What changed? Obama's flu?

President Obama says he can protect the United States from terrorism, but clearly has not done enough to protect Americans from something much deadlier. “If you can’t get flu vaccines to Americans how are you going to protect them against bioterrorism? If you can’t get flu vaccines to Americans, what kind of health care program are you running?” The failed public health policies of the Obama administration will directly contribute to thousands of preventable deaths this year.

The above, edited to for names, length and identifying circumstances, is from a Watchblog post criticizing the Bush Administration for not being on top of flu vaccine in 2004. The quote is from John Kerry. It is much worse today. How is it that almost nobody connects this to the Obama failure? Presumably the Obama folks had the advantage of the experience of 2004. Might they have learned something?

How about the aftermath of super storm Sandy? People in New York and New Jersey still have not received the relief they need. Back in 2005 when Katrina hit, the media talked a lot about it and blamed President Bush. Today you hear much less about it and when anybody gets blamed it is Republicans in Congress.

They used to Ronald Reagan the Teflon man because nothing seemed to stick to him. Obama has that in spades. He gets away with everything. The difference is interesting. Reagan was a Teflon man IN SPITE of a hostile press. The people loved Reagan much to the chagrin of the chattering classes. In Obama's case, it is the chattering classes that love him. They protect Obama by attacking his enemies and ignoring his mistakes or shifting the blame.

According to the media, it was the President's fault in 2004 when there was a possible flu epidemic and vaccine shortage. The shortage NEVER materialized, BTW. In 2005, it was the President's fault that a hurricane hit the U.S. and relief was slow in coming. BUT according to the media in 2012 when it takes even longer to get relief to the people after a big storm, it is not the President's fault. And in 2013 when a big epidemic actually hits and vaccine shortages develop it is not the Presidents fault. What has changes? Only the name and party of the President, but that makes all the difference.

I am sure others can contribute to the list of things that used to be big problems and or the fault of the President but are not anymore, BUT will be again when the next Republican is elected.

Posted by Christine & John at January 12, 2013 10:17 AM
Comments
Comment #360343

Oh dear. You’ve confused the threat posed by the H5N1 bird flu pandemic in 2004 with the current flu outbreak.

Reading assignment:
Pandemics
Spanish flu
Avian flu
Current flu outbreak

If you become well enough informed to understand the difference between the 2004 situation and today, let me know & we can have a discussion.

As for Sandy… A conservative said it best.

Gov Christie, keynote speaker of the Republican convention and strong candidate for the GOP nomination in 2016, said this:

“The federal government’s response has been great. I was on the phone at midnight again last night with the President, personally, he has expedited the designation of New Jersey as a major disaster area.”

“The President has been outstanding in this and so have the folks at FEMA.”

And the next day:

“The President has been all over this and he deserves great credit.”

Here is Christie on the House GOP and Sandy:

“There is only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner. This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. Natural disasters happen in red states and blue states and states with Democratic governors and Republican governors. We respond to innocent victims of natural disasters, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans. Or at least we did until last night. Last night, politics was placed before oaths to serve our citizens. For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch.”

Christie placed four calls to Boehner, and never received a call back after the initial failure by the House.

“Last night the House of Representatives failed that most basic test of public service, and they did so with callous indifference to the suffering of the people of my state. Sixty-six days and counting — shame on you. Shame on Congress.”

Here is conservative Republican Congressman Peter King:

“I’m saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds.”

Posted by: phx8 at January 12, 2013 4:40 PM
Comment #360345

phx8

So did that 2004 thing kill lots of people in the U.S. I don’t recall that mass carnage. I understand that the supposed threat was different (although it turned out to mostly be hysteria) but the government response in both cases was not to have enough vaccine.

Re Sandy - president Obama talked a good game, but months later people were still in need. In the case of Bush, the press would have pointed this out.

Beyond that, in Katrina nobody blamed anybody except Bush, even though the authorities in Louisiana and New Orleans messed up royally.

You know if Romney had been elected, he would already be getting the blame for Sandy and the flu before even being sworn in.

Posted by: C&J at January 12, 2013 7:08 PM
Comment #360346

There was no “supposed” threat from H5N1. There was a threat. The appearance of a new, very mutable flu strain could have been disastrous. Don’t kid yourself that the Bird Flu was just “hysteria.” The Spanish Flu killed tens of millions. I don’t know if it will be possible to prevent another pandemic, but it’s certainly worth being prepared.

Don’t tell me the media is giving Obama a break over Sandy. Tell Christie and King. Read what they said. It’s quite clear. This is the fault of the Republicans in the House. It’s that simple. If you’d like to refute Christie and King, let me know how those conservative Republicans are wrong.

