Why do conservatives "play politics" with disaster relief?
From the blog The Cunning Realist (and a hat-tip to House Blender oddjob for posting the link in the comments), who describes himself as “A lifelong conservative with a strong independent streak, I am a late-30’s resident of New York City and an executive in the financial industry. I have a B.A., and an M.B.A. in International Business from Columbia University.”
….or, you go into a national catastrophe with the FEMA you have.
This is something one might expect to see in places like Lagos, Kinshasa, Mogadishu, Monrovia or Harare. And as tragic as it would be for people in those third-world cities, the failure of leadership would be expected. Governments there—to the extent they exist at all—don’t pretend to make promises they cannot keep, and their citizens know this from long and painful experience. That’s not the case here. What has happened in New Orleans and the surrounding areas is a betrayal.
In early 2001, FEMA warned about the top three most likely disasters to hit the United States: a terrorist attack on New York City, a hurricane hitting New Orleans, and an earthquake in San Francisco. The funding for FEMA and the New Orleans district of the Army Corps of Engineers was accordingly cut (HT to Josh Marshall here), a fate that befalls so many in and around the Bush administration who make nuisances of themselves by warning prophetically about something that eventually comes to pass. Two of those three disasters are now part of our recent history. And after both, we have endured the “no one could have predicted this” mendacity that in itself is predictable. If the last one happens, will we hear the same excuse?
Holding the administration and the government to account for this is not opportunistic political rhetoric. What has happened should deeply concern us all. How is it that four full years after 9/11—a period of time during which our overarching national priority should have been to upgrade and prepare for a domestic disaster on this scale—we are utterly hapless and helpless when one occurs?
I’ve said before that in this administration, carelessness and negligence wear the mask of faith. At what point does faith yield to reality? Will there ever be a moment of accountability? Or, as the president no doubt continues to tell himself, is that what the last election was all about?
“In this administration, carelessness and negligence wear the mask of faith.” Utterly brilliant. Thank my non-existent supreme deity that there are still some conservatives out there who believe in accountability.