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“An Unreliable Partner”: Romney Struggles For Relevance While Sandy Blows Away Political Pretense And Ideological Nonsense

While the president canceled his campaign schedule and flew northward to join the relief effort, Romney struggled for relevance. Presumably with the best intentions, he tried to transform an Ohio rally into a charitable gathering, where his campaign would collect canned food and bottled water for hurricane victims. But then his campaign workers were caught purchasing cases of food and water at a local Walmart, evidently planning to stage fake giving if necessary.

As he played his role in this flummery, Romney repeatedly refused to answer questions from reporters about his vow to dismantle FEMA as a cost-cutting measure. It would be “immoral” to spend money on federal disaster relief, as he told a debate audience in 2011, when the government is running a substantial deficit. And it is true that the budget and tax policies promoted by Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, would require such significant cuts in domestic spending as to decimate disaster relief.

Disbanding FEMA and discarding its skilled personnel apparently would be fine with Romney, who said “absolutely” when asked by CNN’s John King whether he would consign disaster relief to the states rather than the federal government. For that matter he would go still further, said the former Massachusetts governor; best of all would be to let the private sector assume FEMA’s responsibilities.

Nobody asked Romney how a privatized FEMA would function, but it is interesting to imagine the private-equity version of disaster management—and how that entity might squeeze profit from tragedy. Under present circumstances, the Romney campaign denies any plan to abolish FEMA, but who really knows?

In this awful moment Christie, Cuomo, Bloomberg — and every other official watching them — must have realized that should cataclysm strike their city or state, they have a reliable partner in President Obama. The Romney Republicans inspire no such confidence.

 

By: Joe Conason, The National Memo, November 21, 2012

November 2, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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