Posted by: phx8 at January 12, 2013 8:17 PM
Comment #360348

phx8

We have a couple of options here. We can believe that estimates of the threat were overblown or we can believe that whatever the Bush folks did overcame the the threat. Which is it?

I agree when you say ” I don’t know if it will be possible to prevent another pandemic, but it’s certainly worth being prepared.” So why is it that almost a decade after the threat Obama is not prepared?

RE Katrina v Sandy - indeed President Bush and the Republicans who controlled both the House and the Senate moved with remarkable alacrity. I don’t recall the reports at the time giving full credit. Today Obama and the Democrats who control the Senate and the Republicans who control the House cannot do as well.

Let’s look at this scientifically. What changed? Let’s isolate the variable. Okay, Republicans still control the House, but since Democrats now control the Senate and the Presidency things are screwed up. So Obama is doing a poorer job than Bush; Democrats in the Senate are worse than Republicans were in 2005 and Republicans are not as good today as they were back then.

Posted by: C&J at January 12, 2013 8:33 PM
Comment #360350

The flu really! That’s it flu season and the president isn’t protecting you from the flu! Conservatives want another 7 billion spent to mandate flu shots that are 60% effective , is that what you are telling us C&J? Because the threat this season is worst than a terrorist attack! Do conservatives also want Obama to ask Congress for permission to declare martial law? Quarantine everyone in 47 states until the threat passes. Wow what would that do to the econ….. oh now I see.

BTW what “media” blamed GWB for the H5N1 flu shots shortage that never materialized?

Are you sensationalizing this a bit C&J? Comparing the H5N12 to this flu season is well grasping for straws. But then to top it off you blame Obama for the Repub led HOR’s lack of response to Sandy! Have you no shame?

“Even leading Republicans in Congress say the Bush administration has not handled the planning for a possible flu epidemic well.”

http://abcnews.go.com/primetime/investigation/Story?id=1130392&page=1

Posted by: j2t2 at January 12, 2013 9:14 PM
Comment #360351

j2t2

I am not much outraged or worried, but then I wasn’t much outraged or worried in 2004 either.

Back in 2004 we had lots of hysteria but nothing much happened.

So back in 2004 we had a potential problem that didn’t happen. In the Obama time we are having a real epidemic. So which president is getting most criticism?

Posted by: C&J at January 12, 2013 10:01 PM
Comment #360352

The problem with Hurricane Katrina was not the legislation that passed ten days later. It was the week immediately following the storm. Local and state infrastructure was destroyed. The only organization with resources outside the area of destruction was the federal government. And the federal government failed. A notable exception was the Coast Guard.

This kind of failure was a hallmark of the Bush presidency. It was characterized by a lack of preparation, a lack of foresight and planning, and an inability to recognize and effectively address problems once they occurred. It was made even worse by having the wrong people in the wrong positions.

There is a very simple explanation for why the media isn’t blaming Obama for stuff. Occam’s razor. Obama is competent and doing a good job.

There are examples of Republicans who are also competent and doing a good job. Gov Christie seems like a good example. He’s extremely conservative and I don’t agree with his philosophy, (and I think he made a terrible decision cancelling a major infrastructure project early in his term), but usually Christie doesn’t let ideology interfere with governing. That means working with the opposition, compromising, and acting in the best interests of all New Jerseyians.

The Republican House failed to approve aid for the victims of Sandy for over 60 days because of ideology and incompetence.

Posted by: phx8 at January 12, 2013 10:07 PM
Comment #360353

C&J,
OMG. You’re blaming Obama for the flu?

Posted by: phx8 at January 12, 2013 10:08 PM
Comment #360354

So ah C&J you threw in the Sandy thing why?

These perceived slights you think you are feeling C&J may just be figments of an over active imagination. I mean in Asian countries they were killing off chickens by the millions during the avian flu crisis, are they doing that now? Perhaps different circumstances are the reason your feeling like the media isn’t mistreating Obama to the degree you think may be necessary. But my money is on the fact that Obama is much more competent than your guy GWB. Sandy isn’t Katrina and the flu this season isn’t the avian flu it is really that simple. Do you think the blowhards at Faux and other conservative propagandist outlets would not be all over it if there was even a small glimmer of reality …oh wait that isn’t a prerequisite for them is it?

This grasping at straws makes conservatives look small and petty C&J. The media and most people blame the HOR repub leadership for the delays in Sandy help because it is their fault they chose to play politics with it instead of doing their job. The same goes for the flu season, moist people choose not to get their shots, as they are available. GWB on the other hand was blamed because he was doing what he could to make government small, a key conservative principle.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 13, 2013 12:38 AM
Comment #360355

Obama is competent and doing a good job.

LOL, ROFL, LOLROFLOLROFLOLROFLOL!
Bozo can’t even get open his mouth without screwing up. And y’all think he’s competent? If this clown is competent then the clown before him is a genius.

