Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Can I Politicize Hurricane Sandy Yet?

Here's the quote of the day:

The president has been all over this and he deserves great credit. I’ve been on the phone with him, like I said, yesterday, personally, three times. He gave me his number at the White House, told me to call him if I needed anything, and he absolutely means it. It’s been very good working with the president, and he and his administration have been coordinating with us great. It’s been wonderful.“
That quote brought to you Republican NewJersey Governor Chris Christie, whose state (my state) has been crushed by Hurricane Sandy. Major sections of the Jersey shore have been destroyed. I'm shocked at the devastation I see on the news reports on television.

Luckily, I was spared any damage or power outage. The storm made landfall about 90 minutes south of me, near Atlantic City (another destroyed city). I took a short walk around my neighborhood and couldn't go more than a couple of blocks without coming across downed trees, severed power lines and blocked streets.

But back to my point.

Kudos to Christie figuring out what's important and how crucial issues like federal disaster relief can be. I don't know if he was one of the Republican governors Mitt Romney called to offer advice*, you know because I suppose only Republican governors have been affected by the storm, but I wonder if Christie will have a come to Jesus moment at the voting booth next week. ... I doubt it.

Speaking of federal disaster relief, let's not forget, and really how can you at this point, that FEMA is in the crosshairs for Mitt Romney to gut if he's elected president. During a primary debate, Romney not only thought that disaster aid should be in the hands of the states, but went a step further and said that the private sector should be first in line for these types of situations.
Who knows what he's saying now, but last year, Mitt Romney said it was "immoral" for the government to borrow and spend money to pay for disaster relief
Importantly, he wasn't just talking about the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which some conservatives say is a horrible waste of money. He was talking about "disaster relief."... 
..."Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction," Romney told debate moderator John King. "And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. Instead of thinking, in the federal budget, what we should cut, we should ask the opposite question, what should we keep?” 
When John King interrupted to clarify, "Including disaster relief?" Romney continued, "We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all."
Sure! No federal relief for devastated states due to natural disasters. Let them fend for themselves since their coffers are always overflowing. And hell, while we're at it, it's the private, for-profit sector that should take care of the clean up and restoration of towns and cities that got washed away in the hurricane. Nothing like giving preference to the highest bidder when it comes to restoring essentials to survive. 

I really don't know what else to say about this except that we are witnessing, in live time, the differences between the two candidates in their response to the disaster we've seen here these last 36 hours. While President Obama admittedly has a bit of an advantage in actually being the president, he's suspended his campaign, continues to make sure help gets to ALL that need it, and is keeping in contact with state leaders regardless of political affiliation. Mitt Romney has "suspended his campaign" and decided to have "storm relief events" that look exactly the same as his campaign events.
Yesterday, the Republican team said it had canceled today's campaign event in Ohio. Mitt Romney was set to headline a "victory rally" at a specific venue in Dayton, alongside specific celebrity guests, but out of sensitivity, the event was scrapped. 
Instead, Romney will appear at the exact same venue at the exact same time with the exact same celebrity guests, but it will be billed as a "storm relief event." What about yesterday's promise about cancellations? A Republican official said Romney/Ryan hadn't broken its word because, technically, this is "not a campaign event per se." 
Hmm. The badge for today's "storm relief event" says "victory rally"; the sign on the door described the event as a "campaign rally"; they're playing the campaign warm-up songs for the audience; and before the "storm relief event" could begin, campaign officials showed the official campaign video on Romney's awesomeness.
But hey, it's not a campaign event if it we don't call it a campaign event, huh?

*Chris Christie was one of the governors that was called by Mitt Romney.

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