Posts Tagged New Jersey
Club for Growth will punish members voting for Sandy flood aid
By Erik Wasson - 01/04/13 09:57 AM ET
The conservative Club for Growth said Friday that it will punish House members who voted for a flood insurance measure aimed at helping pay for Hurricane Sandy’s damage.
The Club will “key-vote” the measure, using it to compile an annual rating for each lawmaker.
The House on Thursday morning approved the $9.7-billion increase in funding for the National Flood Insurance Program. The bill passed easily in a bipartisan 354-67 vote.
It needed a two-thirds vote of the House for approval since it was coming under suspension of rules procedures.
“Congress should not allow the federal government to be involved in the flood insurance industry in the first place, let alone expand the National Flood Insurance Program’s authority,” a statement from the Club’s Andy Roth said.
An NFIP reform bill was passed with bipartisan support in the last Congress, but some conservatives believe the program should be ended or slowly curtailed.
Supporters of NFIP say that the private marketplace will not offer flood protection to the public at affordable rates, making a government program necessary.
Flood policies are sold by private insurers who often package the policies with other home coverage. The 2012 NFIP reform bill was supported by the insurance industry.
The flood insurance bill, sponsored by New Jersey conservative Rep. Scott Garrett (R), is the first slice of Sandy aid being allowed to come to the floor in the new Congress.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has committed to allowing a $51 billion tranche to come to the floor when the House returns from recess the week after next. Boehner pulled a $60 billion (in total) bill from the floor late on New Year’s Day, provoking angry outbursts from Northeast lawmakers in his own party, who compared it to a stab in the back.
- Right Wing Group Will Punish Republicans Voting for Sandy Flood Aid (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- Club For Growth Will Punish Reps Who Vote For Sandy Aid (alan.com)
- Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – ” Hurricane Sandy Relief: A Flood of Hypocrisy (mbcalyn.com)
- What is wrong with the Republican Party – ‘Club for Growth will punish members voting for Sandy flood aid’ (thelastofthemillenniums.wordpress.com)
- House votes to expand borrowing authority for Sandy flood claims (nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com)
- More Businesses Seek Government Flood Insurance After Sandy: Marsh (insurancejournal.com)
- House passes $9.7B Sandy relief bill (cbsnews.com)
- Martin Bashir Busts Paul Ryan For Voting ‘No’ On Hurricane Sandy Aid But Yes On Midwest Flood Aid (mediaite.com)
- Sandy Victims in N.J., N.Y., Blast Delays in Flood Insurance Aid (insurancejournal.com)
- Sandy could drain the Sandy Insurance (insurancejournal.com)
EDITORIAL | DERELICTION OF DUTY
Hurricane Sandy Aid
Published: January 2, 2013
There is a lot of finger-pointing in Washington about who is responsible for the mess made of the so-called fiscal-cliff negotiations, but there is no doubt about who failed thousands of residents and businesses devastated by Hurricane Sandy and still waiting for help: Speaker John Boehner.
That’s not just our view. Ask Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Representative Peter King of New York, both dedicated Republican soldiers. Mr. Christie said there was “only one group to blame” for the money being delayed six times longer than relief for Hurricane Katrina: the Republican majority and Mr. Boehner personally.
In a joint statement, Mr. Christie and Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said: “When American citizens are in need, we come to their aid. That tradition was abandoned in the House last night.” Mr. Christie called the delay in aid “disappointing and disgusting.”
Mr. Boehner had promised to allow the House to vote this week on a $60.4 billion aid package that easily passed the Senate. But he reneged while trying to get out of the way of a final agreement on the fiscal cliff. Now the relief effort will have to begin again with the incoming Congress, and that means more time wasted and possibly less help for those who need it.
Whether Mr. Boehner can revive the Senate package in a few weeks, as now promised, is uncertain, because it’s not clear whether he actually leads the right-dominated Republican caucus anymore. House Republicans are now looking at a patchwork response, starting with a $9 billion down payment mostly for flood insurance. The rest, if it comes at all, would come in other measures.
It has been more than 66 days since Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York and New Jersey killing more than 130 people and causing an estimated $82 billion in damage. Within 10 days after Hurricane Katrina flooded the Gulf Coast in 2005, Washington agreed on more than $60 billion in aid with more to come.
