If a "liberal" does one little thing wrong, the reich wing goes to town with insults and demands for apologies, explanations, etc. When the President and the federal government fail to address a national catastrophe that the entire country saw coming -- THAT CAME AS NO SURPRISE -- the reich wing pundits offer a myriad of excuses for why the victims are to blame for their fate and for why the government's turtle-pace efforts are acceptable.
One "conservative" blogger (whose posts I enjoy reading and can be found at alanmanning.blogspot.com) offered this qualification
The president took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to protect and defend every man, woman, and child from freak acts of nature. It should be primarily the responsibility of private charitable organizations to help those in need. Since our federal government can, it should, and it did. But this is OUR job as citizens, not the president’s. If I’m wrong please show me where, when the Constitution defines the duties of the President, it requires that he provide support in the case of catastrophic natural events.
Another blogger (who I debate daily and is far more intelligent than the typical conservative -- freeagencyrules.blogspot.com) offered a similar refrain,
"Let’s don’t look for whom to blame for the lack of attention to the levy, but instead let’s “look to fix the problem” instead of the blame."
The sentiments expressed by Alan and Free Agency Rules are not far afield from what I have seen of the "conservative" spin on N.O. And I don't necessarily disagree with the underlying principles of charity and community spirit.
Most problematic with these sentiments is that they do not address fundamental questions about our government and its response to New Orleans. Regardless of whether the President is or is not Constitutionally responsible to protect America's citizens from natural disasters, the fact is that the federal government took that job upon itself. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers describes its job as follows:
Our mission is to provide quality, responsive engineering services to the nation including:
Planning, designing, building and operating water resources and other civil works projects (Navigation, Flood Control, Environmental Protection, Disaster Response, etc.)
Designing and managing the construction of military facilities for the Army and Air Force. (Military Construction)
Providing design and construction management support for other Defense and federal agencies. (Interagency and International Services)
Today, as always, we stand ready... engineers, scientists, real estate specialists and administrators alike to meet national security, emergency and other national requirements.
The following is a bit about FEMA:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency - a former independent agency that became part of the new Department of Homeland Security in March 2003 - is tasked with responding to, planning for, recovering from and mitigating against disasters. FEMA can trace its beginnings to the Congressional Act of 1803. This act, generally considered the first piece of disaster legislation, provided assistance to a New Hampshire town following an extensive fire. In the century that followed, ad hoc legislation was passed more than 100 times in response to hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters.
Billions of dollars of new funding were directed to FEMA to help communities face the threat of terrorism. Just a few years past its 20th anniversary, FEMA was actively directing its "all-hazards" approach to disasters toward homeland security issues. In March 2003, FEMA joined 22 other federal agencies, programs and offices in becoming the Department of Homeland Security. http://www.fema.gov/about/history.shtm
These federal agencies are funded by me. And you. I don't voluntarily make charitable donations to the federal government. It is under the threat of economic and legal peril that my employer withholds almost 40 percent of my earnings so that the federal government can fund the massive Department of Homeland Security, give welfare to tyrranical governments and invade Iraq. So, as long as my money has been stolen by the government, I expect it to be used for the tasks for which it was earmarked.
When I donate to charity, I do so on the belief that the organization will spend the money on projects I deem worthy. If the Red Cross asks for donations to support relief efforts, but spends it on something else, they will lose my trust and I will no longer give them my money. As a shareholder of a corporation, I have the right to an honest prospectus from a corporation that details its spending so that I can make a voluntary choice whether to invest with that company.
Unfortunately, however, I do not have that same freedom when it comes to the federal behemoth. They steal money from the citizens under the guise of creating a national guard to protect the citizenry, to form a corps of engineers who are supposed to build levees that can withstand a hurricane that everyone knew was coming and to bolster FEMA with "billions of dollars of new funding." Whether I want my money to go to those purposes is irrelevant. The government does not care.
Enough of the bullshit that we, as citizens, should give to charity and stop asking the government to help the people of New Orleans. It is the government itself that assumed the responsibility of this aid and put a gun to our heads to pay for it. We, as taxpayers, are the involuntary donors to and shareholders of an inefficient corporation and, god dammit, I want an accounting. I want a prospectus that explains how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent the money and why the product was a flop. I want an explanation as to why the National Guard with all its overpriced equipment (made by Boeing, Northrup, etc.) was not sent to New Orleans the second after the hurricane passed? If the Guardsmen couldn't get in, why didn't the navy handle it?
Because if, as the reich wing claims, it is not the government's responsibility to handle natural disasters and other catastrophes, I deserve a refund of my tax dollars!