Saturday, September 3, 2005

Brownie the Crony

Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.

So said President Bush yesterday about Michael Brown, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Well, he is doing a better job than he did as his last one. According to the Boston Herald:

The federal official in charge of the bungled New Orleans rescue was fired from his last private-sector job overseeing horse shows.

And before joining the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a deputy director in 2001, GOP activist Mike Brown had no significant experience that would have qualified him for the position.

The Oklahoman got the job through an old college friend who at the time was heading up FEMA.

The agency, run by Brown since 2003, is now at the center of a growing fury over the handling of the New Orleans disaster.


Before joining the Bush administration in 2001, Brown spent 11 years as the commissioner of judges and stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association, a breeders’ and horse-show organization based in Colorado.

“We do disciplinary actions, certification of (show trial) judges. We hold classes to train people to become judges and stewards. And we keep records,” explained a spokeswoman for the IAHA commissioner’s office. “This was his full-time job…for 11 years,” she added.

Brown was forced out of the position after a spate of lawsuits over alleged supervision failures.

“He was asked to resign,” Bill Pennington, president of the IAHA at the time, confirmed last night.

I went through an extensive background check, credential reviews, and fingerprinting to get my job with the school system as a mid-level clerical staffer. This guy is the head of the federal agency that oversees national disasters, and he got this job through his college roommate. Yeah, everyone uses connections to get their foot in the door, but you’d think that if you got fired from your last job for incompetence, you’d wonder why the hell he was even considered for this one. And even though the presidency has always been rife with cronyism, when you are an incompetent bungler you get assigned something like the ambassadorship to Freedonia, not to be the head of an agency on which peoples’ lives and fortunes depend. But since the president’s own background shows that he’s never been able to keep a business going himself without the help of rich friends, I guess Mr. Brown fits like a glove with this crowd.