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More Government Needed?

Rush Limbaugh (search) said something this week about the disaster in New Orleans (search) and along the Gulf Coast that I have not heard anywhere else. He said maybe it is government and bureaucracy that are the real problem.

Example No. 1: The Washington Examiner reported on Wednesday that FEMA Director Michael Brown (search) waited hours after the hurricane struck before proposing to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that at least 1,000 workers be sent into the region. Brown gave them two days to get there.

Example No. 2: New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (search) says he met a week ago Friday with President Bush and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco. He says the president offered immediate federal help evacuating people from New Orleans, but Governor Blanco said she needed 24 hours to make up her mind. The delay surely cost many lives.

Example No. 3: The City of New Orleans has an evacuation plan, but it was never implemented. It's posted on a Web page. Read it for yourself. Google "City of New Orleans Evacuation Plan." There were school buses and city buses that could have been used to evacuate people who had no personal transportation. They were left in parking lots, which became flooded.

The worse thing the federal government could do is to increase the size, reach and cost of government. If government failed in its response to the hurricane, the answer is not more inefficient government. The answer is only the amount of government that is needed. Put the rest in private hands.

Democrats and the media had better be careful when they call for an investigation. The mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana are Democrats. The mayor says the governor blew it.

Democrats may not want to travel too far down the investigation road if their motive is to hurt the president. Polls say the public mostly does not blame President Bush.

And that's Column One for this week.

What do you think? Send your responses to: afterhours@foxnews.com.

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Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.