26 October 2007

Are you sad about the fires, Admiral?

Smoove. We've gotten a lot better at managing our federal emergencies. No more pesky questions. Too busy to coordinate or help out, but not too busy to put on daddy's fedora and mommy's pearls and play a little game of Newspaper Reporter. Tuesday in DC, FEMA held a press conference on fifteen minutes notice. Shocked that no one could make it during lunchtime traffic inside the Beltway to the "impromptu" tĂȘte-a-journos, FEMA drafted some of its own best and brightest to ask the tough questions. Like explaining "what it means to have an emergency declaration as opposed to a major disaster declaration" signed by the President.

Watch out there, Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson! That fastball almost caught your chin!

"I'm very happy with FEMA's response so far," Johnson said, hailing "a very smoothly, very efficiently performing team."

"And so I think what you're really seeing here is the benefit of experience, the benefit of good leadership and the benefit of good partnership," Johnson said, "none of which were present in Katrina." (Wasn't Michael Chertoff DHS chief then?) Very smooth, very professional. But something didn't seem right. The reporters were lobbing too many softballs. No one asked about trailers with formaldehyde for those made homeless by the fires. And the media seemed to be giving Johnson all day to wax on and on about FEMA's greatness.
The West Wing took notes. Expect Dana Perino's mom to ask about her bridesmaid's dresses at the next WH Press Conference.