Democrats & Liberals Archives

Drastic Contrast

Hurricane Katrina made brilliantly clear the drastic contrast of Democratic and Republican approaches to governing. Republicans believe in the “ownership society”: you are on your own trying to own what you can. This leads them to encourage business and discourage helping the poor. So FEMA does not get high priority. Democrats believe USA should be a “community of communities”: all of us, rich and poor alike, sometimes need and should get government help. They want FEMA to have the highest priority.

President Bush and the Bush Republicans help business and squeeze the poor every chance they get. Here are a few recent Republican actions with reference to Katrina:

  • The Shaw Group Inc, a major corporate client of lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of FEMA, has been tapped to start recovery work along the Gulf Coast

  • Halliburton Company, the company that did such a wonderful job in Iraq, has also been tapped for Katrina recovery work

  • Bechtel National Inc., a unit of San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp., has been selected to provide short-term housing for people displaced by the hurricane

  • Bush suspended the Davis-Bacon act that calls for employees of a corporation on government contract getting the prevailing wage. It's OK for employees to make less but not corporations
Democrats, in contrast, are more concerned with the victims of Katrina. Here are responses of 2 Democratic leaders, each a prospective candidate for the presidency:
  • Senator Hillary Clinton - She was very upset that FEMA, which performed excellently during Bill Clinton's administration, was shoved into the Homeland Security Department and given a smaller budget. She said:

    "I think there should be an independent commission. I don't believe the government should investigate itself and . . . I have no confidence in this government investigating itself. We need to be focused on helping these people. The thousands of people who I talked to have no idea where they're going to go next . . . . That's what we should worry about. So I want an independent commission to investigate because I don't believe it's appropriate for this government to investigate itself and because I think we should focus on recovery efforts. We should do it now, though. We should pass this legislation, get it signed, get [the commission] appointed."

  • John Edwards - The Katrina fiasco demonstrated to all of America that Edwards' "2 Americas," one doing well and the other suffering, is indeed a clear picture of our country, The response of Edwards is a little different from that of Clinton. He has formed what he calls a New America Initiative, which focuses on the needs of the victims and the improvement of their future. He puts it in the form of a petition to the president:

    President Bush

    The victims of Hurricane Katrina need the opportunity to rebuild their communities and to make life better than it was before.

    Our New America Initiative would create such opportunity. Under the New America Initiative, our government would provide the victims of this disaster with the skills, materials, and planning they need to resurrect and revitalize their region, and they would in turn have good-paying jobs and the pride of knowing that their futures are in their own hands.

    Please make the New America Initiative a priority as you plan for this region's future.

    By giving those who have suffered a stake

If you want to help the victims rather than corporations coming in for the kill, sign the petition.

Posted by Paul Siegel at September 12, 2005 3:23 PM