Storm Aid Muddles Message for Anti-Government Republicans. Reality punctures right-wingnuts’ bubble universe
Storm Aid Muddles Message for Anti-Government Republicans
Peter Robison and Jeff Bliss, ©2012 Bloomberg News
Updated 10:54 p.m., Wednesday, October 31, 2012
(Updates with Madden comments under ‘Efficient’ Response sub-headline. For more news on the storm, see EXT5.)
Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) — Superstorm Sandy left Republican leaders, who typically call for a reduced federal government, welcoming its intervention.
The deadly storm that caused destruction across the northeastern U.S. also muddled the free-market narratives embraced by presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Republican governors of several states, including New Jersey’s Chris Christie, who praised President Barack Obama for his help.
The governors have sparred with Obama over expanded health- care coverage, taxes and federal debt, while Republican leaders in Congress have sought to offset or limit disaster-aid costs.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who called Obama’s policies ‘horrific’ on Oct. 1, praised the speed at which the state was granted federal help.
‘To get a disaster declaration in literally a matter of hours is almost unprecedented,’ McDonnell, a frequent speaker on behalf of Romney, said at a storm briefing yesterday, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper.
‘Their prayer is, ‘Lord make me a fiscal conservative, but not quite yet,” said John Pitney, a professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, referring to the Republican response to the storm a week before the Nov. 6 election.
For the second day, the Romney campaign tried to dispel the notion that the candidate would abolish FEMA if elected.
‘Governor Romney believes in a very efficient and effective disaster-relief response, and he believes one of the ways to do that is put a premium on states and their efforts to respond to these disasters,’ spokesman Kevin Madden told reporters today on the campaign plane. ‘But he does believe FEMA has a really important role there and that being a partner for these states is the best approach.’
Yesterday, Romney repeatedly declined to answer questions about his earlier statements.
Currently, FEMA is authorized to assist state and local governments following disasters. ‘FEMA is not the team, but part of a team,’ the agency says on its website.
Republican congressional leaders wanted budget cuts last year to offset the $1 billion the Obama administration sought for disaster relief.
Read more: sfgate.com