Jane Hamsher has an interesting post here about the rehabilitation of Michael Brown (aka "Brownie"). Suddenly, Brown, who was the butt of endless jokes and the target of titanic contempt and derision, is a reborn truth-teller and almost a kind of hero to critics of the administration. (Who says there are no second acts? Nowadays it's just a matter of waiting a few months till you get your second act.) Jane links to this post in which Joe Gandelman offers Brown an apology for his earlier criticism; and Brown actually responds, accepting the apology and explaining his current position.
I don't think there's any use or reason to reconsider the conclusion that Brown was manifestly unqualified to be the head of the country's emergency management agency or that he found himself in that job because of his longtime friendship with Joe Allbaugh, one of the president's fixers. He was either guilty of or implicated in various other instances of ridiculousness. He was a poster-child for the administration's essential lack of interest in effective government, as an aim of public service distinct from consolidating political power and paying off political supporters out of the public fisc. Also, for us critics, to the extent there is a Brownie redemption afoot, it is in large part because the same guy many of us lambasted six months ago is now flattering our assumptions about how this administration works.
Still, in this and so many other cases, our assumptions, always based on a lot of factual evidence, are being borne out in spades. And Brown is coming forward with a decent amount of evidence that even if he wasn't the guy who should have had the job, and even if he made plenty of mistakes during Katrina, he wasn't just bumbling along unaware anything serious was happening. If inept and blameworthy himself he seems clearly to have understood the magnitude of the catastrophe that was afoot and took steps to deal with it.
He also is coming forward with what appears to be a decent paper trail showing he had some sense and gave warnings about FEMA's degradation and decline under the consolidated DHS. No one listen.
I can't see glorifying Michael Brown. He shouldn't have been in the job. He screwed up in a lot of different ways. He then carried the administration's water in trying to pin the blame on the locals, what must be a mortal sin in a FEMA Director. But he does get some credit for coming clean now and spilling at least some of the beans. And the beans he's spilled so far show that he's hardly the most blameworthy figure in the administration's shameful and pitiful response to the disaster that befell the Gulf Coast.