Patterico's Pontifications

11/12/2009

The Politics of Emergency Preparedness

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 5:34 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

President George W. Bush was the butt of endless criticism after Hurricane Katrina because he did not take charge of the disaster and travel to Louisiana, opting instead for a flyover on his return to Washington. So I’m sure Democrats will appreciate the irony of Virginia Governor Tim Kaine’s response to Tropical Storm Ida. Faced with record rains and flooding from Ida, Kaine declared an emergency Wednesday night and promptly left for a private Democratic fundraiser in Arkansas:

“With his state under an emergency declaration because of heavy rain and floods Thursday, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine was in Arkansas for a Democratic fundraiser.

Kaine is chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He appeared Thursday with Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe at a closed $250-per-ticket luncheon at a home in Little Rock.”

It’s okay because Kaine is in phone contact and plans statewide visits on Friday … er, make that Saturday:

“Aides say the governor is in constant phone contact with the Emergency Operations Center and his chief of staff in Richmond. He returns to Virginia late Thursday and plans to visit flood-damaged areas across the state Saturday.”

I’m not a big fan of government leaders as comforters-in-chief so if Virginia doesn’t need Kaine’s on-the-ground leadership, I have no problem with his decision … just like I didn’t have a problem with Bush’s decision to initially defer to state and local emergency response systems during Katrina.

— DRJ

30 Responses to “The Politics of Emergency Preparedness”

  1. Our faith and values teach us that there’s no higher calling than serving others.

    Our federal government should serve the American people. But that mission is frustrated by this administration’s poor choices and bad management.

    Families in the Gulf Coast see that as they wait to rebuild their lives.*

    This Kaine one one likes him some politicization of disaster. The only real disaster is the one you let go to waste I guess.

    happyfeet (b919e7)

  2. I just meant one one not one one.

    happyfeet (b919e7)

  3. So I’m sure Democrats will appreciate the irony of Virginia Governor Tim Kaine’s

    Tim Kaine is neither the incumbent nor the elected Governor of Virginia – unless being DNC Chairman trumps elected offices.

    Insufficiently Sensitive (a939d1)

  4. But DRJ, that’s different. “R” means heartless and stupid. “D” means warm and supportive.

    That’s why someone with a “D” after their name can do things that people with an “R” after their name are condemned for doing.

    It’s not hypocrisy. It’s Nuancin’ teh Narrative!

    Just look at how it applies to literally everything. This is just another example.

    My favorite was when GWB was criticized for working out too much, while the MSM was all dreamy about BHO playing hoops for his health.

    Completely different!

    Eric Blair (711059)

  5. I’m wid ya on the comforter-in-chief nonsense.

    But, how are you on being warned that hyper-regulation/oversight would guarantee a shortage of H1N1 vaccines, ignoring this information, then hyping the looming disaster and mandating shots for certain folks, then dead silence when the vaccine shortage materializes?

    Off to Asia, the Immaculate One is! Or, as I think I will refer to him from here on out, the Ditherer-in-Chief, or, DIC.

    Ed from SFV (1333b1)

  6. Insufficiently sensitive,

    Maybe you are kidding — I’m not very bright about spotting sarcasm on the internet — but Kaine will serve as Governor of Virginia until his successor, Robert F. McDonnell, is sworn in on January 16, 2010.

    DRJ (dee47d)

  7. Kudos to the AP’s Bob Lewis for writing that story. Since the MSM gets so much criticism here, and deservedly so, it’s just to point out good work. Let’s hope Lewis’ career isn’t harmed by it.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  8. The New Orleans Katrina story was a media riot that had little to do with reality. There were stories of deaths in the Superdome that were not true. I read a great account by a guy who drove a restored military vehicle to New Orleans from Texas after the hurricane. The TV people were like paparazzi.

    I was in New Orleans the year before, the day after hurricane Ivan missed the city. I saw no evidence of advance preparation when I arrived in NO. I am sure the same situation was present the year later. In fact, I had friends in Mississippi who were far more badly hurt by the hurricane. We heard nothing about it.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  9. That’s true, Bradley, but Kaine is expendable. He’s a lame duck Governor that Obama passed over for VP who is already serving as DNC Chairman. This strikes me as a way for a journalist to gain credibility as evenhanded without actually doing any harm to liberals.

    DRJ (dee47d)

  10. Obama’s performance with Swine Flu is killing far more people than any inadequacy of Bush’s response to Katrina.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  11. I actually think visits by governors or the president hurt disaster response. Even events like the Minneapolis/St. Paul bridge collapse having high political officers on the scene just diverts attention away from people who need to be doing actual work.

    Send the helicopter if the locals don’t have one and giving the engineers a top down view wold assist, but leave the politicians behind.

    Soronel Haetir (2b4c2b)

  12. Soronel, you’re right. Bush was doing them a favor by not getting in the middle of it.

    His FEMA director was an unmitigated jackass, but thankfully, FEMA is not the front line of this kind of problem, and shouldn’t be. New Orleans suffered a failure of local government… much of this failure was in the years and years before the disaster, when they refused to fix a problem that was feeding their corruption with pork dollars. But the actual reaction to this disaster from the feds was much swifter and greater than any other in our history, and it’s sickening to think of how this was used as some kind of example of how bad Bush is. If a politician is punished for doing a good job, then we are all going to suffer eventually. The press knows that, and they flat do not care, so long as they could make a Republican look bad.

    Dustin (bb61e3)

  13. just can’t resist posting this link

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9Xo1P9OdfI

    voiceofreason2 (cfab95)

  14. “…Bush’s decision to initially defer to state and local emergency response systems during Katrina.”

