Thursday, December 15, 2005

Post-Katrina and gender--a hypothetical case to ponder

After Hurricane Katrina came through, there was a massive and highly successful smear campaign to discredit Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, who--though she certainly didn't do everything right--actually did a creditable job of handling the crisis. Karl Rove's mark was everywhere, as the news media rushed to report "news" that Blanco had waited to declare an emergency (false), waited to ask for federal help (false), waited to ask FEMA (as if someone should need to ask them) to bring in buses (false), did not ask for a variety of communications and rescue equipment (false).

Once the records were out for everyone to see, some Republicans continued to spread the lies, even spreading them on the floor of Congress, and even spreading them in her presence.

Now, however, apparently feeling a bit uncomfortable with evidence of all of the governor's requests and actions in front of them, along with all of FEMA's failure to deliver evidence in front of them, the bash-Blanco crowd has taken a new approach. The governor's failure has now been distilled into this issue: She wasted precious time haggering with George W. Bush over whether the federal government or the state would be in control of the troops in Louisiana. (Neither would give in, and Blanco maintained control of state troops, while Bush's people maintained control of federal troops.)

I am not going to make a judgment here about whether Blanco did the right thing, but here is something to think about: If the governor of Louisiana had been a man, and he had stood up to Bush and said "This is my state and the troops will be under my control," would he he have been as roundly criticized, or would people have either not gone there at all, or said "He stood up for us, he's tough--he wouldn't stand for the feds trying to run things."?


I've been wondering this too.

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