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« As seen online! | Main | Rising tide »

Oct 30, 2012


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On Romney's part, this seems an exercise in sacrificing the welfare of others to uphold his own principles.


I don't believe it is a choice of one or the other. Big government or state government.

And I don't think Romney framed his comments in that way.

You do, though.


"You do, though."

Imagine that!

It's just another attempt to politicize yet another natural disaster, something that's standard operating procedure on a blog like this.

Conveniently, it also provides an excuse to divert political attention away from the real political situation that needs to be discussed.


Reading for comprehension, it would appear the blog author can posit anything he wants to on his blog. The internet is a big place -- I think the subways out of Whinerville are still running.


Not to mention that polifrog puts the words in Ed's mouth he wants to argue against (big government vs. state government, whatever that means) so he can dispute his own straw man.

formerly gt

So, what is FEMA's budget? What resources are they responsible for marshaling? security - no that's the govs and the guard. power restoration? or is that the power companies that do that? aftermath - housing? google FEMA horror stories.

perhaps its the sort of thing that you'd think should be centralized, but how is it actually working? please make a case for the job that FEMA is doing - not the concept of a FEMA.

seems like Christie's major concern was getting the tap from washington flowing. no?


"Not to mention that polifrog puts the words in Ed's mouth he wants to argue against (big government vs. state government, whatever that means) so he can dispute his own straw man."

However, we WILL mention that your reading comprehension skills usually tend to the most convenient wrong interpretation you can find.


In Bubba's warped view, Benghazi > Sandy.


Surprising that all the do gooders are on here arm chair quarter backing instead of being in Virginia or Maryland helping there fellow Americans. Typical Hypocrites.


"In Bubba's warped view, Benghazi > Sandy. "

If your counting bodies then Sandy wins.

If your counting deaths resulting from suspected treason, Benghazi wins.



David Wharton

As a believer in subsidiarity, Romney's view seems right to me in principle: the states should handle as much as they can, and depend on federal aid only to the extent necessary.

FEMA can be very inefficient in delivering aid. You can say, well that was under Bush, and he didn't like black people. Well, if you believe that, that's an argument for distributing control away from the feds, isn't it? It's a lot easier to hold state and local officials accountable for you state's disaster than it is to unseat a President.

Andrew Brod

I agree that FEMA's inefficiencies under Bush 43 were not because he allegedly hated black people. But Bush was of the opinion that government is usually the problem rather than the solution, and he ran FEMA as if to prove his point. Remember Brownie? It was all the more striking given how well FEMA was run under Bush's predecessor.

Now we have another president who appears to think that government plays an essential role during natural disasters. As Ed notes, at least one major Republican figure thinks Obama's FEMA has done a good job so far.

There is ample justification for nationalizing disaster relief, and it comes down to self-insurance. You want a big pool from which to draw resources for relief. If North Carolina were to be hit hard with a hurricane, our state government's resources would be strained by the disaster in a way that the federal government's would not.

David Wharton

Andrew, you know of course that NC and other coastal states are hit hard by hurricanes all the time. And FEMA encourages free riders who make a ton of money on unwise real estate investments that are backstopped by federal aid. To me, this is an argument against FEMA as it is now configured.


Roch: Not to mention that polifrog puts the words in Ed's mouth he wants to argue against (big government vs. state government, whatever that means) so he can dispute his own straw man.

So Ed was not distinguishing between big government and state government? It would be interesting to know what your reading of Ed's post is.

Actually it wouldn't.

formerly gt

Andrew - "at least one major Republican figure thinks Obama's FEMA has done a good job so far."

Christie's observation was about turning on the flow of money from Washington to NJ. Right?

There's no doubt that the govt has a responsibility to maintain security when a disaster occurs. They should maintain public services. they should provide emergency services for food, water, and housing if required. They should evacuate/relocate people if needed.

But why should the govt provide aid beyond that? Should the govt really be providing all the items listed here?

