But, honestly, it’s time to get real about things. Honestly, it’s time for someone to ‘politicize’ this storm for what it is.
Based on what the various candidates actually have told the people whose votes they are soliciting, over the past 48 hours, it has been far better for the nation that Barack Obama and Joseph Biden are running the executive branch than it would have been had those jobs been held by Willard Romney and Paul Ryan. Both of the latter are on record — and on audiotape, and on video, and all over the Intertoobz, and, for all I know, bellowing from the fillings in your teeth — as recommending that the federal government’s responsibility for things like disaster relief be either handed back to the states, or privatized entirely. They have made this argument in public. They have made this argument as part of the reason why you should vote for them. They also have similar plans for the National Weather Service, and for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and they have made those arguments as part of the reason why you should vote for them. If those ideas had prevailed, and those plans had been passed through the Congress, and signed by President Romney, more people would have died because of this storm, and more people would still be dying from this storm two or three weeks from now.
What they are saying now in an attempt to walk back their earlier arguments is almost assuredly nothing but a barrel full of lies. They’d be out there saying the very same things today if they hadn’t gotten blindsided by this storm. Do you honestly think, absent the arrival of Miss Sandra along the east coast, Willard Romney and Paul Ryan would be out there refining their opinion on federal disaster relief? That they would have abandoned the notion of handing disaster relief back to the states, or to their various corporate cronies. That they would have distanced themselves from barely camouflaged bigots like John Sununu, who repeatedly calls the president ‘lazy’? [1]

Can any of us rationally contemplate what kinds of relief efforts might be taking place right now in the eastern third of the country under a Republican “leadership” which believes that disaster relief is better left to the states; better still to private industry? [See this.] Whatever efforts might be employed would of course take place after decreased funding for the very research and technology which enabled forecasters to serve us all so well in the many days leading to the arrival/onslaught of Hurricane Sandy. [See this.] The good news is that the very wealthy would get a tax break! I guess that evens it out?

Ideological pronouncements have their place, but in the real world, actions and words have consequences. Ideological beliefs which serve as the foundation for policies and non-policies likewise have consequences. Followers who blindly accept the rantings of “leaders” whose interests clearly diverge from those millions whom they arguably serve are not immune to what happens in the real world. They too will have to endure the repercussions of limited government in a world where the rare catastrophes aren’t so rare any more.

How’s that going to work for us?

Ask residents of New York City (where our daughter has been without power since the storm hit) or New Jersey how delighted they would be with scores of state agencies and private companies tripping over each other as they each try to get a handle on the thousands of considerations which must be addressed in an undertaking of this scope. Who needs coordination and the power of a national operation when you can have chaos instead?

And through it all, the media can’t even get Mitt Romney to acknowledge their presence, let alone answer a simple but important question: What does he plan on doing with FEMA and other federal government disaster relief efforts? We’ve all seen his answer already, which pretty much amounts to “Good luck to all of you!” [See this terrific summary by Alex Kane.]

Of course, by the time you read this, it’s entirely possible Romney will have completely reversed his position, as he has with tax policy, the auto bailouts [see this and this], and on and on it goes [for example] … but I digress.

As we regain our footing in the aftermath of the awesome display of power Hurricane Sandy wielded at the expense of millions of residents, we have some other issues to ponder as well before next Tuesday.

So between now and the election, I’m going to take advantage of my little soapbox and offer some observations/quotes worth noting … and pondering further, as we approach the election. Thinking for ourselves would be a good thing, and each of us is capable of doing just that.

I’ll reserve most of my comments on each for other times. For now, the narrative offered via these independent yet interrelated quotes are sufficient on their own.

I’ll do so for reasons admirably expressed by the always-reasonable and thoughtful Jared Bernstein:

Yes, it’s time to start thinking again, but more pointedly, it’s time to realize what a potentially wonderful country we have here in America and to once again embrace the responsibility for its stewardship.  Right now, that means making the effort to see through shape-shifting flim-flammers whose platform reduces to ‘tell me what you want and I’ll tell you that I can give to you at absolutely no cost.’ [2]

Facts matter.

* My Photo: The Day After Sandy – Long Beach, Rockport, MA


[1] http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/obama-romney-hurricane-sandy-14261227; Sandy: Evidence That Romney Is the Wrong President by Charles P. Pierce – 10.30.12
[2] http://jaredbernsteinblog.com/how-did-things-get-so-screwed-up/; How Did Things Get So Screwed Up? by Jared Bernstein – 10.28.12