OMG. You’re blaming Obama for the flu?

Of course he’s the blame for the flu. Bush was the blame when he was in office. So Bozo is the blame for the flu now. Y’all can’t have it both ways.
And BTW, since Bush was the blame for Katrina, Obama is the blame for Sandy.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 13, 2013 1:44 AM
Comment #360356

Ron

From what I understand the response to Sandy has been worse than the response to Katrina. You won’t hear that reported by the MSM though. Their not talking much about all the pork that the politicians are trying to tack on to any relief bills designed to help the Sandy victims, but they’ll replay that idiot Schumer scolding republicans in the house for refusing to pass that pork laden monstrosity all day long.

Posted by: dbs at January 13, 2013 7:59 AM
Comment #360357

phx8 & j2t2

If you look at the original post, do you think I am blaming Obama for the flu. If so, I will remind you that I took that text from Watchblog of 2004 and a quote by John Kerry. It was written about Bush and flu season that ended up a lot less deadly than it looks like we will experience 2012/3.

I wonder how things Bush got blamed for, Obama gets away with.

Re Sandy - since you probably don’t watch Fox News, you didn’t see the destruction and the people without homes, power or help for days. This was indeed a very interesting thing to see. In the case of New Orleans, the news media was thick as flies on horse manure, with their stories of woe. I think they were true. In the wake of Sandy, they just didn’t show up. This is how media bias works. It is not in what they say, but what they cover or not.

I saw that in Iraq where people like you never saw the truth. When things were bad, reporters were all over the place. They never came back to show the success we achieved in 2007-8. In fact, they would still run two year old footage when talking about my cities.

I have had a lot of experience with how reporting works and how it can be manipulated. I don’t think most journalists do it on purpose, but they follow their pre-decided narrative. Liberal journalist think Obama is good and besieged by nefarious forces. It affects their reporting.

Re smaller government - I love government and want to restore its virtue. It is indeed too big. Sometimes more can be accomplished if you focus priorities. If you try to do everything for everybody, you do nothing well. We ask too much of government and do it at the wrong level. The Federal government is unsuited to micromanaging local affairs, and it gets too much involved in those things today. Too many ask it to create “social justice” to an extent that it cannot.

We need a renewal of the values of good but limited government. Limited government doesn’t mean weak government, but it does mean that we do for ourselves in conditions of prosperity. We can learn from past success and failure of both left and right in our American tradition, but we should not “go back” to any time in our past, since the world has changed. We have new opportunities and challenges. We need to take advantage of what we have. We can support a less hierarchical system with decentralized autonomous decision making, more in line with the dignity of free people. We elect a president and congress to facilitate what we want, but they work for us, not the other way around.

Posted by: C&J at January 13, 2013 9:16 AM
Comment #360358

dbs
Of course the MSM ain’t reporting the slow response to Sandy for two reasons.
1. There’s a democrat in the White House
2. The victims of Sandy are working White folks.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 13, 2013 9:31 AM
Comment #360359

I never watched FOXNews, and I saw plenty of destruction. I saw Obama respond immediately, shelving other plans he did to monitor the situation directly. The leaders of the hardest hit areas had nothing but praise for his response, even the Republican Governor of the state hardest hit.

The simple fact is, You want a Katrina scandal. You want Obama to be blamed for everything Bush was, so Bush can be blamed for nothing at all, as everybody else is as incompetent as he is.

But Obama is not as incompetent as Bush was, and that’s not the media creating that impression. Bush was willing to go do fundraising elsewhere, including one where a country music artist handed him a guitar, while the crap went down in Louisiana.

Obama, on the other hand, made sure he was at the nerve center of things.

New Jersey natives hit by the disaster didn’t have to wait for help to come. There weren’t excuses about big government being inherently inefficient, like Haley Barbour gave. No, Obama acted, to the best of his ability.

What’s really slowing things down now is Congress, who doesn’t seem to understand the political problem demanding fiscal offsets for the sake of disaster relief creates. However much you want to spread blame around, your people are still the ones behaving like clueless ideologues.

Which brings me to this BS about the flu response. Where’s your article? Where’s the evidence of Obama being slow to respond to the Flu Epidemic? In a free country like ours, tied to global transportation networks, nobody can prevent epidemics. You are not required to get a flu shot.

But so far, the only complaint I was able to dig up was Rush Limbaugh floating some cute conspiracy theory on Obama making a big deal out of the outbreak to hide his economic problems.

It’s malice, not merit, which drives your entry here. You want to bring Obama down into the mud your party wallowed in, so nobody can say that there’s a clean alternative to the GOP. Unfortunately, your friends in Congress have taken their failure to take care of business down to a science, and worst of all, the conformist, well-primed responses of people like you actually convinces them that this is a good idea for the party, politically.