Residents and political leaders in the areas hit hardest by Sandy are understandably outraged about the delay. Mr. King was right both in substance and tenor on Wednesday when he said: “These Republicans have no problem finding New York when they’re out raising millions of dollars.” Mr. King said Northeasterners should stop donating money to Republican lawmakers, who he said had “put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans.”
The $60.4 billion falls short of the original request by Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Christie, but it would at least make a good start. The Senate bill included money to reimburse local governments for overtime. There was $17 billion to help finance the rebuilding of homes and businesses that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would not cover. There was $11 billion for rebuilding and hardening the transportation system in the region, and more than $5 billion for flood control and shore strengthening projects.
The aid was overdue before Mr. Boehner tossed the Senate package aside on Tuesday.
- New Jersey Governor Calls Congress Failure To Vote On Hurricane Sandy Aid ‘Dereliction Of Duty’ (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- Boehner agrees to Sandy aid vote on Friday (cnsnews.com)
- Boehner agrees to Sandy aid vote on Friday (news.yahoo.com)
- Christie, Cuomo blast GOP House leadership for ‘inexcusable’ delay and ‘dereliction of duty’ on Hurricane Sandy (carloz.newsvine.com)
- Christie, Cuomo blast ‘inexcusable’ delay (thehill.com)
- Christie, Cuomo bash Sandy failure (politico.com)
- Christie: Boehner ignored multiple phone calls on Sandy relief funds (rawstory.com)
- House sets vote for Sandy aid after criticism (news.yahoo.com)
- House sets vote for Sandy aid after criticism (cnsnews.com)
- Boehner agrees to Sandy aid vote on Friday (swampland.time.com)
Newark Mayor Cory Booker to live on food stamp budget
By Annalyn KurtzNovember 21, 2012: 11:46 AM ET
Newark Mayor Cory Booker rescued a neighbor from a burning building, invited Hurricane Sandy victims to his home, and rushed to the aid of a pedestrian hit by a car. Now he’s going to live on a food stamp budget for a week in solidarity with Americans who feed their families on the government assistance program.
The mayor’s office has yet to announce the full details of his plan, but the budget should amount to about $4.44 a day for food, based on data from the United States Department of Agriculture.
As of fiscal year 2011, average monthly food stamp benefits in New Jersey totaled $133.26 per person.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton underwent the same experiment in September, on a budget of $4.16 a day and kept a daily journal on Facebook. Here’s part of his entry from Day 4.
So I’m surviving on an apple and handful of peanuts, and the coffee I took to the office until dinner. I’m tired, and it’s hard to focus. I can’t go buy a sandwich because that would be cheating – even the dollar menu at Taco Bell is cheating. You can’t use SNAP benefits at any restaurants, fast food or otherwise. I’m facing a long, hungry day and an even longer night getting dinner on the table, which requires making EVERYTHING from scratch on this budget. It’s only for a week, so I’ve got a decent attitude. If I were doing this with no end in sight, I probably wouldn’t be so pleasant.
Booker plans to live off the food stamp budget for a week, starting Tuesday, December 4, and he will document the experience on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. He signed on to the project after a back-and-forth conversation with Twitter user @MWadeNC.
The mayor is now using the Twitter hashtag #SNAPChallenge to promote the project, after the official name for food stamps — the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
- Newark Mayor Cory Booker to live on food stamp budget (economy.money.cnn.com)
- Newark Mayor Cory Booker to live on food stamp budget (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- Cory Booker to Live on Food Stamps (theroot.com)
- Just When You Think Cory Booker Couldn’t Be More Awesome (politicalsocialworker.wordpress.com)
- Newark Mayor Cory Booker To Live Off Food Stamps For A Week (praisedc.com)
- Cory Booker to Live Off Food Stamps (newser.com)
- Cory Booker to use Twitter dispute over food stamps to ‘dispel stereotypes’ (nj.com)
- Update: Just When You Think Cory Booker Couldn’t Be More Awesome (politicalsocialworker.wordpress.com)
- Cory Booker, And One Of His Twitter Followers, Plan To Live Off Food Stamps For A Week (mediaite.com)
- Newark Mayor Cory Booker To Live Off Food Stamps For A Week (newsone.com)
Romney: Obama’s Promise of Storm Aid Will Just Encourage More Storms
October 29, 2012
By Eric Hetvile
Mitt Romney complained yesterday that President Obama is clearly overstepping the powers assigned to the federal government by the United States Constitution, as the President promised forthcoming help in the face of Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the eastern seaboard.
