Mitt Romney, FEMA, and Hurricane Sandy

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore

Although my neighborhood in northern Delaware was right in the projected bull’s eye for Hurricane Sandy, we came out of it with just two power outages, each of less than one day, and a few wet basements. Coastal residents of Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and other states were not so fortunate, victims of historic and unprecedented storm surges of sea water.

The nation has been shocked by the death and devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, and inspired by the heroism of the nation’s first responders. President Obama has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to insure that those first responders have the resources they need to bring relief to suffering Americans, for which he has been praised by both Republican and Democratic governors, including Republican Convention keynoter Chris Christie of New Jersey.

Mitt Romney told us what he thinks of FEMA back on June 13, 2011, when in response to a direct question about FEMA from CNN’s John King who was moderating a Republican presidential primary debate, Romney said that FEMA’s responsibilities should be removed from the federal government and transferred to the states, and that if they could be transferred “back to the private sector, that’s even better.”

When John King incredulously asked, “Including disaster relief?”, Romney replied that, “We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids.”

After Romney’s improvised “storm relief” political event in Ohio on Tuesday, the press pool report for the event states, and video tape confirms, that Romney was asked at least five times if he would eliminate FEMA, but in each case refused to answer the question. At that event, Romney demonstrated his empathy by collecting canned goods for storm victims, and comparing disaster relief to volunteers picking up the litter from a football field.

Romney running mate Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, which actually passed the Republican controlled House of Representatives, would only have cut 41 percent from the government function that includes FEMA and disaster relief. Would Ryan’s political inspiration Ayn Rand, or Mitt Romney, have thought that cut sufficient?

Finally, Romney expressed his contempt for any concern over climate change in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. In that speech, Romney mocked President Obama’s stated concern over climate change and specifically rising sea levels.

Romney smiled as he said, “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans…” At this point Romney paused for jeers and laughter from the partisan audience before continuing, “… and heal the planet.” Even louder jeers and laughter. Romney smiled some more.

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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