In a Democracy, it is purposefully difficult to rollback government beyond what people want. You crossed the threshold a long time ago, and Katrina was part of it. You have no where solid to stand here, on this issue, to criticize anybody else on.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 13, 2013 11:14 AM
Comment #360360
From what I understand the response to Sandy has been worse than the response to Katrina.

To do so dbs you must believe the governor of New Jersey is lying to the public about the help he received from the feds. That Rep King is wrong about placing the blame for the funding delays where they belong, the repub leadership in the HOR. You listen to the propagandist and think it is news, you are wrong.

Ron GWB let ideology get in the way of leadership on many issues, Katrina and the Avian flu being but two. He worked hard to make government small. He lowered the bar, Obama is setting the bar quite a bit higher despite the obstructionism of the teabaggers in Congress. Sorry for your luck guys but trying to make believe the devastation from Sandy should all be repaired by the feds within days is conservative mythology.

Your insistence on blaming Obama because GWB was blamed is a complete lapse of logic, my friend. Conservatives seem to feel the need to blame government for all the evils of the world. When they do it revels the lack of critical thinking necessary for one to fall for the mythology they have created. A sorry state to be in Ron, makes it hard to see the truth.

Re smaller government - I love government and want to restore its virtue.

C&J defending GWB does little to restore virtue that was lost due to GWB. He and his fellow conservatives worked hard to make government small. While growing it in size he did make it small in many virtues, small in accountability, small in integrity to name just two. Some in the media became aware of this and did their job. Others in the media covered it up, Faux and many conservative propagandist outlets that pass for news outlets are an example.

You can use the flu season and Sandy response but less ideological driven repubs have already disproved the myth you attempt to create. The hole in your balloon was there before you started blowing it up.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 13, 2013 11:16 AM
Comment #360362

Ron Brown, don’t forget:

3. They’re not floating drowned dead in their kitchens or dead from heatstroke in their attics

Posted by: Adam Ducker at January 13, 2013 11:36 AM
Comment #360363

I have to say, this is one of the lamest copnservative cases on WB I’ve seen in a long time. The gist of the conservative argument seems to be that although even though the Republicans in NJ and NY say otherwise, Obama has actually messed up, and the media are not reporting it. Why are the media not reporting this problem? It’s a conspiracy.

Really, guys. Can’t you do better than this? Is Republican Gov Christie, RNC keynote speaker and possibly your next nominee, and Republican Representitive Peter King in on the conspiracy too?

There’s only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims: The House majority and their Speaker John Boehner. Last night, my party was responsible for this.”
Gov Christie

“I’m saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds, because what they did last night was put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans.”
Representative Peter King (R)


Posted by: phx8 at January 13, 2013 11:55 AM
Comment #360364
We need a renewal of the values of good but limited government. Limited government doesn’t mean weak government, but it does mean that we do for ourselves in conditions of prosperity. We can learn from past success and failure of both left and right in our American tradition, but we should not “go back” to any time in our past, since the world has changed. We have new opportunities and challenges. We need to take advantage of what we have. We can support a less hierarchical system with decentralized autonomous decision making, more in line with the dignity of free people. We elect a president and congress to facilitate what we want, but they work for us, not the other way around.

C&J Well said, I’m impressed. Rising out of this small minded post is something worthy of discussion. IMHO it rates it’s own thread.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 13, 2013 12:02 PM
Comment #360365

Stephen

“I saw Obama respond immediately, shelving other plans he did to monitor the situation directly.”

Yeah - exactly the right political idea and exactly the wrong thing to do. Where the president goes thousands of reporters and strap hangers follow. What does Obama know about disaster relief? He gets in the way.

Here is what resulted from Obama’s personal intervention

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2257161/Hurricane-Sandy-victim-Donna-Vanzant-embraced-Obama-heartbroken-receiving-standardized-letter.html

Obama fooled people like you who think words and gestures are all that you need to do.

So Obama is in charge in 2012 and the Federal government does an incomplete job of disaster relief. Bush is in charge in 2004 and the Feds do a slightly better job. So who gets castigated more?

Of course, Sandy helped get Obama reelected and that is all he cares about. Those people he promised to help were mere props in his theater performance.

Re my motive for posting - I found a post re Bush and it applied to Obama. Actually, I should have found one of YOUR posts to use. You are so good at hating conservatives but giving liberals a free pass at the same thing.

j2t2

Re small government - did you hear me defending Bush? I am just pointing out that Obama did no better and maybe worse.

At the time of Katrina I did not defend Bush except to say that we cannot expect the Federal government to do all the things people were asking of it. I think that is true today too. I am pointing out Obama cannot make it do any better.

So my argument is that Obama is not much worse than Bush. Both are working with a system that cannot deliver all the promised politicians make for it. I don’t find that particularly distressing, but it does mean we need to expect less.

