Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Jonathan Chait posts a persuasive argument explaining Why Democrats Are Right to Politicize Sandy

Funding for FEMA is something the parties wrangle over, with Republicans pushing to limit the agency’s budget, and Democrats pushing back. FEMA has to fight for its share of a constricted pot of money for domestic non-entitlement spending, a pot of money that the Republicans propose to radically constrict. How radically? Romney’s budget promises require shrinking domestic non-entitlement spending as a share of the economy by about two-thirds.
We should be a little careful with the language. I'm not seeing a lot of Democrats politicizing Sandy. I'm seeing a lot of Americans calling for common sense government that takes pragmatic steps to ensure the welfare of all of its citizens.

There is a choice in the 2012 election between a party that believes in this kind of cooperative effort and a party that wants to put a profit motive behind disaster response. Democrats generally believe that government is by and for the people of the United States to accomplish common goals. Republicans see government as something by other people and against their interests. Romney as a candidate said he would abolish federal emergency management and put it in the hands of security contractors. Romney as a governor vetoed funding for flood prevention.

The Republican party loudly complained that the government brought a halt to deep water oil exploration after the Deepwater Horizon blowout. Mitt Romney relied on oil company talking points during the second debate. When he claimed that oil production was down on 'federal lands,' the root talking point was that there was a drop in oil exploration in 2011 while the Administration finalized new rules to prevent repeating catastrophic failures. Romney has campaigned for the  last six years as the candidate who will put American corporate interests before the American people.

Romney said he doesn't support Federal emergency management, and implied it would be better handled if a profitable firm took over. The idea that Delaware or Louisiana even New Jersey should have to recover from a big storm without federal help is bad enough. The idea that they might contract out to Haliburton is terrifying.

It's no wonder that this sharp contrast between parties becomes evident when there is already a widespread mobilization of political forces before an unprecedented disaster. This is an historic storm. Republicans at large have been showing some awfully ambivalent attitudes toward FEMA and disaster aid this week, a sign of the tension between the tenets of the Republican Party and the need to avoid criticizing life saving operations.

No comments:

Post a Comment