"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt
But there may be another reason the evacuation is going well: Texas is simply better prepared than was Louisiana. Its state government is richer and better-run. Its police are not so famously corrupt. The 1900 Galveston hurricane weighs heavily on historical memories; children learn about it in school. It may well turn out that this matters enormously: The ability of the federal government and private charity to help is, after all, constrained by the actions of local politicians. The best national emergency plans will almost always turn out to be those that have concentrated hardest on local politicians: cooperating with them, coordinating with them, even training them if necessary. No matter what the Texas coast looks like in a few days' time, Rita's other lesson may be that all emergency preparedness, like all politics, is ultimately local.