In both Katrina and Sandy, the fasted and best responses were made by NGOs and private firms. First response is the duty of local authorities. The Federal role should be to facilitate and coordinate large responses. But we should all know that when a really big storm strikes, things will be messed up for a while. No amount of planning can change that. In fact, too much planning and Federal - especially presidential - action will make it worse.

Re smaller - I actually have responsibility to run an operation. Whenever I come to a new job, I try to focus limited resources on crucial priorities, things that we can do best, things that others cannot or won’t do and things that fit with our mission. There are some things we cannot do, no matter how much we want to do them or how great it would be if accomplished.

I apply this to all organizations. The Federal government is and MUST be structured as bureaucracy. Why? Because we cannot allow unelected officials the scope to innovate in ways that would violate the rules made by elected officials. Bureaucracy can do many things very well, but it doesn’t move quickly and it cannot innovate. If you have a problem where a bureaucratic structure is the appropriate tool, you can ask the government to do it. If your task requires nimble innovation, you need to go somewhere else.

Government has a crucial role to play in our society, but it needs to do what it actually can do and not just flow into everywhere someone perceives a problem.

I know you guys will not understand what I have written and will come back with some sort of attack on Bush or conservatism in general. But why don’t you try to explain to me how government can function w/o using a rule based bureaucracy to execute its programs. Then tell me how a rules based system can innovate over a wide spectrum of needs.

I have explained to you before that government is necessary to create conditions of prosperity and that government funding of basic research has been a wonderful success, but government management of economic processes has never worked in the long run. We are sometimes tricked when we see government working well in short term emergency situations. But that presupposes a firm goal, as in WWI, ans a time frame of no more than a few years.

You may now deploy your slogans and hatred.


Posted by: C&J at January 13, 2013 12:20 PM
Comment #360367

j2t2

Excuse my snide comment just above. Thanks for actually reading the post. I may indeed write another post, but my “best” posts tend to get few comments or at least few comments related to the subject.

Posted by: C&J at January 13, 2013 12:45 PM
Comment #360368

Stephen

“New Jersey natives hit by the disaster didn’t have to wait for help to come.”

they’re still waiting. A photo op isn’t the same as actually doing something.

“What’s really slowing things down now is Congress, who doesn’t seem to understand the political problem demanding fiscal offsets for the sake of disaster relief creates.”

“fiscal offsets” ? You mean pork unrelated to actually funding just disaster relief? That’s hilarious !


j2t2


“To do so dbs you must believe the governor of New Jersey is lying to the public about the help he received from the feds. That Rep King is wrong about placing the blame for the funding delays where they belong, the repub leadership in the HOR.”

The only thing stopping that relief bill was the unwillingness of career politicians in both parties to allow it to progress in a pure unporked form. Guess you can’t blame them though since there’s been no budget to attach that crap to in a few years. Gotta get your face in the feeding trough some how.

phx8

“Is Republican Gov Christie, RNC keynote speaker and possibly your next nominee,”

That fat f—-ing crybaby will never get my vote. He was elected to clean up the mess in NJ created by the democrats. He of all people should understand what was holding it up. He then has the nerve to whine about repulicans being unwilling to pass a relief bill laden with pork. Screw him !

Posted by: dbs at January 13, 2013 3:08 PM
Comment #360369

dbs,
You do know, don’t you, that the GOP can strip the bill that came back from the Senate of any so-called ‘pork,’ send it back, and it can be immediately passed, right?

There are three reasons that doesn’t happen.

1) Some of the so-called pork comes from fellow Republicans; for example, the $150 million to Alaskan fisheries was inserted by Republicans. The money is to help those AK fisheries cope with disasters.

2) 95% of all the money for the Sandy bill is directly related to coping with disasters- mostly for Sandy, with an additional small percentage for other disasters. It’s money well spent. It needs to be done. There’s no reason not to deal with these disaster issues in one bill.

3) The reason the GOP refused to act on Sandy had NOTHING to do with pork. That only became the story line AFTER fellow Republicans from the Northeast excorciated the extremist Republicans in the House. The extremists were holding NJ and NY hostage. Plain and simple. The House GOP wanted offsetting cuts to the Food Stamp program, and they refused to act unless those cuts took place.

This isn’t the first time. They played the same game when a tornado devastated Joplin, MO. In that case, they demanded offsetting cuts to green programs in exchange for disaster relief.

By the way, many of those extremist House Republicans that stalled the Sandy relief bill didn’t hesitate to accept disaster relief for their own districts when the need arose. It wasn’t ‘pork’ when it was their own districts suffering.

Dbs, these extremist House Republicans are bad news. To put it simply: if they want spending cuts, then pass spending cuts; don’t hold Americans suffering from disasters, like Sandy or Joplin, as hostages in order to implement an agenda of unrelated spending cuts that most Americans don’t want in the first place.

