Thursday, September 29, 2005

Blanco's free pass

There’s a sense of outrage at the Senate Finance Committee’s decision to give Louisiana Governor Blanco a free pass yesterday. Malkin and others are not particularly happy about it.

No questions on her feckless performance in the Katrina aftermath?

I look at it a different way. This whole episode is yet more evidence of Blanco’s incompetence, or the incompetence of her advisors, and how it affects other important players.

What was she thinking?

Blanco was originally scheduled to participate in the Senate Finance Committee with other Gulf Coast Governors by videoconference. After Michael Brown called her competence into question, Governor Blanco decided she needed to go to Washington personally respond to his scurrilous assault.

Arrangements were made and then – something happened.

Maybe a light bulb of sanity hit the Governor, and she came to the realization of a live appearance before a Senate Committee controlled by Republicans is NOT the friendliest place to make your defense in front of live television cameras.

I doubt that. If Blanco had the political savvy to recognize that, she wouldn’t have scheduled a personal appearance before the committee in the first place.

Most likely, two Republican Governors and a Republican Senator – who have some considerable political savvy – made a call.

They probably made several calls, in fact. Senator Lott and Governor Barbour are the ones who likely orchestrated the free pass. The event, presentations on rebuilding their states after the Katrina, was important for all of the Gulf Coast

Blanco was well on the path of turning a hearing designed to help the region into a “name calling, finger pointing, discourse on who was more incompetent.”

It would not have been helpful for the Republicans of the region for that sideshow to occur.

The courtesy of withholding questions was given NOT because Blanco asked. It was given because Republican Senator Trent Lott asked.

There are powerful Republicans suddenly politically tethered to a wacky Democrat, and there is little they can do but protect her from herself.