How is it that hurricanes keep whupping the GOP you-know-what? The score is 4-0.
In August of 1992 Hurricane Andrew devastated part of Florida, and George H.W. Bush sat in the White House and yawned. Two months later the American public tossed him out of office. No one bothered to poll about his bungling of Andrew relief, but the TV images of Florida's people frantic for water really bothered even the Republicans I live amongst.
His son Georgie didn't learn anything from his dad's being heartless and dumb. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, GW flew over the ruin of New Orleans in an airplane, gazing out the window while thousands of people suffered at the super-dome, some of them dying there. Brian Williams got in there with his NBC news truck, but GW couldn't get food and water to those people. Nor could he rescue the people trapped on roof tops or afloat clinging to pieces of wood. Instead he took time to commend the guy who messed everything up: "Good job, Brownie."
It was disgusting. As a result, GW plunged in the polls and never recovered. But that's small justice for the poor folks of New Orleans who had plunged into the flood waters and drowned. Nearly 2000 of them.
I had intended to make this a light-hearted piece, branching off at this point into the idiocy of the GOP tangling with Hurricane Gustav in 2008 and now Hurricane Isaac in 2012. But I can't. Once the images of Katrina and our federal government's massive failure arise, you can't be light-hearted.
If ever there was an answer to the GOP-TeaPs-Libertarian anti-government ranting, Katrina is it. Katrina is the dark outcome of Ayn Randomy. It is harsh reality smashing the sophomoric "philosophy" of the Paul Ryans and the "private enterprise" fixations of the Mitt Romneys. Katrina tells us why we need a federal government and why we need a decisive president. The man who issued the "kill Bin Laden" order is the man we want when all hell breaks loose. Not some jerk like the befuddled one who kept reading a child's book to second graders even after he had been told of a jet crashing into the World Trade Center. A jerk who then took off in an airplane to circle Nebraska for hours.
Nor do we want a man like Mitt Romney. He's a Republican, and Republicans despise government. (Except when there are government contracts up for grabs.) Long before the nut-jobs took over the entire GOP, the GOP hated government. They LOVE to shut down programs, love to reduce federal help, hate the federal government doing anything except starting unprovoked "preemptive" wars. (Plenty good contracts there!)
The federal government is US! It's We the People! It's our way of taking care of each other across a continent-wide country. Someone is in trouble 3000 miles away across the mountains and the valleys and the fields of waving grain? That's our neighbor! We couldn't all rush down to New Orleans in 2005, but when we saw the feds had failed our neighbors many of us did go. Sean Penn went and grabbed a boat and rescued people. The Church of the Brethern here in my area piled trucks full of necessities and set off to relieve the misery. Well, you remember the response. And you remember the gut-deep disappointment at GW and his version of the federal government.
GET THIS STRAIGHT! It wasn't just George W! It was Republicanism that failed the people of New Orleans. All of his management team was on the same page, the page that is entitled "Limited Federal Government". I've worked in government and I know. The management team follows the boss.
The post-Katrina Republican party has tried to curtail funding for NOAA. (Not the guy with the cubits.) NOAA is the federal agency that predicts weather, that predicts HURRICANES.
The GOP NEVER LEARNS! They didn't learn from Katrina. They haven't learned from FOUR hurricanes whupping their own personal a _ _. They haven't learned from GW's failed economic policies. They haven't learned from the horrors created by deregulation of the financial industry. They haven't learned diddly from all the snow and ice melting in the Arctic, from the droughts, the floods, the weird winters and the other sure markers of global warming. They didn't learn from the BP spill; Romney wants drill-baby-drill all up and down the East Coast!
Well, if four hurricanes can't teach them a lesson, then the answer is simple. We will have to. We will have to beat them this year or die. Literally die. Not right away but surely. We can't live without clean air and clean water. Without affordable medical care. Without disaster relief. Without inspection of our food. And our planet can't live unless the mindless rapaciousness of what's-good-for-big-oil is replaced by what is good for all of us.
It's up to us. And that skinny guy with the graying hair and the big smile. He's sure doing his part - beautifully.
Are you doing yours?
P.S. Paging, Mr. Romney. Paging, Mr. Romney. Please bring your tax returns to the public information desk immediately.