“The Constitution says nothing about providing help to states for disaster relief,” said Romney. “He’s been on record as saying that ‘whatever help the governors need, they’ll have’ and that when people fall into harms way, they’ll be rescued. This is just bailout-crazy government mentality at its worst, wasting taxpayers investments and promising a lifeline. Don’t you know that when you help people ravaged by disaster, it just encourages more disasters? In fact, I think this was all caused by the President suggesting he was going to slow the rise of the oceans. He was just encouraging the oceans’ rise! Things probably would have been all right until he went and promised bailouts.”
“These are dangerous, storm-prone areas. The free market should decide how those places should operate. If you get washed away, maybe you can borrow some money from your parents. Or maybe pray a bit extra. Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts…and the others. They’re all way too close to water. I don’t know who decided to settle in those places. We should just let that real estate market bottom out, and allow new investors. I might even know a few. There are many other places that those people could live that are a bit more safe. How about Utah? No hurricanes there. Lots of great compounds, um neighborhoods to live in. Check it out. I think the fact that there are no hurricanes in Utah is no coincidence. You don’t see the government in Utah promising hurricane relief.”
Romney famously joked at the Republican National Convention that “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. MY promise … is to help you and your family,” Understood in that, of course, is that as long as rising sea waters are not involved.
- Romney Campaign, Karl Rove Framing Hurricane Sandy For Possible Election Day Defeat (huffingtonpost.com)
- Free Wood Post – People Are Really Hurting With the Stock Market Closed Again, Says Romney (mbcalyn.com)
- Obama Steps Up Hurricane Sandy Response Before Hitting Campaign Trail (huffingtonpost.com)
- Mitt Blows it on Sandy: Did the Hurricane Just Cost Him the Election? | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
- Hurricane Sandy Forces Mitt Romney To Eat His Words About Rising Oceans (inhabitat.com)
- Federal Disaster Relief Poll: Majority Supports Government Help In Times Of Crisis (huffingtonpost.com)
- Romney surrogate jokes about Hurricane Sandy flooding NYC (americablog.com)
- Romney Holds ‘Storm Relief Event’ – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Haley Barbour: After Hurricane Sandy, stop looking for politics – The Washington Post (mbcalyn.com)
- Carlson: Obama Promised To Lower The Level Of The Ocean And That Didn’t Prevent Superstorm Sandy (newshounds.us)
Federal Government Declares Donald Trump’s Hair A “Disaster Area”
November 2, 2012
The Obama Administration has, at the urging of New Jersey governor Chris Christie, officially declared Donald Trump’s hair a disaster area. Usually this sort of declaration must involve a committee and lengthy reviews, but based on the severity of the situation, both President Obama and Governor Christie agreed that they needed to put away their political differences and address the situation.
“The thing was bad enough as it was. But after Hurricane Sandy came through, there is just absolute devastation right there, ” said Christie. “I must commend President Obama for taking swift action so that something can be done immediately about that thing. I know there are a lot of amazing products on the market for this kind of clean up, but I think we’re going to need something from NASA maybe.”
“Governor Christie did the right thing contacting us about the designation, ” added Obama. “People could see something like that and there could be mass hysteria. We can’t afford that kind of panic right now. We have the best people immediately looking to tackle this thing before anyone else gets hurt.”
Additional requests have been made to declare the area below the hair and between the ears a disaster area as well. Further details as the story unfolds.