    DRJ, this is a correction, a fair’s-fair issue. While the appointment of Brown, like the attempted appointment of Harriet Meirs, was an example of Bush cronyism polluted by incompetence, the law is that FEMA can’t come in until invited by the locals. But of course Nagin was busy posturing and fleeing; Blanco augmenting the waters with floods of tears; neither could bring themselves to request assistance despite hours of calls from FEMA asking to be asked.

    Simon Kenton (3d943d)

  15. “an example of Bush cronyism polluted by incompetence”

    Hell yeah it was. This is, until TARP, Bush’s true failing. He found loyalists who he could trust, but some of them were simply not up to the task.

    That said, Brown’s dumb emails did not kill anybody. I suspect the panic reporting may have, but Brown’s FEMA did a pretty great job. Bush’s white house was shockingly free of scandal when you consider the degree of witchhunt. Valarie Plame being outed as a liar by Armitage is about all that happened. Less scandal in 8 long years than Obama had in 60 days.

    Dustin (bb61e3)

  16. There is a difference. One was a President presiding over the worst natural disaster in ages that had happened and had taken lives. The other a Governor who had to attend a pre-planned fundraiser dinner from which he intends to return the same day. This disaster is by no way a Katrina.Yet. As bad as it is.
    I’m not a big fan of government leaders as comforters-in-chief so if Virginia doesn’t need Kaine’s on-the-ground leadership, I have no problem with his decision. DRJ.

    Great. If he had capable hands who could hold the forth till his return the same day, why shouldn’t he attend a function for which he is a Chairman? This cannot be compared in any way to the fiasco that was Bush’s response to a hurricane that had destroyed a state.

    The Emperor (82e13a)

  17. “…Bush’s response to a hurricane that had destroyed a state….”

    Hmmm. And Lousiana is picture perfect now? And it was before GWB was elected? Um. You might want to, well, read about the history of the state and the literally unbelievable level of incompetence there for the past fifty or sixty years.

    Fact is, Mississippi was hit harder by Katrina than Louisiana. Ditto Alabama. Funny thing is that we don’t hear much about that. I wonder why?

    But, sure, go right ahead with Teh Narrative.

    Eric Blair (711059)

  18. I also think it is always a good idea to compare what all the victicrats said about New Orleans at the time…to what actually happened.

    Notice that the people who openly lied, repeatedly, about the situation have never apologized for disaster-mongering. But that is how it works when you bend every topic to partisanship: you never have to apologize, or correct your misstatements.

    Must be nice.

    Eric Blair (711059)

  19. This cannot be compared in any way to the fiasco that was Bush’s response to a hurricane that had destroyed a state.

    a. Blanco initially balked at allowing Bush to take steps to take control of the national guard which effectively tied his hands to use the military
    b. The hurricane took another 12-18 hours before it was safe to roll trucks to the area
    c. Barksdale AFB was one of the staging bases for supplies and started moving once the weather was safe
    d. Shep Smith didn’t verify his sources about what was happening in the Superdome – turns out the murder and rape stories were simply not true. By the time that was determined it was taken as fact by many news orgs
    e. Nagin didn’t mobilize the buses to get people out and they ended up submerged

    What exactly did Bush do to make it a fiasco?

    voiceofreason2 (cfab95)

  20. VOR2 – The United States Coast Guard also acted promptly and heroically to save 33,500 lives.

    DRJ (dee47d)

  21. Simon Kenton,

    I think I understand your point — that Bush didn’t have the legal authority to intervene — and I agree based on what I’ve read. But I’ve also read that Bush tried to intervene or assist anyway, an offer that was rejected by Governor Blanco:

    Blanco has had several skirmishes with Bush and sent signals that she did not trust his administration. She brought in James Lee Witt, former president Bill Clinton’s emergency management director, to advise her. She rejected Bush’s proposal that the federal government take control of National Guard troops under her command. (“If that would have improved our situation, it would have been a no-brainer,” she says).

    DRJ (dee47d)

  22. DRJ – good point. It could have been much worse without them.

    voiceofreason2 (cfab95)

  23. This cannot be compared in any way to the fiasco that was Bush’s response to a hurricane that had destroyed a state.

    A state, btw, and a city in particular (ie, New Orleans) that was pretty much dominated by a bunch of sleazy, usual-suspect Democrats/liberals.

    Mark (411533)

  24. Comment by DRJ — 11/12/2009 @ 7:55 pm

    As a member of the USCG-Aux, I would have been compelled to mention that.
    Thank you!
    Not everything at DHS is a mess; a lot, but not everything.

    AD - RtR/OS! (05d966)

  25. (”If that would have improved our situation, it would have been a no-brainer,” she says)

    Proudly spoken by someone who events showed had no brain.

    AD - RtR/OS! (05d966)

  26. Ir does beg the question, why Mississipi, which was more directly in the path of the storm fared
    better.

    bishop (996c34)

  27. Forgive me, but I’ve always liked Vonnegut:

    If people think nature is their friend, then they sure don’t need an enemy.

    Ag80 (3d1543)

  28. I’m a Virginia resident, and I’m tired of Gov. Kaine’s absenteeism from work to handle DNC business.
    So unless Gov. Kaine is a dollar-a-year man, he’s being paid to be the governor first, then the DNC chairman. Let him quit and be private citizen Tim Kaine in his works for the DNC, not using the prestige of his office for the DNC.

    Rob (c7293d)

  29. Ir does beg the question, why Mississipi, which was more directly in the path of the storm fared
    better.

    There was next to no reporting on the excellence of Haley Barbour and his administration – his state faced an initial surge of something like 20 feet when the storm intially hit their shores. Jeb Bush also performed to a high level of competency during the many hurricanes that hit FLA during his time in office.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  30. Kaine has restored more felon’s voting privilege’s than any previous governor already. Look for a flood of them and also pardons right before he leaves office.

    Greg (97e776)


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