Former FEMA Head Michael Brown on Colbert Report

Michael Brown on Colbert ReportFor anyone who missed last night’s episode of the Colbert Report, Stephen has as a guest FEMA’s disgraced Michael Brown (link to torrent, interview starts at 13:20). I expected this douchebag to remain unapologetic and to keep up the spin that he was obviously competent, but just lacked the funds (right, because lack of money was why $100 million in ice was trucked all over the country). What I didn’t expect is how smug and smarmy this guy is in front of a camera, it’s baffling that he can just walk around saying he did his “dangdest” but boohoo for all them people because it’s someone else’s fault (the buck stops where?).

From the interview:

Stephen Colbert: Who is the person to blame? Because we have to blame one person. [audience laughter] Right? One person’s head has gotta roll… and yours won’t seem to lop off. [audience laughter] So… who is the one person we should blame? Do you blame Chertoff?
Michael Brown: I’d like to!
Colbert: Go ahead, let’s do it right here on this show.
Brown: Sure!
Colbert: Okay?! Well, why? Why is it Homeland Security’s problem?
Brown: Because Homeland Security has become too much of a bureaucracy, it’s too big, it’s not nimble, it can’t move fast enough. FEMA’s only 25 hundred people, we can move on a dime. [snaps fingers]
Colbert: And what dime were you standing on during the hurricane? [audience laughter]

And when pressed on his laughable credentials and cronyism:

Colbert: You were called a political crony… okay? Were you a political crony? [audience laughter] Crony just means friend, by the way.
Brown: Right, and I was a political appointee. So if an appointee is the same as a crony then i guess I was. But I went through the confirmation process, was approved by the Senate, um… had the experience for the job. [audience laughter] And just because my friend happened to be a friend of the president’s shouldn’t make me a crony.
Colbert: Now this experience for the job, are you talking about the horses? [audience laughter]
Brown: Well actually… yes.
Colbert: You are!
Brown: Yes.
Colbert: Horses can be a handful, right?
Brown: Horses asses can be an absolute handful, and that got me ready to work for Washington, work in Washington D.C.
Colbert: You got that criticism that you, ya know head of this Arabian Horse Guild or whatever it was called and now you’re running FEMA. Is that the truth?
Brown: That is the truth.
Colbert: So that’s your experience?
Brown: No that was just part of my experience. I have a 30-year career in public service. Part of which was serving for state and local governments doing emergency operation plans, building emergency operation centers and then serving as a lawyer for the Arabian Horse Association and then I came into FEMA as the attorney for FEMA. And then I worked my way up through the organization. The American way.

Brown’s “American way” must be to bullshit your way through life and take no responsibility for your failures later. I’m surprised Colbert didn’t call him on his bullshit straight to his face, as the interview is relatively tame and cordial.

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

  1. OMG! This buttmunch is criticizing Homeland Security for “becom[ing] too much of a bureaucracy”?!? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black…

  2. Brown: Horses asses can be an absolute handful, and that got me ready to work for Washington, work in Washington D.C.

    Well, I suppose it takes one to know one, or many.

  3. Unlike Jon Stewart’s interviews, I’ve never seen a Colbert interview that was supposed to be serious in any way. Nothing wrong with that, but it could be why Colbert didn’t grill him like Stewart certainly would.

  4. It was somebody who read a carwash bookrack book on getting ahead in “management”. Admit nothing and say nothing and eventually people get bored and move on. If they don’t care much about your job they will let you keep it since you probably will treat customers the same way and they will get bored with their complaints too and drop them. Wet lukewarm rag of time attrition.

  5. Brain, you’re nuts. John Stewart grill someone? Sure he’s been snappy on a few occations (including on Crossfire), but on average Stewart is a celbrity whore, where its Hollywood or DC. He basically lets them repeat their usual nonsense and then says hes honored to have them. The Daily Show talks a great talk, but rarely acts.

  6. What do you expect though? Colbert and Stewart are comedians, not journalists. We watch them to laugh, not to expect any serious debate on the issues. If your looking for a roasting, try Meet the Press

  7. I actually found Colbert’s sarcasm to be very effective in ‘grilling’ Michael Brown. Especially at the end of the interview, when Stephen concluded with “Heck of a job, Brownie,” alluding to the famous Bush line after Katrina. Brown obviously didn’t understand that he was the butt of a joke the whole interview, since the audience was obviously laughing AT him, not WITH him. I would like to see Jon give it to him, though, because he is much more willing to openly declare bullshit!