They were worried about partisan politics and how things might be "perceived" if they acted to respond to what was by then obviously a monumental crisis. Then there's this caveat in the anonymous quote: "unless the security situation made it completely clear that she was unable to effectively execute her command authority and that lawlessness was the inevitable result." Wasn't that completely clear to many at that point? The first responders were overwhelmed and these politicians were worrying about gender issues and partisan politics? Given the fact that thousands of lives were at stake, "perception" is not or surely should not be an issue. Nor should petty fights over jurisdiction or legal wrangling. Nor should the relative incompetence of governor Blanco. If she was incompetent, then that's all the more reason for Bush to have over-ruled her.
1 hour ago