- Christie praises Obama, says he’s ‘not interested’ in surveying disaster area with Romney (tv.msnbc.com)
- Mark Cuban To Donald Trump: I’ll Give You $1M To Shave That Thing On Your Head (joemygod.blogspot.com)
- Chris Christie Praises Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Response, Scoffs Idea Of Mitt Romney NJ Visit (mediaite.com)
- Mark Cuban Promises $1 Million for Charity if Donald Trump Shaves Head (Video) (nesn.com)
- Donald Trump’s ‘Big’ Announcement About Obama (newsfeed.time.com)
- NJ Gov. Christie Praises Obama’s Response to Hurricane Sandy: “Outstanding” (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- Mark Cuban’s $1 Million Challenge: Donald Trump, You Game? (huffingtonpost.com)
- Mark Cuban offers Donald Trump one million dollars for charity to shave his head (offthebench.nbcsports.com)
- President Obama Declares Westchester, Rockland Counties A Major Disaster Area Due To Sandy (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Cartoon: Obama Comforts Storm Victim (englishblog.com)
Night-time View of Sandy’s Landfall
By Keith Cowing
Posted November 1, 2012 11:45 AM
Sandy Makes Landfall
As Hurricane Sandy made a historic landfall on the New Jersey coast during the night of Oct. 29, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on NASA/NOAA’s Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite captured this night-time view of the storm.
This image provided by University of Wisconsin-Madison is a composite of several satellite passes over North America taken 16 to18 hours before Sandy’s landfall.
The storm was captured by a special “day-night band,” which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals such as auroras, airglow, gas flares, city lights, fires and reflected moonlight. City lights in the south and mid-section of the United States are visible in the image.
William Straka, associate researcher at Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, explains that since there was a full moon there was the maximum illumination of the clouds.
“You can see that Sandy is pulling energy both from Canada as well as off in the eastern part of the Atlantic,” Straka said. “Typically forecasters use only the infrared bands at night to look at the structure of the storm. However, using images from the new day/night band sensor in addition to the thermal channels can provide a more complete and unique view of hurricanes at night.”
VIIRS is one of five instruments onboard Suomi NPP. The mission is the result of a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Department of Defense.
On Monday, Oct. 29, at 8 p.m. EDT, Hurricane Sandy made landfall 5 miles (10 km) south of Atlantic City, N.J., near 39 degrees 24 minutes north latitude and 74 degrees 30 minutes west longitude. At the time of landfall, Sandy’s maximum sustained winds were near 80 mph (130 kph) and it was moving to the west-northwest at 23 mph (37 kph). According to the National Hurricane Center, hurricane-force winds extended outward to 175 miles (280 km) from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extended 485 miles (780 km). Sandy’s minimum central pressure at the time of landfall was 946 millibars or 27.93 inches.
Suomi NPP was launched on Oct. 28, 2011, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. One year later, Suomi NPP has orbited Earth more than 5,000 times and begun returning images and data that provide critical weather and climate measurements of complex Earth systems.
Suomi NPP observes Earth’s surface twice every 24-hour day, once in daylight and once at night. NPP flies 512 miles (824 kilometers) above the surface in a polar orbit, circling the planet about 14 times a day. NPP sends its data once an orbit to the ground station in Svalbard, Norway, and continuously to local direct broadcast users.
For storm history, images and video of Hurricane Sandy, please visit the following websites:
- NASA/NOAA’s Suomi NPP captures night-time view of Sandy’s landfall (eurekalert.org)
- NASA/NOAA’s Suomi NPP captures night-time view of Sandy’s landfall (esciencenews.com)
- Night-time View of Sandy’s Landfall (spaceref.com)
- UW scientist play key role in forecasting Sandy (jsonline.com)
- Satellite Image: Hurricane Sandy Makes Landfall (yubanet.com)
- NASA/NOAA’s Suomi NPP captures night-time view of Sandy’s landfall (phys.org)
- Hurricane Sandy’s Menacing Size on Earth Revealed in Satellite Photos (space.com)
- Hurricane Sandy’s menacing size (mnn.com)
- Sandy makes landfall, becomes a Category 2 Hurricane (news.blogs.cnn.com)
- ‘Sandy’ makes landfall in New Jersey (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
Stop looking for politics in a disaster
By Haley Barbour, Published: November 1
Haley Barbour, a Republican, was governor of Mississippi from 2004 to 2012.
Having worked as governor with administrations of both parties on several natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, I am surprised — to the point of disbelief — at the reactions from both right and left that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has said favorable things about the Obama administration’s efforts in these early days after Hurricane Sandy.