Posted by: phx8 at January 13, 2013 3:55 PM
Comment #360371

You do agree then phx8 that extreme Democrats are bad news also? Or do you give them a pass?

Posted by: KAP at January 13, 2013 4:58 PM
Comment #360372

KAP,
It doesn’t work that way, KAP.

The Democratic Party has not changed much over the past 20 years. The GOP has. The Republican Party has moved very far to the right, and seems bent on moving even farther.

Three or four decades ago, Obama would have been indistinguishable from other a moderate Republicans such as Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush #41, and many many others.

The GOP has become very extreme. With the recent so-called fiscal cliff legislation, roughly 80 conservative Republicans joined Democrats in passing the compromise legislation. Roughly 150 extremist Republicans refused to compromise.

These are the same extremists who refused to pass the Sandy relief bill through the House.

These extremists have no equivalent among Democrats.

They threaten to plunge the country into an economic depression by refusing to raise the debt ceiling if their agenda is not enacted. They threaten a government shut down if their agenda is not enacted. They threaten to not enact relief bills for Americans if their agenda is not enacted. Compromising that agenda simply isn’t an option for them.

Not only is compromise frowned upon, the opposition must- in their eyes- always be wrong, in all cases. It’s impossible for them to give Obama credit for competence under any circumstances.

In broad terms, these extremists tend to be older, white, and mostly male. They often follow Limbaugh, Beck, and others. They usually oppose government spending, but only if that applies to social programs. Defense spending? No problem. Corporate welfare? No problem. Benefits for rich? No problem. In foreigh policy, they are Neocons. These are the first to demand “boots on the ground,” to engage in Benghazi and Fast and Furious conspiracy theory. They include Birthers and Global Warming Denialists.

The closest equivalent in American history would be their immediate political ancestors, the Birchers.

Posted by: phx8 at January 13, 2013 5:47 PM
Comment #360373

You explained it quite well with your first sentence phx8. Democrats good, Republicans bad. NEWS FLASH phx8 both sides have their extreme idiots, you can defend one and bash the other, but when the truth comes out BOTH sides are to blame for the mess this country is in, you show your partisian bias when you shove the blame to one side.

Posted by: KAP at January 13, 2013 5:59 PM
Comment #360374

phx8

It takes both sides to be extreme. President Obama said that he won’t accept cuts without more revenue. That means he wants to grow government permanently above what it was under President Clinton.

“these extremists tend to be older, white, and mostly male” this sounds like Obama’s cabinet. It interesting how Obama has manged not to have much diversity and yet he gets away. Maybe he needs some binders full of women.

Posted by: C&J at January 13, 2013 6:04 PM
Comment #360376

KAP & C&J,
There’s a difference between partisanship and extremism. A partisan may be a fervent adherent, but still capable of putting aside differences to compromise and work in the common interest. An extremist will not compromise. An extremist is an ideologue who will actually threaten the common interest in order to advance an agenda.

I may be partisan. Gov Christie may be partisan. Most people who care enough to follow politics are partisans. But that doesn’t mean I’m an extremist. I’m willing to support compromise. In the case of Sandy, I’m more than willing to put aside differences and provide immediate relief to those people. They’re Americans and I don’t care about their politics. The right thing to do is clear cut and obvious and it needs to be done.

As for Obama’s cabinet… He received a figurative black eye for not nominating a more diverse group, and deservedly so. Ambassador Rice would have brought diversity to the cabinet. Unfortunately, she was brought down by Benghazi conspiracy theory. Still, Obama needs to do better, and I think he knows it.

Posted by: phx8 at January 13, 2013 6:28 PM
Comment #360377

“In both Katrina and Sandy, the fasted and best responses were made by NGOs and private firms.”

C&J,

Nonsense! I can tell you from first hand experience that the fastest and most effective response is from the federal government in a environmental disaster.

In 1992, the eye of Hurricane Andrew passed directly over our house. It destroyed the entire infrastructure of South Dade County, Florida. Local and state resources were entirely inadequate to respond to the disaster. NGOs were nowhere to be seen initially and were insignificant in the long run. However, FEMA and other federal resources, including military support units and law enforcement agencies, responded quickly and were invaluable in providing basic life support, supply transportation, generators, law enforcement, etc. Streams of helicopters passed over my house hourly delivering supplies, federal marshalls were patrolling the streets, etc.

At the time, GH Bush initially received some heat for an inadequate federal response. But, in retrospect, the federal government provided enormous assistance that could not have been provided by local, state and private resources.

That is not to dismiss the efforts of the private sector. The work of the utility companies was truly unbelievable in reconstructing the entire grid. The trash removal job was enormous and carried out very efficiently.

