Bush needs to go John Wayne to get rebuilding of Gulf Coast going

There is a scene from "The West Wing" that speaks to what happens when a real leader says enough is enough and is moved to action.

The fictitious president, Josiah Bartlett, watches from a distance as the Teamsters and UPS try to reach a bargaining agreement, but nothing is happening. As he attends a state dinner, he calls them all to the White House. When he walks in, the bickering begins. After a few seconds, he essentially says, "Shut up. You guys have messed around, and I'm not going to have this nation paralyzed by your inaction. You're going to sit in this room until you figure it out. Now get to work. And when I return, I want to see an agreement."

Of course, this is easier said than done, and on television, everything gets solved during a one-hour show.

But the basic premise remains the same: When the president of the United States wants to step in and make something happen, he will. He is the most powerful person on the planet &

so what's the problem?

President Bush said he was going to appoint a czar over the Gulf Coast, and he often refers to Don Powell as being that guy, but Powell doesn't have the power to get the job done. In fact, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told me that Powell is having to use persuasive powers, as opposed to statutory power, to make it a reality. You can't cut through red tape if you don't have a big pair of scissors to do it.

So how do we make it happen?

Bush needs to stop the back-and-forth taking place and order New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Gov. Kathleen Blanco, the affected members of Congress, Powell, and other leaders in Mississippi and Alabama to come to Camp David, sit down, come up with a workable plan, and get it going.

He should say, "I don't care how long you guys sit in this room. I don't care how long it takes. But you are going to devise a clear and concise plan, and once you're done, we are going to go to the Rose Garden, hold a news conference for the rest of the world to hear it and get to work." If there are onerous rules that are getting in the way of progress, give Powell the power to change them.

If contractors are dragging their feet and doing shoddy work, fire them. Stick everyone responsible for recovery in one building and say: This is the nerve center, and all operations are being handled here.

It's pathetic being down here and listening to the finger pointing, backstabbing and accusations of ineptness on the part of the city, state and federal government. All I keep hearing is "We need a plan, we need a plan." Ask Mayor Ray Nagin's office, and they will say, "We've got a plan." Call the governor's office, and they will tell you there is a plan. But when you ask to see it, no one will seem to be able to come up with it. New Orleans has a plan on the city Web site that calls for $14 billion, but folks I talked to in the administration say that's not comprehensive enough. Bush says $114 billion has been allocated, but most of that focuses on the levees and not the rebuilding of infrastructure.

And of the money spent, spending is out of control &

waste is taking place at all levels, money was sent to the state that hasn't been spent, and the people who need the help, those who lost everything, sit in limbo.

Mr. President, you've been accused of being John Wayne. Well, act the part. Pull a John Wayne, and save the day.

The only thing that is going to move this ball along is forceful leadership. And the only person who can do it is President Bush. No more paralysis by analysis. The money to build will come from the federal government. The head of the federal government is the president.

If the president truly cared and wanted to end the bickering and inaction, he could make this happen. People are desperately waiting for someone ""anyone &

to step up.

President Bush, you're the commander in chief. Command the players to get to work. Today.

Roland S. Martin is an award-winning CNN contributor and the author of "Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith." Please visit his Web site at . To find out more about Roland S. Martin and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at .

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