In the past few days, the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, has been compared by some reporters to the poor government response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It seems to be an apt comparison due to the fact that the victims of both disasters are largely poor and black. Even Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, who has been heavily criticized for both his actions leading up to the lead contamination situation and his slow reaction to calls for help, has agreed that one could call it his Katrina.
Well, on Wednesday, the producers at MSNBC decided that it would be a great idea to bring on ex-FEMA director Michael Brown to talk about the crisis. Appearing on MSNBC Live with host Tamron Hall, the Bush Administration lackey who shit the bed during Katrina used the interview to whine about bureaucracy, deflect blame over his own response to a deadly disaster and essentially claim poor people aren’t smart or assertive enough to avert crises.
Early on in the interview, Brown kept saying that the whole reason that this disaster had gotten to this point was because of regulations, rules and red tape. Ignoring the fact that Snyder screwed over the city in order to save money and cut spending, Brown just kept pushing the small government mantra that actually caused the crisis in the first place.
This was followed up with more bullshit as Brownie blamed the media for not paying enough attention to this disaster in order to get politicians’ attention, seemingly unaware of the fact that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has been breathlessly covering this for more than a month while well-known figures like Michael Moore and Erin Brockovich have been shouting about it even longer. Y’know, you’d think if you were appearing on MSNBC, you wouldn’t try to pass off that bullshit, especially as they’re the ones who first started covering this nationally. (It should also be noted that back in 2005, Keith Olbermann was using his time to hammer Bush and Co. over Katrina while they sat on their asses.)
But, it was the end of the interview where Brown’s assholery really shined. Hall asked him if he thought the people of Flint and New Orleans were ignored due to being poor and black. Of course, he said that wasn’t the case and that the government wants to help everyone. The MSNBC host rephrased it a bit, asking if he believed an affluent community would have dealt with a crisis this long. Brown’s response was pretty unbelievable:
“No, I think the difference is this. I think in an affluent community you might have somebody that feels more emboldened to stand up and say, look, I’m not going to put up with this. And in the poorer communities, poor people are less likely to assert themselves. They’re less likely to scream and holler.”
In other words, they’re just too dumb to say or do anything, so they kinda deserve what’s happening to them. Tamron picked up on this vibe right away and rightfully pointed out that the people of Flint had been vocal about what was happening in their city and that it would appear they were ignored because they were poor. Ol’ Brownie just used that to pivot back to whining about big government and then, like a true shitheel, defended his shitty performance during Katrina, blaming other departments and people for his incompetence.
“And that may be — that may be absolutely true. And let’s just — let’s assume for a moment that that is true. If that’s the case, then that even strengthens my argument more about we need to give the bureaucracy more flexibility. Because you cannot convince me that there’s somebody within the bureaucracy that — look, in every group of people you will have people that are more influenced by one sector, or more so by another sector. But what you’ll never convince me of is that in every bureaucracy there’s not a civil servant that cares deeply about these issues, irrespective, regardless of what someone’s skin color is or what their bank account looks like. And so we’ve got to empower those people to somehow stand up and ring the alarm bell and protect them when they do so, because, look. The bottom line is, take me, for an example. If I had screamed from the mountaintop in the midst of Katrina that the Department of Defense wasn’t doing what I was asking them to do, or that Michael Chertoff was ignoring the requests that I was making, I probably would have been fired on the spot for not having, you know, toed the company line. But that’s my point about empowering civil servants to do what is right, and we don’t do that in this country.”
Yep, now as in 2005, Michael Brown is a real piece of shit.
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of MSNBC: