We come now to praise Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Everyone's doing it, even shrill partisans like Barbara Boxer, who lauded the governor's swift action in dealing with the California wildfires.
The contrast with Katrina is apt, although the disasters are different. When leadership was required in Louisiana, none was provided -- not from Ray Nagin, Kathleen Blanco or W. Bush's apologists say he doesn't like to "get in the way" of rescue workers, but Schwarzenegger has stayed on the ground throughout the disaster, reassuring citiizens that someone was in charge. That is an executive's job, after all.
An early critic of the state's fire response, Orange County fire chief Chip Prather, had nothing but accolades for Schwarzenegger on Wednesday.
His "personal attention" to firefighters battling the blazes "is inspiring — knowing the guy at the top is there with them," Prather said at a news conference near Los Angeles.
California's National Guard Commander Maj. Gen. William Wade extolled the "coordination and cooperation" in the Schwarzenegger-led effort. L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca said the fires were a reminder that "this state requires the gubernatorial leadership that you provide."
Accuse him of grandstanding if you want -- and as someone who despises catchphrases, I'd like to be critical -- but politicians are judged by results, and so far Schwarzenegger gets an "A" for the way he's handled this crisis. And if he continues to resist references to "The Terminator," I might up that grade to an A-plus.
*Poll of the day: In a three-person race for president, who would you vote for? Arnold, Hillbot or The Anchorman (Romney)? I assume you can guess who I'd select.