Obama Campaign and the Media Try to Capitalize on Hurricane Sandy

Earlier yesterday, Team Obama was in full campaign mode despite the impending perils of the historical Hurricane Sandy.  Bill Clinton fired the original shot, fully politicizing the disastrous storm that was wreaking havoc on the east coast, essentially going with an ‘if you think this storm is bad, wait until you see what happens if you vote Republican’ blast.  

No doubt, had this been a Romney surrogate making such comparisons, the Republican candidate would quickly be scolded as out of touch, and not ready to take the reins of the Presidency.

Instead we have a completely different approach with your liberal media.  The Huffington Post ran a fact-less piece in which they accuse Romney of wanting to abolish the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  MSNBC also took their cue from the Obama campaign, politicizing the disaster by running an article explaining why Romney (as if he is the current President) is not ready for Hurricane Sandy.

And lest you thought this talking point was simply going to melt into the background as word of the devastating impact of the storm began to circulate, the New York Times echoed the theme with a major op-ed published today on why Big Government is necessary to deal with a big storm, specifically attacking Mitt Romney while hailing the efforts of President Obama.

The problem here is that the story is unfounded, and the real story of devastating cuts to FEMA are being completely ignored.

In all of the above media examples, the Republican candidate is portrayed as wanting to decimate FEMA, with the Times even going so far as to say that Republicans in general oppose “the idea of free aid for poor people”.  By contrast, the President is painted as the savior for such a necessary big government entity.

Since Clinton and the media have opened the door however, let’s go ahead and kick it in with a healthy dose of reality, analyzing exactly what the Obama administration will mean in terms of disaster relief through the President’s budget sequestration proposal.

Its effects on FEMA will be, in a word, disastrous.

First off, we’ll begin by noting that the idea of sequestration generated from the White House itself, despite efforts by the President to place blame on Congress.

The Washington Post’s fact-checker flatly called the idea of sequestration “a White House gambit”, buoyed by a Bob Woodward book called The Price of Politics, in which members of the Obama administration proposed the idea to Senator Harry Reid.  The following excerpt (p. 339) explains the idea as presented by White House staff:

“Lew, Nabors, Sperling and Bruce Reed, Biden’s chief of staff, had finally decided to propose using language from the 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction law as the model for the trigger. It seemed tough enough to apply to the current situation. It would require a sequester with half the cuts from defense, and the other half from domestic programs.”

So what exactly do these sequestration budget cuts to domestic programs entail?

According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB):

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency Will Be Hit With $878 Million In Cuts.
  • FEMA’s Disaster Relief Funding Will Be Hit With The Largest Cut At $580 Million
  • FEMA’s State & Local Programs Would Receive $183 Million In Cuts

What’s more, the OMB report explains just how devastating the Obama sequestration will be in other areas, along with FEMA:

“On the nondefense side, sequestration would undermine investments vital to economic growth, threaten the safety and security of the American people, and cause severe harm to programs that benefit the middle-class, seniors, and children. … The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s ability to respond to incidents of terrorism and other catastrophic events would be undermined.”

Read that again.  The ability to respond to catastrophic events – such as Sandy – would be undermined by a political gambit straight from the White House.

The fact that Democrats and the liberal media would jump on what they see as an opportunity in the wake of the Hurricane Sandy tragedy, and an obscure sound bite from months ago, to paint Mitt Romney as a heartless slasher of government programs is bad enough.

Not accurately reporting that the man currently serving as President will actually slash that government program, is a disaster in and of itself.

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