Michael Brown, the oft-maligned director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Bush administration, has a new gig: a talk radio host in Denver.
Brown shouldered a good portion of the blame of the previous administration's mishandling of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005.
His name was made famous when President George W. Bush told him "You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie."
But now, Brown may have a chance to put a different spin on his name. Radio station KOA in Denver has hired him to host a public affairs program.
Here is more from Denver Westword, a Denver news blog:
His goal is to provide "an objective point of view to talk about current issues, showing, 'Here's how things really work in Washington, behind the scenes."
The slot opened up last August, when "Gunny" Bob Newman resigned for what he said was a security-and-terrorism-related assignment in a country he declined to name. Since then, says Kris Olinger, who oversees AM programming for Clear Channel Denver, "we've been trying out a number of people -- and we just felt Michael had a great rapport with the audience. He's really very knowledgeable about what is going on and has solid opinions. Out of a list of really great candidates, he came to the top."
Regarding the notoriety Brown earned from his Katrina actions, Olinger says, "I think it's a definite positive. He has great insight into what happened in New Orleans and how government works. He takes responsibility where he needs to, but he's also pretty candid about other things that went wrong. I think people get the inside story from him."
Today, Brown feels he's able to share such information without being defensive.
"Immediately after Katrina, my first instinct was to fight," he admits. "But I had three very good advisers: my wife, my lawyer and my minister. And all three of them advised me very well. They said, 'Don't fight now. Let certain things run their course -- the congressional hearings, the media cycle. And after that, there will be a time when you can come out, be very objective and just say, "Here's what happened."'
"The hearings gave me that chance," he continues, "and so did interviews and speaking engagements around the world. And little by little, I was able to climb out of everything."
Running away and hiding was never an option, he stresses.
"People get beaten up and thrown under the bus all the time," he notes. "You've got the choice of letting the bus run over you three times, and wallowing in that, or getting up and moving. And my choice was to get up and keep moving."
Politically, Brown describes himself as "very clearly center-right, conservative, with a strong libertarian bent. But because I've worked as a lawyer most of my life, I understand there are two sides to every issue, so you have to be able to understand the other side."
He prides himself on not jumping to conclusions or dog-piling on whoever is being pilloried by the press on any given day.
"I've been loved and hated by the media," he maintains. "So when something comes up and everyone is saying, 'This is outrageous!,' what better person to be able to say, 'Let's wait a second and look at what else might be going on.'"