the “chick governor excuse” for the slow response to Katrina, although it certainly doesn’t get the Mayor of New Orleans off the hook — and I suspect he’ll still come out of this looking quite bad. (See, for example, this.)

Meanwhile, there’s not much to say about the president purportedly taking responsibility for the federal government’s response to Katrina this morning. More precisely, he said, “And to the extent that the federal government didn’t fully do its job right, I take responsibility.” Okay, but what does this even mean? To what extent does he think the federal government didn’t fully do its job right? Does he think he should be responsible for appointing largely unqualified GOP operatives to head positions at FEMA? Is he planning to take any action to fix things? Appoint an independent commission to look into the matter? This may well be the first time in memory that Bush has semi-apologized for anything, but it doesn’t really seem all that significant, when it comes down to it.

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