This one is really hard to believe, even for the most biased so-called "news network" in the nation.There's more at the link, but note at the YouTube clip above that Bashir also slams Romney for comments he made during the GOP primary debates. Romney argued that the states could handle disaster relief, and then ultimately private businesses. This really set off the MSNBC clowns off. These idiots haven't a clue. Of course there are any number of ways to deliver disaster relief along the lines suggested by Romney. The federal government can work cooperatively with the states, helping to finance relief efforts that are performed by state and local agencies. That's hardly controversial. The progressive idiots are trying to argue that Romney just doesn't care. In fact, Romney's making the case to improve both efficiency and cost. We know from Katrina that Louisiana should have acted sooner to request federal assistance from Washington. The states have emergency contingency planning. They are the first responders. The federal government responds at the request of a state's governor. Moreover, the idea that it's always the federal government that provides relief and services is ridiculous. Private contracting for all kinds of public sector operations are routine. William Jacobson has more, at the New York Times, "Only When the States Can’t Handle a Problem":
MSNBC on Tuesday totally trashed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for collecting food and supplies at a storm rally event in Ohio to be sent to victims of Hurricane Sandy (video follows with transcript and commentary)....
When the clip concluded, Bashir said, “Mayor Reed, so the Red Cross knows what it’s doing. Did he, did you detect perhaps a subtle dig there on Mr. Romney who spent today going against the guidelines established by the Red Cross and holding a campaign rally in Ohio that was dressed up like a charity drive collecting food and other supplies when the Red Cross expressly asked people not to do that?”
Imagine that. A presidential candidate who gives millions of dollars a year to charity does a storm relief event in Ohio, and an MSNBC anchor is disgusted by it because the Red Cross would prefer people donating cash.
Yet according to the Washington Post:
The stop was billed as a “storm relief” event, and attendees were asked to bring non-perishable foods and other items for those affected by the storm. Long white tables to one side of the cavernous James S. Trent Arena were piled high with flashlights, batteries, diapers, toothbrushes, mini-deodorants, fleece blankets, cereal, toilet paper and canned goods.So besides the food and supplies that Ohioans generously donated, two large television screens asked participants to send money to the Red Cross.
Two large TV screens at the front of the venue bore the logo of the American Red Cross and the message: “Sandy: Support the Relief Effort. Text ’REDCROSS’ to 90999 to make a $10 donation.”
But this didn’t make Bashir happy. Ditto his Obama-supporting guests.
“I think that this is just another moment where you see the clear striking difference between a president who has a heart for the American people and someone who simply wants to be president of the United States,” said Mayor Reed.
“Indeed,” replied Bashir who then asked for Peterson’s input.
“I would agree,” echoed Peterson. “It’s compassion that shows through in times like these. It’s humanity that shows through in times like these, and it just seems clear that the President, in addition to stepping up and doing what he does as Commander-in-Chief, demonstrates compassion in these remarks and in his approach to this kind of serious disaster.” “All we’ve seen from Romney and from his surrogates is all kinds of politicizing and misdirection,” Peterson continued, “and I think the American people in this sort of disastrous moment can really see in bold relief the differences between President Obama and former Governor Romney.”
The issue of FEMA versus states and private enterprise is not an either/or choice. The question should be how to most efficiently allocate resources both before and after unpredictable major disasters.There is no controversy. Romney was governor of a state on the East Coast. He knows about these kinds of public/private relationships by experience. And he knows from his private sector background that efficiency is improved by contracting and cooperative planning at different levels of government. The radical MSNBC hacks haven't the foggiest idea of these notions. Everyone's talking about this is the kind of emergency where we MUST HAVE big government. Now that's some politicization. Amazingly dishonest too, since it was the president today on television urging people to make contributions to the Red Cross, which is a private organization. See also Russell Sobel, "The Free Market Can Do a Better Job."
We currently use a model that relies on state and local government, together with private contractors, in a wide variety of situations.
Snow removal is a good example. Even in times of severe, multistate blizzards, private contractors play a critical role. State and local governments cannot put enough plows on the roads on short notice, so they maintain contractual relationships with private companies to provide the service as needed.
Similarly, in times of widespread power outage, as we have now, utility companies, not state or local governments, provide relief for downed power lines and electricity and phone interruptions. Throughout the Northeast the relief will come from these contractors, many on loan from other regions, to provide this relief.
The state/private model makes sense precisely because large-scale disasters are infrequent and unpredictable. Does it make sense to maintain a large federal inventory of personnel, equipment and supplies in this scenario?
FEMA doesn’t think so. FEMA itself maintains a registry of contractors and private resources that can be used depending on the situation, and relies on states and local governments for preparedness.
The most efficient role for the federal government is to fill in where states cannot, for example, where the damage is of such a nature that it is not amenable to state or local solutions. Hurricane damage typically is localized, and requires a street-by-street response which the federal government is ill prepared to provide. A large oil spill, by contrast, is not capable of local relief alone, and that is where federal coordination can be most effective.
So where is the controversy in Governor Romney’s statement?