The problem with the Sandy response and why state and local politicians like Christie are upset is that it takes money to get many of the clean up and reconstruction services into high gear. The blocking of the Sandy federal aid package by House Republicans has unnecessarily delayed much of that effort. State and local officials can’t let contracts for much of the clean up and reconstruction without passage. Federal insurance payments (flood insurance) and FEMA grants/loans cannot get into the hands of property owners to begin repairs.

Governor Christie knows who has helped and who has hindered the response. He points the finger at House Republicans. He praises the Obama administration for its assistance. Why would he do that if it wasn’t true?


Posted by: Rich at January 13, 2013 6:45 PM
Comment #360378

Being partisian dosen’t mean you are extreme you are right there. IMO there should have been more compromise these past years but blameing one side for the gridlock when both sides have acted like little kids wanting the same toy is rediculous. We need adults in congress not ideologue children there. That is why I blame both sides for the crap we are in.

Posted by: KAP at January 13, 2013 6:54 PM
Comment #360379

phx8

Presumably Obama has chosen the people who he thinks are best qualified for the job. I have no trouble with that. I just think it is amusing that Obama has discovered that excellence is better than “inclusion”.

Re extremism - Obama is being very extreme since the election. He was willing to take us over the cliff.


Rich

“At the time, GH Bush initially received some heat for an inadequate federal response. But, in retrospect, the federal government provided enormous assistance …”

This is always the fate of conservatives. When it no longer matters our liberal friends concede that we did good jobs.

It is funny now that Bush’s handling of Katrina looks better in relation to Obama’s handling of Sandy.

The Feds can do a lot, but generally not over long times or in complex situations.

Re Federal flood insurance - it should be phased out. It encourages people to build in places that are vulnerable. It is bad for the environment and bad for the budget. If nobody will insure your property except government, there is probably a good reason why and you house is in the wrong place. We should protect those already on the roles but take on no new customers.


Posted by: C&J at January 13, 2013 7:29 PM
Comment #360380

“It is funny now that Bush’s handling of Katrina looks better in relation to Obama’s handling of Sandy.”

C&J,

That appears to be in your eyes only. Most, including some very prominent Republicans disagree.

The federal response to any major disaster is always going to be less than adequate. That is the nature of the beast.

In Katrina, the criticism of the Bush administration wasn’t that the administration didn’t deal effectively with every problem. No reasonable person could have expected it to. Rather, it was that the administration appeared indifferent to the developing problems and failed to recognize or acknowledge the depth of the problems. The debacle at the Superdome highlighted that assessment.

In Sandy, deliberately blocking appropriations for relief aid has been the major culprit in minimizing the federal effort. As you well know, the major clean up and relief is provided by private contractors funded by the federal appropriations. Stop the money, slow the relief.

Posted by: Rich at January 13, 2013 8:35 PM
Comment #360384

3. They’re not floating drowned dead in their kitchens or dead from heatstroke in their attics

No they weren’t. But that might be because they are used to doing for themselves and left before the storm hit. Instead of waiting for someone to come carry them out. And of course the flooding wasn’t as bad because none of the effected area is below sea level. Not a very bright place to build a city.
But what I fond interesting after Katrina is that the liberal MSN only concentrated on New Orleans. Mississippi and Alabama suffered more damage and had more deaths. But all the attention was on how bad folks that didn’t have sense enough to get out had it.

By nature FEMA is going to be slow reacting to any disaster. It’s a government bureaucracy and doesn’t know how to react with out creating 20 miles of red tape.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 13, 2013 11:25 PM
Comment #360385

Ron Brown,
“… the liberal MSN only concentrated on New Orleans. Mississippi and Alabama suffered more damage and had more deaths.”

No. 1,577 people died in LA, 238 in MI, and 2 in AL.

Once again, you imagine some sort of liberal media conspiracy taking place, and once again, you are absolutely, 100% wrong.

Posted by: phx8 at January 13, 2013 11:38 PM
Comment #360386

How many of those 1577 people would have been alive today phx8 if the govenor of La. and the mayor of N.O. would have heeded warnings and evacuated the city? They had plenty of warning and we all seen the pictures of parked school buses that could have been utilized. The govenor should have had the La. National guard on standby to drive those buses when needed. Those deaths were because of lack of state and local planning, knowing this wasn’t the first cat 5 hurricane to hit N.O. While the MSM beat up on Bush the first responders should have been the govenor and mayor, but alas they were both Democrats, and the irony of the thing is the dumba**’ of N.O. re elected the idiot mayor.

Posted by: KAP at January 14, 2013 12:09 AM
Comment #360387

KAP,
I was there, and I was in the evacuation. The state and local governments did their jobs. The television gave warning as well. A policeman came to the door and knocked to warn us to leave.