At the same time, I find it interesting that many in the media act as though it is of great political import that Christie praises Obama for trying to help — when the same media organizations challenged and criticized me for not attacking the Bush administration in the early days after Katrina.
Christie is no doubt operating under the same thinking I learned from my old high school football coach: Praise in public; criticize in private. I knew that it would be unwise to nitpick the people with whom my state would be partnered for years, especially when those people did more right than wrong.
Because of the damage wrought by Sandy, New Jersey and the federal government will work together for years in the sheltering, cleanup, recovery and rebuilding efforts. Really, their working relationship has barely begun.
As governor, Christie’s first responsibility is to the 8.8 million residents of New Jersey. As of Wednesday, more than 2 million homes and businesses did not have electricity. Many people lacked running water. About 6,000 required shelter. While local utilities tirelessly work to restore service, with tremendous support from power companies around the country, New Jersey residents look to state and local governments for help with things they can’t do for themselves.
Federal disaster assistance under the Stafford Act largely comes later — especially during the rebuilding stages — and will continue for years, but Christie knows it would do his constituents a great disservice to poke his finger in the president’s eye.
In the early stages after a large-scale disaster, a president mostly encourages state and local leaders. But even in the first few days, the federal government can help with certain resources.
After Katrina, which is still the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, the Defense Department provided Mississippi with several major infusions of diesel fuel that were critical to keeping first-responder and security vehicles moving. It’s likely the Obama administration has provided otherwise unavailable resources to New Jersey and the other affected states.
The administration’s assistance in providing spot resources and cheerleading is rightly appreciated, but this is a small bit of the federal-state relationship that follows a disaster.
This week, the Obama administration suddenly acquired decision-making authority over many future events in New Jersey because of the incredible number of programs and projects provided under federal disaster assistance laws — authority the next administration will have as well.
Many decisions will have enormous financial consequences for the states and localities affected by Sandy. Will states be required to pay 25 percent, 10 percent, perhaps nothing, to help finance emergency response and cleanup? Later, will states and localities be required to pay 25 percent of rebuilding costs? How much, if any, deviation from what existed will be allowed when rebuilding structures and infrastructure if federal money is used?
I feel certain that Congress will treat the states significantly harmed by Sandy as lawmakers treated Mississippi — giving state government as much flexibility as possible to allow recovery and rebuilding to fit localities’ needs and future plans.
Still, even with maximum flexibility, the federal government, whether under President Obama or President Romney, will have tremendous administrative influence over an unimaginable number of decisions through myriad regulatory and financial processes.
Republicans worried that Christie saying anything favorable about Obama is politically disloyal need to remember that a governor’s first responsibility is to his or her state and its people. Those in the media looking to determine political winners and losers in this situation should stop. We Republicans ought to be proud of public officials who, like Christie, are faithful to the job they’re elected to do.
- Barbour ponders ‘residual’ effect on campaign from Sandy (politico.com)
- 78% Approve Of President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Response (addictinginfo.org)
- Miss. Governor Hits Perfect Intersection of Racism, Homoeroticism [Haley Barbour] (gawker.com)
- Haley Barbour: Mourdock’s rape remark “kinda crazy” (cbsnews.com)
- Haley Barbour “Would Love For Christie To Put A Hot Poker To Obama’s Butt” (alan.com)
- Odd politics as Obama, Christie tour storm damage (onlineathens.com)
- Akin targets Haley Barbour (politico.com)
- President Obama, Gov. Christie Show Unity On Hurricane Sandy-Ravaged Jersey Coast (woldcnews.com)
- Right-wing blasts Christie-Obama partnership (tv.msnbc.com)
- Redeeming FEMA: How the Agency has Been Strengthened Since Katrina (legalplanet.wordpress.com)
Jalopnik.com Updates: More Than A Dozen Fisker Karma Hybrids Caught Fire And Exploded In New Jersey Port After Sandy
Approximately 16 of the $100,000+ Fisker Karma extended-range luxury hybrids were parked in Port Newark, New Jersey last night when water from Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge apparently breached the port and submerged the vehicles. As Jalopnik has exclusively learned, the cars then caught fire and burned to the ground.
