The GOP and Disasters – beyond Tampa
From The Nation: GOP’s Concern for Disaster Preparedness Doesn’t Extend Beyond Tampa. 8/27/12. Excerpts follow:
When the edge of Hurricane Isaac brushes Tampa Bay today, the Republicans gathered here for the national convention will be ready—events have been canceled, speakers reshuffled and the convention staff “is working around-the-clock to ensure the delegations housed in storm-impacted areas have alternative housing if needed.”
*** the party is clearly sensitive to evocations of Hurricane Katrina, which top Bush advisers viewed as “the final nail in the coffin” for the Bush-era GOP after the administration failed to respond properly. * * * So Republicans are willing to sacrifice their carefully planned itinerary in the name of appearing responsive and sensitive to the impact of major storms.
***Since assuming control of the House, Republicans have consistently played dangerous politics with disaster relief funds and slashed the budgets of storm monitoring agencies, thereby executing the same small-government-at-all-costs mentality that led to widespread destruction in New Orleans. *** last summer … Congressional Republicans threatened to withhold disaster relief funds if offsetting cuts were not made elsewhere in the federal budget. Republicans have also continued to starve the Federal Emergency Management Agency of the money it needs to respond to natural disasters. It held FEMA hostage to the same budget battles last summer, withholding money until cuts were made elsewhere. ***