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On October 29, 2005, I wrote a local editorial about the ineffective leadership of Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. Aside from the fact that she botched the response to Hurricane Katrina from the beginning through today, at the time of my article, she was stalling several formal inquiries from Capitol Hill. Finally, more than one month after the initial petition, the documentation requested has been submitted and congressional committees must now comb through mounds of paperwork to discover where fault mostly lies.

From day one, as the documentation attests, the governor's office was engaged in a spin campaign to divert attention from her utter inaction and inability to lead. It's not that I'm a fan of President George W. Bush (I'm not particularly), but requests for help must be made, and to be legal, they must be submitted officially and precisely. Unfortunately, nothing has ever been precise during Blanco's entire administration-- so why start for a natural disaster? A large part of the evidence turned over to congress was a self-created time line, attesting to a supposed fact that she called for the assistance of federal troops, as early as August 29, the day Katrina hit Louisiana. The Bush administration denies any such request on August 29. In fact, the governor did request troops-- National Guard troops that she would Constitutionally have sole control over. Any federal troops sent in, other than those of the Guard, would be under the control of President Bush. She certainly did not want another rooster in her henhouse. In the end, the whole problem with sending federal troops into the area (other than the National Guard) would be the governor's loss of power. Finally, after being outed by a surprise CNN video made during interview preparations, she signed an order for federal assistance. This order led to federal help finally arriving in New Orleans, exactly one week after the storm's impact.

This type of negligent leadership should certainly be criminal, but, in Louisiana, it seems more commonplace. We are used to corruption, favoritism, nepotism, and any other type of negative "-ism" imaginable. Do we deserve more? Maybe, but then again, possibly not. We do determine, through elections, who our leadership will be. We hope that we make the right decisions, but often do not. One of our most legendary governors, Edwin Edwards, is now serving time in federal prison. The last time he was elected, he ran against a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan in a run-off election. Edwards' forced supporters placed bumper stickers on their cars pleading voters to "Vote for the Thief." The following governor served two terms while rallying his millionaire cronies for some good money-making deals. Now, we have her highness. Normally, stupidity would provide a much-needed respite.

As stated in my previous article, stonewalling the federal inquiries provided time for the governor and her retinue to be creative with their response. Certainly, neither she nor her public relations staff would allow the dissemination of any incriminating documentation without a retort claiming another's fault. To be truthful would certainly hurt her credibility. She should rest assured that, no matter what she does or admits to from this point, her popularity with Louisiana voters and national pundits can probably sink no lower. Despite her meager chances at winning a reelection, honesty might, at least, win supporters of moral fortitude. Admitting one's own faults and taking the blame for poor decisions, or the lack of any decision at all during times of crisis, are signs of good leadership. Any attempt at looking like a leader might help, as it certainly could not hurt.


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The following comments are for "Louisiana Governor Blanco-- the Results Are In"
by CWMaxwell





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