It's only one small scale trajedy in the long litany, but the miscommunication that misled the families into thinking their loved ones had survived the Sago mine disaster has the usual fingerprints of the screwup President all over it. When Bush became President, he followed his usual procedure of appointing industry hacks and flacks to the Mine Safety and Health Agency instead of experienced professionals. Kevin Drum has this story from Ellen Smith, editor of Mine Safety and Health News:
In this case, MSHA sent down Dirk Fillpot from Labor Dept. headquarters. Although Fillpot is not to blame for the horrific miscommunication that led families to believe for three hours that their loved-ones were alive, he has absolutely no experience in dealing with mine disasters, unlike two highly qualified and seasoned press people — Rodney Brown and Amy Louviere — who sat back at MSHA headquarters in Arlington twiddling their thumbs. And who was in charge at headquarters? Suzy Bohnert — another person with absolutely no experience in dealing with mine disasters and the confusion that the situation brings, and who in fact, has given out incorrect information in the past due to her lack of knowledge of MSHA policies and past practices.
I cannot imagine that Amy or Rodney would have let this incorrect information go unanswered for so long. In the past, MSHA has stepped up to the plate when the company failed in communications during past disasters. It's time for the agency to recognize its role in this media and family nightmare.
Are the American people ever going to figure out that this guy is a career screwup who probably never would have made a dime if political connections hadn't allowed him to steal it?