Where has all the leadership gone? That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo."
President Bush rallied the nation after the 9/11 (search) attacks, showing great leadership in removing the Taliban (search). The president also kept the country out of a recession by cutting taxes across the board, despite the tax cuts for the rich propaganda. This year federal tax revenues will be higher that any time during the Clinton administration, which you'll remember steadily raised taxes.
So, Mr. Bush built a first-term legacy on leadership, and that was reflected in his re-election, despite the chaos in Iraq.
But now the leadership question is in question.
Former FEMA (search) head Michael Brown (search) testified today in front of a congressional committee and basically defended FEMA's dismal performance in the days following Katrina. Brown is right to say Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin lost control, but in crisis situations, Americans looks to the feds for protection and leadership.
As most acknowledge, that leadership wasn't there during Katrina. Now we have a ballooning gas price situation that is directly hurting millions of Americans. So we asked Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman (search) to come on The Factor; we asked him months ago. He declined. He did, however, talk to Neil Cavuto and said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ENERGY SECRTARY SAMUEL BODMAN: The oil companies, in my judgment, have behaved very responsibly. They've done everything they can do to make product available. They have been dealing with some of the greatest natural disasters ever confronting our country, let alone this industry. And I think they've performed well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Now, Bodman could be right, but most Americans feel they're being gouged and the oil companies are taking advantage of the situation. Refinery prices have tripled in less than a year. And most Americans believe record profits the oil companies are making come from, as I said, a price gouge.
Now Mr. Bodman doesn't believe that. Obviously, he's on the side of the oil companies and he's basically standing on the sidelines while prices brutalize everyday Americans. Is that leadership? Bodman should have been on every program, explaining why in a time when many Americans are suffering, the few companies that do control the marketplace are rolling up profits?
Leadership is taking control of difficult situations and driving them to successful conclusions. Right now there are not many successful conclusions going on here in the USA. Times are tough. We need tough and effective leaders. Michael Brown? Samuel Bodman? You make the call.
And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
You may remember the case of Sylvia Johnson (search), pleaded guilty to sexual assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor after she allowed sex and booze parties at her house for her daughter and other high school kids. Johnson told the press she wanted to be a cool mom.
Anyway, the woman was supposed to be sentenced in Denver yesterday, but on the night before court, her car was in a serious accident. That's because she allowed a 14-year-old without a driver's license to drive the car. And she and three other kids were passengers. They were all hurt. They all went to the hospital.
Sentencing was postponed, but clearly Sylvia Johnson is a danger to children and must be separated from them now. To not do so would be ridiculous.
What does it take? What does it take?