August 30, 2016 by Chris Kite
Republicans are for small government. They don’t like to help people or provide safety nets. They want everyone to fend for themselves.
That is how we ended up with the shameful response after Hurricane Katrina under George W Bush. The Bush administration botched the handling of the response and relief. They made half hearted attempts, but really, at the end of the day, responding to victims of a hurricane just didn’t fit with their model of government.
So the Bush administration took huge hits, got lots of criticism, and sadly let people suffer and die. It was serious and it was inexcusable.
Fast forward to August of 2016 and the horrible flooding in the south, and all of a sudden conservatives and Republicans are all upset that President Obama was playing golf and taking a vacation. But in all their rush to say, “Ah-ha! See. Obama didn’t end his vacation and you’re not criticizing him,” they missed some key points.
First, Obama was criticized for not visiting the flood zone. But the governor specifically told him to stay away. He didn’t want first responders to have to deal with a Presidential visit instead of helping the victims of the flood. So he was criticized for not going to the flood zone even though he was told going to flood zone would make things worse.
Second, all indications are the FEMA was on the ground and doing a good job of helping those that needed it. People were provided for and FEMA was not criticized at all for its handling of the disaster.
With Bush you had a President that seemed to not be paying attention not only because he was on vacation, but because FEMA was failing to do their jobs. What better way to prove that government can’t help people than to do a half assed job of managing a disaster? His administration was failing to respond and he was failing to manage it or recognize the problem. He even went so far as to tell FEMA head Michael Brown, “Heck of a job, Brownie.” When in fact, he was NOT doing a heck of a job.
With Obama, you had a FEMA response that was under control and doing the right things. It was helping people where they needed it with what they needed. His administration was doing a good job of managing the disaster and further focus from him was not required. He was also not wanted on site because of the drain on first responder resources that would have required.
Whine and complain all you want, but the two events are not at all comparable when it comes to the response of the government or the management by the President’s administration.