Ed Cone

DW, I'd also like to see unwise real estate projects pay for/insure themselves (that's part of the argument against the attempt to ignore rising sea levels in NC), but you could have that good policy and still keep a robust federal disaster program in place.

David Wharton

Ed, Romney's argument is not about whether to have FEMA, but the appropriate degree of "robustness" at the level of the national government. If the current configuration is causing unwanted consequences, then a look at reconfiguration is warranted.


No worries. Romney's changed his mind about FEMA. What a huge surprise.


DW, while it's true the question asked of Romney was ""Should FEMA be reformed to put a stronger emphasis on the states and less of an emphasis on federal aid?," Romney's answer went beyond what you describe:

“Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction," Romney said. "And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better."

That bit about going further and sending it back to the private sector is more than a matter of the degree of "robustness."


Oh, he's changed his mind? Never mind then.

Andrew Brod

The Onion has a funny item on Brownie criticizing Obama's response to Sandy as too quick.

Oh. Scratch that. Not The Onion.

Fred Gregory

I am just waiting for Obama to start asking those NY'ers and NE'sters for "their dollar" so he can get FEMA on the case

Obama Insisted On State/Local Stafford Act Funding After Joplin , Missouri Tornado

" Despite his harsh criticism of the George W. Bush administration’s handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2007, President Obama decided not to waive a requirement that state and local governments contribute 25 percent of relief funds devoted to cleaning up after a tornado that swept through Joplin, Mo. in May 2011.

The Stafford Act requires those matching funds in order to collect federal disaster relief money, but that requirement may be modified or even waived at the president’s discretion.

“What’s happening down in New Orleans,” Obama asked in a video of a June 2007 speech at Hampton University obtained by The Daily Caller. “Where’s your dollar? Where’s your Stafford Act money?”

Obama misstated the Stafford Act’s requirements, saying that Hurricane Katrina-ravaged communities — mostly black communities — were expected to contribute ten percent of the rebuilding funds on their own.

The federal government, he complained, hadn’t footed the entire bill for Katrina cleanup as it had in the aftermath of 9/11 and Hurricane Andrew.

But the Obama administration responded the same way to the Joplin tornado as the Bush administration had after Katrina, by declining to cover the entire cost of disaster relief.

Bush, however, waived the Stafford Act at times to provide more support to Katrina’s victims. In May 2007, weeks before Obama’s initial criticism of the Katrina relief effort, the Bush administration provided an additional $6.9 billion to affected areas."


Stop making sense, Fred.

It's not allowed, particularly when the approved meme involves prevarication about what Romney said in that 2011 GOP debate, as indicated by Cone's last comment here.

Gerry Alfano

Romney is very familar with how states should handle natural disasters. Check into how he handled the flooding in western MA when he was governor. The mayor of Greenfield, MA could not reach Romney when she was seeking aid to help with the flooding there. He ignored the area for 3 days (he was busy at a fundraiser in NC and a meeting in Boston). When he finally showed up, he never contacted the mayor to talk to her.

I asked to speak to Governor Blanco privately. We walked out of the conference room, through a narrow passageway, and into the small cabin at the front tip of Air Force One. I told her it was clear the state and local response forces had been overwhelmed. “Governor,” I pressed, “you need to authorize the federal government to take charge of the response.”

She told me she needed twenty-four hours to think it over.

“We don’t have twenty-four hours,” I snapped. “We’ve waited too long already.”

The governor refused to give an answer.

Next I asked to meet privately with Mayor Nagin. He had spent four days since Katrina holed up in a downtown hotel. He hadn’t bathed or eaten a hot meal until he used my shower and ate breakfast on Air Force One. In a radio interview the previous evening, he had vented his frustrations with the federal government. “Get off your asses and do something,” he said, “and let’s fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.” Then he broke down in tears. When I met him on the plane, Ray whispered an apology for his outburst and explained that he was exhausted.

I asked the mayor what he thought about federalizing the response. He supported it. “Nobody’s in charge,” he said. “We need a clear chain of command.” But only the governor could request that the federal government assume control of the emergency.

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