We flew into NO and we drove in a taxi past the Superdome. A lot of people were already leaving, even though at that point it was not a sure thing the hurricane would even hit. I looked at that Superdome, which I knew was the evacuation center, and made the decision right then that I would not go there.

Everyone in NO knew about the approaching hurricane. EVERYONE. It’s kind of hard not to notice a mass evacuation! Even up to the time of the evacuation order, I was willing and prepared to stay and ride it out. We bought food, and the place where I was staying was built in 1865, so the chances of it surviving the storm seemed good. I didn’t have a car anyway, so staying was a real possibility. As it turned out, the ownders of the house loaned me a car, even though I was a relative stranger. They’re wonderful people…

So don’t believe the conservative talking points about Katrina. They are not true. I was there. I know.

Posted by: phx8 at January 14, 2013 12:29 AM
Comment #360388

Everyone in NO knew about the approaching hurricane. EVERYONE.

Then why didn’t everyone get the f*** out?
Why didn’t that idiot mayor order the school buses used to get folks out?
Why did folks wait for someone to come get them and not get out on their own?
If I was in the path of a cat 5 hurricane, and didn’t have my own transportation, I’d walk if I had to, but I’d be getting may ass out of there.
That idiot mayor failed the folks in New Orleans when he didn’t use the school buses to evacuate folks. Just how can you say with a straight face that he did his job? Or maybe the folks in the 9th ward don’t live in New Orleans, so it wasn’t his job to do what ever it took to get them out.
Why would anyone in their right mind live below sea level?
And why in hell would you want to go to New Orleans knowing a cat 5 hurricane was coming?

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 14, 2013 12:55 AM
Comment #360389

The stories about corruption in LA politics might be true. It’s not so much Democrats v Republicans, or liberals v conservatives, as power blocks and families lined up against one another. I don’t think there’s another state quite like it. However, the problem with Katrina wasn’t a local problem. A common talking point is that school buses were not used to evacuate people. That’s true. What people fail to realize is that Katrina hit on a weekend near the end of summer vacation. School was out, and there were no drivers.

The problem and the real shame came AFTER the storm hit.

It’s hard to comprehend just what happens when the local infrastructure is destroyed. For example… Cell phones don’t work. To this day, my wife won’t let me disconnect our landline, and it’s because of our experience with Katrina. She doesn’t trust cell phones. They fail in a catastrophe like Katrina, and it’s a huge headache not being able to communicate while fleeing.

The point is, once local and state infrastructure fails, it means someone outside the area needs to step in, namely, the federal government. And with the notable exception of the Coast Guard- those people were awesome- except for them, the federal government failed to respond for about a week. It was an absolute disgrace.

Posted by: phx8 at January 14, 2013 1:06 AM
Comment #360390

Yes phx8 the mandatory evacuation order was given Sunday morning and the hurricane hit Monday, plenty of time to evacuate a city the size of N.O. NOT!! Especially when the vehicles that could have been used were still parked after the hurricane hit. Piss poor job I would say for the state and local officials wouldn’t you say so. I saw the pictures of the mass parking lot they had on the interstate getting out of N.O. more PISS POOR planning I would say. I’ll give the people credit who loaned you the car they knew it was going to be bad. One thing I’ll bet on is the next time a cat 5 bears down on N.O. people will leave till it’s over.

Posted by: KAP at January 14, 2013 1:08 AM
Comment #360412

Most school districts bus drivers come back every year. And the ones that ain’t coming back are replaced by Aug 29. If New Orleans is like every other school district they have the names and phone numbers of all their drivers. Also there is a couple things called radio and TV.
All that stupid idiot mayor Nagin had to do is have the drivers called and have the TV and radio announce that all drivers had to report for evacuation duty. But instead he chose to let his constituents die. Stupid Ass Negin is at fault for those deaths. In fact he’s a murderer.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 14, 2013 8:58 AM
Comment #360413

I think blaming both sides is moronic when it’s clear that one side in particular is changing the game and moving the goalposts on what is normal. Tell me, is it normal for the Executive branch to request disaster funds after a disaster? Yes! Is it normal for Congress to withhold it?

No.

It is also abnormal to hold up the debt ceiling the way the Republicans are. There’s a lot of recent Republican behavior that strongly deviates from the norm, no matter how much that side tries to rationalize it.

And the screwiest thing about it? Most of it isn’t helping to really cut the deficit. It’s just helping to kill the economy, which will make the deficit worse. Republicans have got to stop actingly like a 2.5 trillion dollar budget in a 15 trillion dollar economy has an insignificant effect. They’ve got to stop thinking in bumper stickers, and start appreciating that system they seem set to bring down about our ears.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 14, 2013 11:55 AM
Comment #360419

What is MORONIC is being so party blind Stephen,

Posted by: KAP at January 14, 2013 2:28 PM
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