Non-Partisan Katrina Report Card
Republicans have been eager to point out New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin's failings, along with those of Louisiana governor Blanco. Democrats have been eager to point out the failings of FEMA chief Brown and especially President Bush.
Guess what? The Republicans and Democrats are correct. All of these parties failed somewhere along the line.
The best analysis I have seen so far is on RealClearPolitics.com. They cut through the partisan red herrings and lay blame where it belongs- everywhere.
Tom Bevan's conclusions:
Having said that, it's worth noting that even a more competent, experienced FEMA director wouldn't have been able to stop the flooding or most likely to have foreseen the widespread looting and violence that followed and caused such havoc with rescue efforts. In fact, short of President Bush stepping in an using executive powers to order the National Guard to forcibly evacuate New Orleans (something I'm not sure is possible), a perfectly executed post-hurricane relief plan under the circumstances in New Orleans would have sped things up by maybe 24 hours. That's a lot of time in a crisis relief situation and certainly would have saved a few lives, but I'm not sure it would have drastically changed the dynamics of what we saw unfolding in New Orleans last week.
Katrina really was a perfect storm in that she struck a city that was extremely vulnerable to flooding; a city with significant crime, drug, and poverty issues that was effectively rendered lawless for three days causing a complete social breakdown, and a city (and state) government with a long and notorious tradition for corruption and incompetence. All of the tragedy resulting from these things was compounded by a less than perfect response by FEMA.