Friday, January 11, 2013

Sandy, Katrina, and the Pro-Government Party

A devastating commentary, from Mona Charen, at National Review:
Just a few days after Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, the New York Times’s Paul Krugman crowed triumphantly about the federal government’s response to the disaster. “After Katrina the government seemed to have no idea what it was doing; this time it did. And that’s no accident: the federal government’s ability to respond effectively to disaster always collapses when antigovernment Republicans hold the White House, and always recovers when Democrats take it back.”

What a fairy tale. Mature adults understand that earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are unfortunate facts of life. They further know that government agencies are, by their very nature, slow and lumbering animals.

Krugman was right about one thing, though. Sandy would not be Obama’s Katrina, because the press is on his side. President Obama parachuted into New Jersey after the storm and declared that he would not tolerate “red tape” or “bureaucracy” by the government. He then hopped back aboard Air Force One and resumed his campaign schedule. His admirers, including, alas, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and the besotted Krugman, swooned.

Six days after Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, President Bush’s presidency had been declared a failure and a disgrace. It was all FEMA’s fault, we were given to understand, and, by extension, Bush’s fault. It wasn’t the incompetence of local and state officials, or the levee collapse (a failure, by the way, that impartial observers lay at the feet of another government agency going back years, the Army Corps of Engineers). No, within a few days of the storm’s impact, Bush was an enemy of the people.