Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Brings an October Surprise

by Nomad

n a rather surprising show of solidarity, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has been bashing President Obama for the last year on his lack of leadership- did an about-face after his state was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. 

Christie called the level of cooperation between the local, state and federal governments "excellent" and praised President Obama's involvement. "I was on the phone for the third time yesterday, last night, with the president of the United States. He called me at midnight last night as he was seeing reports," he said before adding that President Obama accelerated the designation of New Jersey as a major disaster area "without the usual red tape."

"The cooperation has been great with FEMA here on the ground and the cooperation from the president of the United States has been outstanding. He deserves great credit," Christie added.
Meanwhile Jay Carney, spokesman for the White House, gave this assessment of the relief efforts:
"When disaster strikes, Americans suffer -- not Democrats, not independents, not Republicans -- Americans suffer. And then we come together and put politics aside to make sure that those Americans get the assistance that they need."
With a week left before the election, Obama  canceled campaign trips planned for Tuesday and Wednesday to stay in Washington and supervise storm recovery. On Wednesday, Obama is scheduled to visit New Jersey, and is expected to return to campaigning on Thursday.

Meanwhile Republican nominee Mitt Romney used the hurricane relief effort in the most cynical opportunistic way possible. Romney, after ignoring the Red Cross' statements, forced the disaster aid organization to accept canned goods, blankets, and water from a campaign rally masquerading as a relief event. Although the event was supposed to be bi-partisan, evidence shows that it was nothing of the kind. 

Processing and warehousing this unnecessary "help" will divert Red Cross staff and add to cost of assistance. (All clothing and blankets will have to be washed, for example, and all of the things will have to be transported to the areas.) 

The organization states on its web site that donations in the form of cash would be much easier to manage and would travel far easy.

Unfortunately, due to logistical constraints the Red Cross does not accept or solicit individual donations or collections of items. Items such as collected food, used clothing and shoes must be sorted, cleaned, repackaged and transported which impedes the valuable resources of money, time, and personnel.

It is quite clear that Romney isn't really interested in helping anybody but Mitt Romney.

But that's not all. Reportedly he has requested that donations go only to "victims of Hurricane Sandy in swing states that the GOP candidate has a chance of winning: Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania — not the two areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy: New Jersey and New York."

During the Republican primary debates last year, Romney made it quite clear how he stood with FEMA. He wanted to shut the agency down, and outsource the efforts to states and, even better, to private industry. Never mind we have seen how this played out with Hurricane Katrina.

In light of Hurricane Sandy, Romney has refused to comment on his past FEMA remarks. His campaign staff have attempted to contain the damage by saying that Romney would not actually abolish the Federal Emergency Management Agency and that what he really meant was he wanted to give states first call how they wanted to spend Federal funds.
“Gov. Romney wants to ensure states, who are the first responders and are in the best position to aid impacted individuals and communities, have the resources and assistance they need to cope with natural disasters,”
Of course that's not really what he said in the past. He talked about the full privatization of FEMA. Now it is clear Romney thinks that the best policy in the last week is  simply not to answer any questions and hope voters will forget what he has already said. 

Once again, it seems the differences between the two candidates has been exposed. 
Updated with photo

Here's another interesting article you might like:
The REAL Reason Why Republicans Want To Abolish FEMA: So They Can Profit From Natural Disasters