Something To Think About
"Think of the worst president in your lifetime (no need to specify your pick). Think of the worst president that you can imagine. Do you think that such a president should have the authority to take over a state simply because he believes the local authorities are being ineffective? I do not. Remember, the distinction here is between sending in federal resources in response to a request versus taking control of the situation by what is essentially armed force, which has been forbidden under these circumstances since after the Civil War. Furthermore, a President can't simply send in troops without a clear line of command, especially in a situation like this."
If you do believe that the Executive should have the power to invade states and supersede local authority on the basis that they were not doing a good enough job, where would you draw the line? Simply saying that lives are at stake is not good enough. Lives, many lives, are lost from traffic accidents, for example. Last year it was something like 40 or 50 thousand. Over the space of a decade it is very possible that an individual state could lose more lives to traffic accidents than to a storm such as Katrina. Should the president have the authority to demand at gunpoint that the locals change their traffic laws, eliminate traffic circles and lower speed limit.
There's more. It is quite possible that the feds could have taken over and evacuated more of the city before the storm hit, but to do so they would have needed to be in control of disaster planning. They would also have needed to have an infrastructure of shelters and resupply points set up in LA as a whole. To do that they would have had to be in control in LA months before to do what the locals weren't doing. Do you really believe that the federal government is going to be that much more effective than the locals all over the country? I don't. Furthermore, the effort to get significant help into the most devastated areas in other parts of the Gulf Coast took a similar length of time.
As a rule, righteous indignation is best served up with a bit of forethought.