Novak Far Off the Reservation Without a Map

Run that whole theory by us once again of Robert Novak skipping and holding hands with Karl Rove every step he takes. Because the lizardly Sun-Times columnist takes the measure of how senior Bush officials spun the Katrina fiasco, and winds up sounding somewhere to the left of Norman Solomon:

Chertoff's miserable performance on the air [last Sunday on "Meet the Press"] reflected a fiasco at all levels of government. ''There'll be plenty of time,'' Chertoff told Russert, to ''do the after-action analysis.'' That bloodless dismissal made the human tragedy and physical mayhem on the Gulf Coast seem like a bureaucratic mistake. What Chertoff ''got down'' was the White House mantra, repeated endlessly, that the ''after-action analysis'' should not interfere with current recovery operations. It was similar to saying the Pearl Harbor attack should not have been investigated and nobody disciplined for failures until World War II was won. . . . Political deafness mixed with lawyerly evasion was shown on ''Meet the Press'' when Chertoff claimed the breaking of the New Orleans levees ''really caught everybody by surprise.'' Russert cited repeated forecasts of this disaster by the New Orleans Times-Picayune, but Chertoff insisted he did not say what he had just said.

Ouch. And the guy didn't even really get started on Michael Brown.

First, Get Rid of the Lawyers [Chicago Sun-Times]


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