Simple choices

Whom would you rather have in charge: Brown or Witt?

I don’t pretend to know all the rights and wrongs of the quarrel between the Louisian Governor’s Office and the White House over control of the post-Katrina relief effort, but if it’s a choice between having Michael “Helluva job Brownie” Brown running things and having Jamie Lee Witt running things, all I can say is: “Come on, ask me a hard one.”

Note that firing Brown — a step which Bush will no doubt get around to eventually — isn’t the same as putting someone competent in charge. The obvious people to stand in until a successor is confirmed are Brown’s own immeidate subordinates, and nothing about his record suggests that those subordinates are likely to be up to the job.

First-rate people hire first-rate people; second-rate people hire third-rate people. Heaven only knows what sort of people a creature like Brown might have hired.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: