Hurricane Sandy is more than just the perfect storm, it’s the perfect tool to out a campaigns message for better or worse. For President Barack Obama, it’s for the better, as an improved FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) was a central focus of the Obama Administration, which was anxious to avoid the problems caused by a less-than-prepared FEMA during the George W. Bush Administration.
Now, President Obama is tasked with doing his job: coordinating cabinet heads, making sure state governors know the resources they need are available, and getting the message out to the American public. Meanwhile, his Presidential Race challenger, Gov. Mitt Romney, has to deal with comments he made about essentially dismantling FEMA.
In 2011, Mitt Romney responded to John King’s question CNN’s John King if he thinks disaster relief would be better handled by the states during the Republican Debate, and said this:
“Absolutely,” Romney said. “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. And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”
“Including disaster relief, though?” King asked.
“We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids,” Romney said. “It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.”
The real problem is that Romney has done nothing to back off from this message. The result is, today with Hurricane Sandy being described as “the perfect storm,” FEMA is in central focus, as well as Romney’s unchecked comments.
This blogger thinks Romney doesn’t even know what FEMA is. FEMA, according to its website, has this mission:
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
FEMA steps in where disaster costs are too great for a state, or a region of states in America, to afford the necessary disaster assistance. Hurricane Sandy is projected to cost up to $17 billion – far beyond the easy fiscal reach of cash-strapped states. If Mitt Romney had his way, there would be no way to aide the states or plan for helping them, because FEMA would be terminated.
That shows how an ideology-first policy formation habit almost always leads to the wrong approach. It also shows why Mitt Romney is not a good candidate for President. His approach is not sensitive to the needs of the victims of Hurricane Sandy or any disaster in America.