A study in leadership: Schweitzer vs. Bush

A study in leadership: Schweitzer v. Bush

Two leaders. One a governor, one a president. It’s the season for potential natural disaster: in Montana, it’s fire season; on the Gulf Coast, it’s hurricane season.

 

Montana’s Governor Brian Schweitzer:

Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Tuesday that dry weather and lightning will continue to present fire danger and that Montanans should be prepared to protect their own property.The National Guard, if needed, will be called out, Schweitzer said Tuesday morning in Billings before flying over several blazes in south-central Montana.

“We aren’t there yet,” he said referring to the National Guard.

The Governor is obviously paying attention to the fires that threaten to go out of control. He’s got the Guard standing by and has issued official, informed advice on how locals can help fight fires and protect their property.

The fires aren’t a problem. Yet. But if they do become problematic, it’s apparent Schweitzer will know and will react.

President George W. Bush:

With the water coming from the sky and the bottom of the sea, driving with such ferocity that a major American city, New Orleans, followed its face into the water, George W. Bush was at North Island in Coronado, Calif., speaking to a blindingly white audience of 9,000 sailors in uniform.

[snip]

He barely seemed to understand there was a hurricane for the first three days. He was in Coronado, outside San Diego, and in his speech, he managed to mention New Orleans, by saying that people should not return to their homes until rescue crews could do their work.

Nobody had to be told not to return to their homes because they don’t have homes to return to, and no bus fare to go anywhere.

For a reminder of Bush’s performance during Hurricane Katrina, revisit the Katrina timeline. Note that the guitar photo-op took place on Tuesday, August 30, four days after Governor Kathleen Blanco declared a state of emergency in Louisiana, three after Governor Haley Barbour did the same for Mississippi, two days after Katrina was upgraded to category 5 and warnings about the levees’ vulnerability were reported, two days after the National Weather Service issued a special warning:

Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer. … At least one-half of well-constructed homes will have roof and wall failure. All gabled roofs will fail, leaving those homes severely damaged or destroyed. … Power outages will last for weeks. … Water shortages will make human suffering incredible by modern standards.”

The picture was taken more than 31 hours after Katrina made landfall, 30 hours after the White House was informed of the levee breach, 30 hours after Bush shared a birthday cake with Senator John McCain, 18 hours after he received a personal plea from Governor Blanco to intervene, 26 hours before he makes his first public remarks about New Orleans.

You can call me a partisan guttersnipe all you want, but the 2006 elections boil down to one question: who do you trust?

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  1. Want to go guttersnipe hunting? You hold the bag and I’ll chase them into it. Just wait there, hold the bag, and wait.




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