February 3, 2009

Drowning Goose, Frozen Gander

Justin Katz

There's some risk of "gotcha" opposition to the current president and his hordes of true believers, including in the media. Considering that the Katrina catastrophe still holds an important place in the self-persuasive arsenals of the anti-Bush crowd, Steve Gill is right to note a conspicuous difference in treatment:

Last week a massive ice storm struck the heartland of America, leaving at least 42 dead and millions without power or water. Days later there are still over a million people in Kentucky who have no power, no water, and no communications. They could have to survive this way for weeks! The conditions are dire and getting worse, with some storm survivors carrying pails of water from creeks. Thousands more are living in shelters with no timetable for returning home. FEMA is nowhere to be found.

Amid this catastrophe, where is President Barack Obama? While millions were struggling with the dangerous and deadly icy conditions President Obama had the thermostat in the Oval Office cranked up like a "hothouse" growing orchids. On Thursday — while millions in Tennessee and Kentucky did not have access to shelter or food — Obama hosted a cocktail party at the White House and served up fancy martinis and an appetizer menu that featured mouthwatering wagyu steak costing $100 a pound.

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I also found this post to be spot on. Where's the media?

Posted by: Marc at February 3, 2009 10:10 AM

Justin and Marc,
At last you have seen the plight of poor people who have been blasted by disaster. You have added a new phrase to the the language, "Bleeding Heart Conservatives". I can see the two of you trekking through the snows of the Kentucky hills and delivering food and fuel to a desperately poor population. Perhaps you can even use some of the money you may have recently gained from your solicitations from AR readers.

Good luck on your trip to Appalachia.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at February 3, 2009 10:42 AM

OTL, yes, you've got it exactly right. I've been so blind lo' these many years! Oh that I could have been so enlightened as you! Now I've seen the error of my ways! The less-fortunate people I ignored while growing up in the lap of luxury in a small town in Maine! The poor in foreign lands I ignored while in the Merchant Marine! The charities I don't give to! The people I don't pray for! Oh, how could I be so blind!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Marc at February 3, 2009 11:02 AM

Your self recriminations are noted, but forgot stupid!

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at February 3, 2009 11:49 AM

Marc, I think the political component is fairly small. Obama is too new for his govt's response to be judged the way Bush's response was seen as emblematic of Bush policies in general. Katrina arrived with great TV news fanfare and then the video of flooding and people on roofs and don't forget the breathless Fox news reports of murder and mayhem all added to the import of the event. Compare that to a winter storm that produced scant video and news gathering - mostly because no one can get in there- and it becomes easily overlooked. When I first moved to West Greenwich we were hit hard by an ice storm that had me out of power for 2 weeks. The rest of RI barely noticed.

Posted by: David at February 3, 2009 12:31 PM

How many tough Maine winters did you need a federal response. How many times did armed police turn you back from leaving the devastation wrought by a winter storm. I should have figured you as a Mainiac, the most passionate of Red Sox fans in New England.


Keep up the twaddle about the unfairness of the news media. It'll give you practice when the history of the Bush the Destroyer years are written.

Posted by: Phil at February 3, 2009 1:48 PM

There was a pretty severe ice storm in December not too far away from us (north central Mass.). I had a couple of co-workers who were without power for more than two weeks, and the mess is still being cleaned up.
No outrage about that, either.
The people of Tennessee and Kentucky would be pretty justified in raising some hell. Mitch McConnell would be a pretty strong voice in ... whoops, he's already getting enough face time on TV news.

Posted by: rhody at February 3, 2009 2:03 PM

Are you people all out of your minds?Making political dogfights about a disaster?FEMA is probably in disarray due to the new change in administrations.Obama does need to figure out how to get portable power generation to the affected areas.one of the problems is that the population in those areas is kind of dispersed,unlike in a city,although urban areas are also impacted.
I think an evacuation like after Katrina might be needed fast.

Posted by: joe bernstein at February 3, 2009 2:39 PM

Stipulating (which I don't) that the federal government should be first responder to natural disasters, Steve Gill is correct: it is now clear that a Democrat administration can drop the ball but a Republican admin cannot.

(Hey, Marc, growing up in Maine, did you guys even have electricity ...?)

Posted by: Monique at February 3, 2009 10:29 PM
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