Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Republicans held up the Hurricane Sandy relief bill for weeks before it passed; Democrats are not going to do the same in response to the Oklahoma tornado. If anything, relief could be held up by Republicans, starting with the state's own Senator Tom Coburn, who wants spending cuts elsewhere to offset any aid. Meanwhile, Oklahoma's other senator, James Inhofe, says the two disasters are "totally different":
In the wake of the devastating tornado in an Oklahoma City suburb, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) rejected comparisons between federal aid for this disaster and the Hurricane Sandy relief package he voted against.

That was a "totally different" situation, Inhofe told MSNBC, arguing that the Sandy aid was filled with pork. There were "things in the Virgin Islands. They were fixing roads there and putting roofs on houses in Washington, D.C."

“Everyone was getting in and exploiting the tragedy that took place,” he said. "That won't happen in Oklahoma."
Republicans can always talk like this because Republicans win the loyalty of their base voters by declaring certain fellow Americans to be evil, sinful, lazy, gluttonous, and parasitical. If, after a while, it became politically awkward to make that claim about the blue-state victims of Sandy, many of whom could be seen on TV every night genuinely suffering, the backup plan was to complain about money in the Sandy bill that wasn't going to Sandy victims. (Never mind the fact that some appropriations were put in the bill in response to other disasters, and some money was added to benefit states with Republican senators.) The Sandy bill eventually passed, but the message was always one that's near and dear to Republican voters: Someone is being evil and must be punished.

That message doesn't appeal to most Democratic voters -- yes, Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, responded to the tornado by denouncing climate-change denialists on the Senate floor, but you're not going to hear a lot of responses like that from elected Democrats. Even many people who agree with Whitehouse thought it wasn't the time to say what he said -- that's how most Democratic voters think.

Gallup consistently finds that self-described conservatives greatly outnumber self-described liberals in America -- and yet Democrats have won the popular vote in four of the past five presidential elections, and votes for Congress suggest it's a 50/50 country. That means that Democrats are winning the votes of a lot more moderates than Republicans are.

Moderates presumably don't want disasters politicized. Conservatives, by contrast, seem to have no problem with the politicizing of disasters. So Democrats run risks if they try to score political points after a disaster. On the other side, Republicans have free rein -- they can politicize away.


Victor said...

The only thing they know how to do anymore, is politicize any, and every, thing.

They haven't offered any solutions, except lower taxes on the rich, and increase them on everyone else, and cut "earned benefits," in decades.

They are not a party you can count on for anything that's constructive - they only know how to destroy.

Over the last 37 years, Democratic Presidents have spent the bulk of their time trying to un-do the damage done by their Republican predecessors. And they have to battle Republican Houses, and or Senates, the whole way.

My entire adult life has been spent in a period of time where the Democrats spent their time desperately try to repair what the Republicans gleefully destroyed.

aimai said...

Well, but the conclusion one has to draw is that Republicans are "free" to politicize disasters in the same way that a child is "free" to pull the tale of a cat--the end result may not be pretty. Apparently they please their base, for a while, but piss off moderates. Its not much of a political strategy--they can fuck things up for a while but will this lead them back to the White House or to control of the Senate? I'm doubtful. In the long run, I think these attitudes will lose them the house. What keeps most incumbents in power is a combination of gerrymandering and indifference. Over time population movement and rage may overcome voter inertia.

Steve M. said...

I think it will lead them back to control of the Senate, and might win them the White House (if Hillary doesn't run, I think they're the favorites, because the Dem bench is so incredibly weak).

Ten Bears said...

If so, Steve, then it's a sadder reflection of "America" than I have been prepared to make. While I recently discovered that thete really are these nuts out there, they're not a figment of my, or the Internet, imagination, I still cannot believe that people will continue to support, to vote for, this behavior. It is contrary to everything I jave over nearly sixty years grown to know as "America".

Happy to disagree, but as it stands I just don't give damn, so I'll just sit back on mu sack of seeds and wait to see.

No fear.