Mike Parker, the former head of the Army Corps of Engineers, was forced to resign in 2002 over budget disagreements with the White House. He clashed with Mitch Daniels, former director of the Office of Management and Budget, which sets the administration's annual budget goals.
"One time I took two pieces of steel into Mitch Daniels' office," Parker recalled. "They were exactly the same pieces of steel, except one had been under water in a Mississippi lock for 30 years, and the other was new. The first piece was completely corroded and falling apart because of a lack of funding. I said, 'Mitch, it doesn't matter if a terrorist blows the lock up or if it falls down because it disintegrates -- either way it's the same effect, and if we let it fall down, we have only ourselves to blame.' It made no impact on him whatsoever."
Daniels, now governor of Indiana, did not respond to a request for comment.
Parker -- who, along with members of his family, was forced to evacuate his Mississippi farm on Sunday night -- drew media attention (and the White House's ire) in 2002 by telling the Senate Budget Committee that a White House proposal to cut just over $2 billion from the Corps' $6 billion budget request would have a "negative impact" on the national interest. Parker also noted that cuts would mean the end of scores of contracts and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.
After Parker's Capitol Hill appearance, Daniels wrote an angry memo to President Bush, writing that Parker's testimony "reads badly. . . on the printed page," and that "Parker. . . [was] distancing [himself] actively from the administration." Parker, a former Republican congressman from Mississippi, was forced to resign shortly thereafter.
Did "The Blade" cut too deeply?
Commonplacebook.com sent out this article to the gayindy mailing list. It helps bring Mitch Daniels, current Indiana governor and former White House Budget Director, into the Hurricane Katrina picture.