Our source tells us they were “first submerged in a storm surge and then caught fire, exploded.” This wouldn’t be the first time the vehicles, which use a small gasoline engine to charge batteries that provide energy to two electric motors, had an issue with sudden combustion.
The vehicle, despite only being in limited production, has already experienced numerous fires due to equipment failures and electrical shorts. How, exactly, they caught fire after being submerged in sea water is unclear. It’s possible the salt water caused a short that led to a fire.
Calls to Fisker and the Port Newark Container Terminal have not been returned as of publication time.
UPDATE: Fisker released the following statement:
“It was reported today that several Fisker Karmas were damaged by fire at the Port of Newark after being submerged in sea water during Superstorm Sandy. We can report that there were no injuries and none of the cars were being charged at the time.
We have confidence in the Fisker Karma and safety is our primary concern. While we intend to find the cause as quickly as possible, storm damage has restricted access to the port.
We will issue a further statement once the root cause has been determined.”
- 16 Fisker Karmas Caught Fire And Exploded During The Hurricane (businessinsider.com)
- Fisker Flambe At New Jersey Port Damages 16 Karmas (thetruthaboutcars.com)
- At Least 16 Fisker Karmas Drown, Catch Fire at New Jersey Port (wired.com)
- Report: Obama-Funded Fisker Hybrids Explode In New Jersey (redalexandriava.com)
- Fiskar Hybrids Get Bad Karma From Superstorm Sandy (tech.slashdot.org)
- Swamped Fisker Karma electric cars catch fire (oddonion.com)
- Sandy Carnage: Fisker Karmas Submerged In Salt Water Burn At Port (greencarreports.com)
- Report: Hurricane Sandy destroys 16 Fisker Karmas at port with water and fire (autoblog.com)
- Luxury lithium-powered cars burn to the ground during Hurricane Sandy (mining.com)
- Fisker Karma Is First Car To Burn Underwater (zerohedge.com)
Mitt Blows it on Sandy: Did the Hurricane Just Cost Him the Election?
Romney likens hurricane relief to cleaning up “rubbish and paper products” from a football field. Is he joking?
October 31, 2012 |
It’s become a platitude to say that no one should be playing politics with Hurricane Sandy, but that’s silly. When the performance of government suddenly becomes a literal matter of life and death to many Americans, we ought to be thinking about what kind of government we want to have, and that involves politics.
It’s impossible not to see that this storm has devastated Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy. The response to the hurricane has seemed like one long dramatic Obama campaign commercial, a lesson in “We’re all in this together,” while Romney, the man who said he’d dismantle FEMA, flails on the sidelines.
Romney’s “relief” event outside of Dayton, Ohio, was surreal enough to be a campaign parody, with the candidate comparing the federal government’s hurricane relief efforts to the time he and some friends had to clean up a football field strewn with “rubbish and paper products.” It was supposed to be a parable of how Republicans handle disaster – with private charity, not government intervention – as Romney told his audience, “It’s part of the American spirit, the American way, to give to people in need.” The Republican went on to talk about the time some Hurricane Katrina survivors were rerouted from Houston to Cape Cod and the good people of Cape Cod responded by donating food and, yes, television sets.
Of course, as Alex Seitz-Wald writes, the Red Cross and other private charities are discouraging the donation of goods, preferring that kind Americans donate funds that can be used where they’re needed, not goods that must be sorted and distributed and may not even be necessary (television sets?).
Romney promised to put the goods on a truck to where they’re needed, “I think New Jersey,” he said.
That was a funny choice. Maybe it had to do with the fact that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has all but endorsed Obama in the last two days, repeatedly praising his “leadership.” He told the crew on “Morning Joe” that “It’s been very good working with the president. He and his administration have been coordinating with us. It’s been wonderful.” He told “Today” that FEMA’s response has been “excellent,” and he’s repeatedly tweeted his thanks to the president.
