I live at the Jersey Shore. Did you see Brian Williams of NBC reporting from the hardest-hit area? That's where I live. The area has been devastated. Entire towns were destroyed. There are mile-long lines for gasoline at the few stations that have any. I'm hearing a lot of people in other parts of the country complaining that people shouldn't “politicize” this natural disaster, and I have one thing to say to them:
Just shut the hell up. There's an election next week, and this is politics. Now is exactly the right time to point out that we have one candidate who wants to eliminate or cut FEMA (it depends on which day you ask him), who thinks the states should handle this stuff themselves, who thinks disaster relief should be a for-profit enterprise. One candidate who said that it is “immoral” to borrow money to help disaster victims. One candidate whose idea of “small government” is to leave people to fend for themselves.
Mitt Romney staged a photo op pretending to collect canned goods to send to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. His staff spent a few grand at Walmart and handed out cans for people to be photographed handing back, and he got his picture taken picking up boxes of stuff. What a jackass.
Remember when Paul Ryan got his picture taken pretending to volunteer at a homeless shelter? At least the thing he was pretending to do would be good if other people actually did it. The Red Cross neither needs nor wants your canned goods. All that does is create a logistical problem to transport the items. They don't accept that kind of donation because it doesn't help.
More to the point, we don't need your canned goods. Canned goods? Really? Do you think we don't have grocery stores out here? We have more canned goods than we could ever possibly need. How clueless can you be and still be seen as a viable candidate for president?
What we need is power. We need the lines and transformers and substations fixed. We need a more resilient infrastructure. And we need gasoline, very badly – but fixing the power will take care of that, too.
Mitt Romney thinks the states should take care of all of this themselves. He thinks New York City should be pumping out its own subway tunnels. He thinks the president shouldn't have brought FEMA to New Jersey with him, or sent those Navy ships to land the helicopters on. He thinks the power companies whose services go out every time it rains need less regulation. He thinks the market should be left to deal with the cleanup. He compared it with his experience cleaning up a school football field after a celebration. And he thinks what we really need is some canned soup.
Heckuvajob Brownie – remember him, from Katrina? – said the president responded to Hurricane Sandy too quickly. That's the Republican philosophy in action. Need to rebuild your home? Borrow money from your parents!
Meanwhile, Romney ignores questions from reporters about his intentions for FEMA. His party insists that disaster relief funding requires offsets. And now they're attacking our Republican governor, Chris Christie, for doing his job and working with the president to help the people of his state, rather than adhering to the Republican religion. We're all very grateful that Gov. Christie doesn't adhere to that religion.
But Mitt Romney does, and Paul Ryan does, and the party in general does. No state has the resources to deal with this kind of thing, and privatizing it would be despicable. We live in a society; let's act like it. Let's elect people who act like it. Not people who stage photo ops pretending to do things that won't help anyway.
Meanwhile, if you want to help, we don't need your old clothes or your dusty cans of cream of mushroom soup. Text “redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.