Despite ongoing attacks from PACs and officials associated with the reelection efforts of President Barack Obama, Republican presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney chose to rise above the political fray.
Romney appeared at a disaster relief rally in Dayton (Ohio) on Tuesday morning, having changed the focus of the rally from a campaign event to an effort to help those affected by Sandy. Attendees were asked to bring relief items such as canned goods.
Numerous Obama-leaning websites attacked Romney as the storm pounded the Eastern coast; Vice-President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton did the same.
Democrats will be Democrats.
Less than 24 hours after the storm churned the coastline, the climate-change-global-warmist types were out. Apparently most of them haven’t read world history. Devastating storms are neither new nor confined to the era of manmade carbon emissions.
Obama seized the bully pulpit to address the nation as the storm progressed. Most states look first to governors and other state and local officials to handle disasters, however.
As first responders began to deal with the storm, the topic of the Federal Emergency Management Agency entered the blogosphere.
FEMA has long been controversial when it comes to crisis management. FEMA was created by blending a number of federal agencies into one by a Democrat, President Jimmy Carter, whose party has always seized a crisis with gusto.
Democrats used criticism of President George H. W. Bush’s response to Hurricane Andrew as a major negative during his reelection efforts. That tactic, along with Bush 41’s broken promise for “no new taxes,” helped derail his second term.
Democrats had attempted to do the same after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. That one failed, however, because President Ronald Reagan ably dealt with such foolishness.
Ironically, Democrats have fared no better in their own attempts to reorganize and make FEMA more effective. The Hoover Institution has a backgrounder on FEMA, pinpointing an issue that developed after 9/11. FEMA had originally been set up for different purposes than President George W. Bush directed it towards after 9/11.
One thing both Democrats and Republicans have in common has been an inability to control fraud or, for that matter, common sense when federal dollars are handed out. Americans saw that firsthand with fraud associated with Hurricane Katrina and the sheer idiocy occurring when people legally bought jewelry with federal funds.
The greatest lapse with Katrina occurred at the local and state levels when officials did not adequately evacuate the city or prepare for disaster ahead of time. Those officials were Democrats eager to place blame on a Republican president. Both the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana were completely incompetent in handling what they should have foreseen. Anyone who knows anything about New Orleans knew the city was vulnerable.
Fraud hasn’t just been relegated to disaster efforts associated with FEMA. Obama’s efforts after the BP oil spill sparked record levels of fraud as well, no surprise when the federal government is put in charge of handing out $20 billion dollars.
The federal government cannot provide accountability to the U.S. taxpayer on any program it manages, one reason FEMA critics have called for reform for decades under both Republican and Democrat administrations.
One resource we might make more use of—former members of the military. I’ve always wondered why we don’t have a special effort involving veterans who have been trained to deal with all manner of crises.
It also makes little sense to throw hundreds of billions of dollars at climate change government science-by-consensus instead of preparing for disasters Mother Nature will continue to levy on mere mortals.
With Sandy, Romney chose to rise above the vitriol and avoid attack campaigns during the aftermath of Sandy.
Romney’s opponent chose a different tactic, but Chicago being Chicago, Republicans are not surprised.
Sandy morphed from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
The Romney campaign has established a page with links to charities involved in relief efforts.
The Salvation Army also has a page devoted to relief efforts on Sandy.
FEMA has a number of links on the government site—Obama’s photo is currently on the home page as well.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Oct. 30, 2012)