Just horsin' around

The head of FEMA couldn't cut it with the International Arabian Horse Association.

Published September 4, 2005 11:21PM (EDT)

Salon editorial fellow looks at a curious omission from FEMA chief Mike Brown's curriculum vitae.

Nowhere on the official biography for Mike Brown, the embattled head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, does it mention the 11 years he spent as commissioner of judges and stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association. But he was there, alright. And, according to the Boston Herald, a spate of lawsuits stemming from a series of "alleged supervision failures" led to his being asked to resign.

Browns competence has been called into question, to put it mildly, following FEMAs abject bungling of the emergency relief efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. On Saturday, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd called him a "blithering idiot." Now it appears that, before failing to wrangle together a swift and effective response to Hurricane Katrina, he couldnt handle the responsibilities of overseeing an organization devoted to breeding and showing Arabian horses.

To say that Brown is utterly unqualified to be the head of FEMA would be an overstatement. He served as deputy director from 2001-2003, where he gained some on-the-job experience. And dont discount the wisdom he garnered as a city councilman in Edmond, Okla., and as an assistant city manager with emergency services oversight.

But 11 years with the Arabian Horse Association, which an association spokeswoman told the Herald was a full-time job: thats a pretty big gap to leave in ones resume. No doubt none of this matters to President Bush, who would surely reward his pal "Brownie" with a medal if he could. But to Karl Rove and the rest of the presidents political team, the logic of sacrificing Brown for the sake of the administration may be too persuasive to ignore. Might be time for Brownie to update that resume.

By Aaron Kinney

Aaron Kinney is a writer in San Francisco. He has a blog.

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