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Where's George?:
I think the question for the government response to Katrina is not so much "Where's Rudy?," as Todd asks below, but rather, "Where's George?" Rudy Giuliani was an effective leader post-9/11 in part because he assumed control and understood the gravity of the situation. Giuliani was direct, realistic, and 100% focused on the problem, and as the longtime Mayor of the devastated area he was uniquely situated to understand the scope of it.

  The devastation of Katrina looks like it is on a larger scale than the devastation of the 9/11 attacks. My sense from news reports is that we're talking about an entire region of the country that is devastated, including a major city lost, at least for now. Plus we're dealing with a problem that is gradually getting worse over a period of days, whereas in the case of 9/11 the incredible devastation occurred quickly and left a problem of response and cleanup. (This is not to minimize 9/11, of course, but rather to point out that the immediate challenge for government here is different, and in many senses more difficult.)

  I'm no expert in crisis response, and I don't have any special skills when it comes to putting my finger in the air and getting a sense of the national psyche. But my sense is that given the scale of the crisis, there is really only one person who can take command and be the new Rudy: the President of the United States. And at least so far, President Bush isn't measuring up. The American people want someone who is going to go down to New Orleans and take command and responsibility on the ground, not someone who is going to take an aerial tour of the disaster or have a press conference.
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