He's been called an idiot, an incompetent and worse. The vilification of federal disaster chief Michael Brown, emerging as chief scapegoat for whatever went wrong in the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, has ratcheted into the stratosphere. Democratic members of Congress are taking numbers to call for his head.
"I would never have appointed such a person," said New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"Let's bring in someone who is a professional," urged Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.
A more visceral indictment came from closer to the calamity. Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish near New Orleans, said the bureaucracy "has murdered people in the greater New Orleans area."
... But the dim view of Brown's qualifications by senators seems to have emerged only in hindsight. Members of both parties seemed little troubled by his background at 2002 Senate hearings that led to his confirmation as deputy FEMA chief.
Indeed, Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, who led those hearings, called Brown's long-ago stint as assistant city manager in Edmond, Okla., a "particularly useful experience" because he had responsibility for local emergency services...