Buried in the "Storm and Crisis" section of today's Times is a fascinating tick-tock by David E. Sanger detailing the process by which Michael Brown was relieved of his hurricane-related duties (though he remains, inexplicably, the head of FEMA).
Sanger's reporting suggests that the decision was a joint one by Dick Cheney and Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff.
What's remarkable about the article, though, is that it barely mentions the president, except to say that the decision to oust Brown was, after it was made, brought to Bush for his sign-off.
According to Sanger, "At the Oval Office meeting, the president also expressed support for Mr. Chertoff, said an aide, who paraphrased Mr. Bush as saying, 'I will support you in whatever decision you make.' On Saturday, several administration officials said it was unclear to them whether Mr. Bush's response had been intended to make it clear to Mr. Chertoff that he had finally understood the president's desires or whether the president was really leaving the decision to the cabinet secretary responsible for the relief effort."
Either way, it's clear that Bush wasn't the person initiating the move. And delegating responsibility about such a vital issue is just, well, irresponsible.
There's been talk before that Bush lives and works in a cocoon in which he's "protected" from bad news. The fact that he wasn't seriously involved in the decision to get rid of the disastrous Michael Brown is more evidence of our president's alarming disconnect from reality.