OK, let’s be honest: The New Jersey governor has not been Mitt Romney’s most loyal foot soldier. He was quick to join the calls for Romney to release his tax returns earlier this year, and his keynote speech in Tampa was more like a Christie 2016 campaign kickoff than a tribute to Romney. There’s obviously a heavy element of self-interest in Christie’s response. His approval as governor hinges on how he handles the storm, and so do his presidential aspirations. He’s got a huge incentive to work well with the president. He’s also got some incentive to stick a shiv in the flailing Republican contender, since a Romney loss would clear the way for a Christie 2016 bid as well. He’s clearly playing politics here.
But really, outside of Romney’s embarrassing European tour this summer, when he insulted Britain over Olympics planning and divulged a secret briefing by MI6, this is Romney’s worst moment yet. As the storm approached, political reporters dredged up his pledge to “absolutely” restructure FEMA to give power to the states. At a Republican debate in June 2011, he suggested the private sector should do more, because federal spending even on FEMA was “jeopardizing the future of our kids.” Tell that to the kids of New Jersey, Gov. Romney. And of course the Ryan budget would slash funding for FEMA.
After Romney’s laughable relief event Tuesday, reporters swarmed him to ask if he still favors sending FEMA funding and responsibility back to the states. From the Romney pool report:
“Gov are you going to eliminate FEMA?” a print pooler shouted, receiving no response.
Wires reporters asked more questions about FEMA that were ignored.
Romney kept coming over near pool to pick up more water. He ignored these questions:
“Gov are you going to see some storm damage?”
“Gov has [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie invited you to come survey storm damage?”
“Gov you’ve been asked 14 times, why are you refusing to answer the question?”
Romney won’t answer because he can’t. We saw him pivot to the center, to become the white Barack Obama, in the three debates, as he realized his unpopular policies and his contempt for 47 percent of the country was dooming his presidential bid. He’s got no standing now to talk about how he’d handle this disaster. The heroes of Sandy, so far, are the first responders, the cops and firefighters and emergency technicians, the folks evacuating patients from hospitals and trapped citizens from flooding. These are the people who’ve been demonized by Republicans for the last two years: the public workers who have become the new “welfare queens.” When Obama pushed a jobs bill that would have helped states and cities avoid laying off such workers, GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell derided it as a “bailout,” and Paul Ryan, of course, voted against it.
To top it all off, George W. Bush’s laughable FEMA director, “Heck of a job, Brownie” Michael Brown, is criticizing Obama for reacting too quickly to Sandy. Are Democrats paying Brown to remind voters of the contrast between Obama’s quiet competence and Bush’s disastrous handling of Katrina?
As I write, the president is arriving at a Red Cross site to ask Americans for donations. Chris Christie, meanwhile, has rebuffed Romney’s offer to visit New Jersey’s devastated shore. (Politics aside: Really, what could Romney offer?) I can’t be sure whether or how much disaster relief will matter to swing state voters outside of the hurricane zone, but I am stranded (on a blue island) in the swing state of Wisconsin, where people are tuned in to the storm and the government response. No one can be reassured by Romney’s empty posturing. Unless there is some government-abetted or neglected further disaster, I think Obama will be reelected next Tuesday. Hurricane Sandy has reminded us what’s at stake.
- Mitt Blows it on Sandy: Did the Hurricane Just Cost Him the Election? (alternet.org)
- Mitt Romney, the hollow man (salon.com)
- Mitt Romney Refuses To Talk About FEMA After Hurricane Sandy Event (huffingtonpost.com)
- Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator, Responds To Michael Brown: ‘Better To Be Fast Than To Be Late’ (huffingtonpost.com)
- Romney’s Idea of ” Helping Your Neighbors” (desertdogmeh.wordpress.com)
- As Hurricane Sandy Strikes, Mitt Romney Wants to Drastically Cut Federal Disaster Relief (theageofblasphemy.wordpress.com)
- Who’s ‘Winning’ the Hurricane? By Mobutu Sese… (updates.gawker.com)
- FEMA: Did Mitt Call for its Abolition? And Why Does Barack Want to Cut Its Funding? (reason.com)
- Mitt Romney Deliberately Impedes Hurricane Response (theageofblasphemy.wordpress.com)
- Mitchell Bard: One Lesson From Sandy: We Can’t Afford to Have a President Who Irrationally Hates Government (huffingtonpost.com)