Hurricane Sandy as liberal activist
The New York Times published a disgusting editorial called “A Big Storm Requires Big Government” on the eve of Hurricane Sandy’s arrival. The title pretty much says it all, but here’s a taste of how they explored the theme:
Disaster coordination is one of the most vital functions of “big government,” which is why Mitt Romney wants to eliminate it. At a Republican primary debate last year, Mr. Romney was asked whether emergency management was a function that should be returned to the states. He not only agreed, he went further.
“Absolutely,” he said. “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. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.” Mr. Romney not only believes that states acting independently can handle the response to a vast East Coast storm better than Washington, but that profit-making companies can do an even better job. He said it was “immoral” for the federal government to do all these things if it means increasing the debt.
That’s more spin and hot air than Hurricane Sandy was able to generate. Romney’s discussion of moving funding and responsibility to the state level is not equivalent to leaving Americans to die in hurricanes. And contrary to the breathless worship of the vulture statists at the New York Times, FEMA is actually a fairly modest agency that mostly disburses funds, not the kind of “situation room” where the President would go to watch a bloody outrage unfold in real-time and issue “stand down” orders.
As Brit Hume of Fox News put it via Twitter, “Citing FEMA as an example of the need for Big Government misses the point. FEMA is small. Most of the massive federal government is not needed in disaster relief.” (Expanded from Twitterese for clarity.)
By the way, here’s the full quote from Romney that somehow didn’t get past the numerous layers of rigorous editorial fact-checking at the Newspaper of Record: “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.” He was talking about the immorality of racking up titanic debts by funding all the stupid, wasteful Big Government programs the Times editors and their beloved Barack support, not the supposed immorality of funding disaster relief. He was making the point that you don’t have to borrow money to finance FEMA if you’re not blowing the taxpayers’ money on the next round of Solyndras. Shifting money and authority from Washington to state governments doesn’t mean carelessly leaving people to die in storms and floods.
Setting the fantasies of the New York Times aside, here’s what FEMA actually did during Hurricane Sandy, according to a report at Politico:
TV and radio are still the primary methods of getting information about Hurricane Sandy to the public, but social media are increasingly important to those efforts, FEMA chief Craig Fugate said Monday.
“With these types of storms, you get a lot of this is going to be carried out through the traditional TV and radio media,” Fugate told reporters on a conference call. “But we’re using a lot more social media, we’re using everything from Facebook to Twitter. I think there’s a higher degree of awareness that people have of the storm is coming and what the impacts are going to be.”
Fugate also talked up battery-operated or hand-cranked radios during interviews on morning news shows.
A call to FEMA’s news desk, however, found even they didn’t have any non-Internet information readily available beyond suggestions that people call 911 in an emergency. When asked where folks should turn for information if they have no power, a FEMA worker said, “Well, those people who have a laptop with a little battery life on it can try that way. Otherwise, you’re right.”
(Emphases mine.) That’s right – they were telling people trapped in a massive blackout to hit the Web for information, because FEMA had nothing useful to offer. Let’s hear it for Big Government!
The ghoulish opportunism of the New York Times is really just the latest variation on the tired old hostage-taking refuge of desperate statists: cut government bloat, and you’ll be pulling cops off the street, firefighters out of their trucks, and teachers out of classrooms. The first dollar of spending cuts always comes from “first responders” – they’re a thin line of muscle and bone that protects a trillion tons of Big Government flab. The defenders of Big Government insist that if their monstrous pet ever stops eating bon-bons, it will instantly die of starvation, and you’ll probably die with it.
It’s really not much different in principle from the way “global warming” activists frantically grabbed onto Hurricane Sandy as “proof” of their discredited theories. That’s what “science” is all about – ignoring mountains of data to gape in slack-jawed horror at an isolated weather incident and howl, “Sky gods angry! Sky gods punish those who doubt their power!” Likewise, statists are using a single moment of crisis to drown out every single criticism of a centralized government that borrows a trillion bucks a year to finance its $3.6 trillion spending habit. Only federal spending matters to the Left; if the central government spends money on something, it is “fixed,” otherwise it’s a crisis; anyone who interferes with the central government’s urges to “fix” various problems is motivated by callous indifference, or outright hatred of those whose lives are in need of “fixing.”
This is especially foolish considering the actual history of disaster relief in the United States, and the simple logic of local governments having more knowledge of their area, and experience at dealing with its problems. Living in a well-governed state has a lot more to do with efficient emergency management and disaster relief than any federal bureaucracy.
But as we all know, to quote Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel during his White House days, the Left hates to let a good crisis go to waste. High unemployment has been the hallmark of Obama’s term in office, but Hurricane Sandy immediately found work as a liberal activist and “global warming” cheerleader.