Let’s start with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In 2011, Romney said the agency should not be funded at the federal level and that emergency relief should be pushed down to the states or better yet, to the private sector. I can only hope that Governor Romney was thinking about non-profits in the private sector because we have seen time and time again that when profit is applied to human lives, suffering ensues.
The profit motive works for products. You make a better product than the next guy and sell it for as much as the market will bear. That is capitalism at its best. The profit motive does not work for human beings. You privatize education and only the rich get educated. You privatize health insurance and the sick lose their insurance or worse, can’t get any at all. You privatize the military and you get mercenaries accountable to no one and out of control. You privatize the prison system and you get perverse incentives to convict more folks to fill more prisons, to make more money. Mitt Romney, inebriated on his own wealth and out of touch with regular people, does not understand that money changes everything. When profit becomes a component in the equation, it invariably becomes the most important component and people suffer.
The power and importance of federal government intervention was demonstrated by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie whose state was torn asunder by Sandy. Within two weeks of trashing the President for incompetence, the Governor was forced to be honest this week and give Barack Obama his due, while putting the Romney campaign in proper perspective during days of tragedy.
As I watched Chris Christie at the Republican Convention in August, it was obvious he was phoning it in. It took a full half of his speech to go by before he even mentioned Romney by name. Christie is a straight shooter. He’s real. We all know the truth. Christie sold his soul for political expediency supporting a guy half-heartedly for the sake of the party. This week, Christie found his soul again. His exchange with that doofus Steve Doocy of Fox News was as close to an endorsement of Obama as we’ll ever get from Christie as well as a total dismissal of trivial Mitt.
Furthermore, Hurricane Sandy reminds us that not only do we not build and run our businesses totally on our own, but that we cannot rebuild them totally on our own. The Small Business Administration is offering loans to businesses that need to recover from Sandy. In times of crisis this nonsense about Obama’s supposed comment “you didn’t build that” is shown for the distorted lie that it is. In an Obama administration, we help each other and the government provides for the general welfare of the people as our Constitution intended. In a Romney administration it is each man for himself, relying on the kindness of charity.
Speaking of charity, Sandy also gave Romney another opportunity to be opportunistic. On Tuesday as the horror of Sandy’s aftermath was revealed to the nation, Mitt Romney chose not to cancel a campaign event in Ohio but instead, in the most half-assed fashion, convert the event into a “storm relief event”. Because the decision to turn pure politics into charity was made at the last-minute, vestiges of politics remained, such as press passes emblazoned with “victory rally” and a campaign video displayed to the audience on a jumbo-tron, two things you wouldn’t expect to see at a charity event. Just to make sure that the intended purpose of the event was achieved, a photo-op of Romney taking action, the campaign hedged its bets and bought supplies just in case the invited audience did not bring any donations. Then those participants who wanted to meet Mr. Romney were instructed to hand him their donation or take a campaign-bought donation and give that to Romney. Yes, you read that right. Rally participants were given campaign-purchased props to make it appear they were giving donations to Romney’s “relief effort”. So, again, Mitt tries to win public favor through lies and deception.
In addition to the charity/campaign rally and its disingenuous image manipulation, a finer point emerged that the target of the donations, the Red Cross, is very clear that they prefer to receive money or blood donations, not supplies. Receiving supplies only adds to their logistical nightmares during a disaster. This was made evident in the Red Cross statement of thanks to the Romney campaign for their effort:
“The American Red Cross appreciates the support from the Romney campaign and is working with the campaign to process this donation of supplies,” Ann Marie Borrego, a Red Cross spokeswoman, said in a statement. “We are grateful that both the Obama and Romney campaigns have also encouraged the public to send financial donations to the Red Cross. We encourage individuals who want to help to consider making a financial donation or making an appointment to give blood.” — from a CNN report.
Notice that Ms. Borrego doesn’t encourage folks to send canned goods. I have read some bloggers point out that some organizations like the Salvation Army do accept supplies. That’s all well and good but Romney didn’t target the Salvation Army. He targeted the Red Cross. Why didn’t his staff research the Red Cross preference? Why didn’t they call the Red Cross and ask “how can we help”? They didn’t do it because that would not have provided the good photo-op. Imagine photos of folks lining up to give Mitt Romney cash and checks! Not the image he wanted floating around a week from election day.
Sandy, a study in contrasts. While Barack Obama is doing his job working with a Governor who savaged him only within the past two weeks, Mitt Romney launches a phony relief effort against the backdrop of his disdain for FEMA which he considers an “immoral” waste of Federal money. Please note that the Romney campaign has walked back previous comments about FEMA. Just like they take two sides of every debate to take advantage of the moment.
One Last Lie Before Election Day
Romney is running ads in Ohio implying that auto production jobs at GM and Chrysler are moving to China. It prompted the following responses from two companies.
“The ad is cynical campaign politics at its worst,” Greg Martin, a spokesman for General Motors, said in an interview late Tuesday. “We think creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back in this country should be a source of bipartisan pride.”
And in a note from the Chrysler CEO to his employees:
In an e-mail to employees on Tuesday, Chrysler’s executive, Sergio Marchionne, said that Jeep’s commitment to the United States was unequivocal. “I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China,” he wrote. “It is inaccurate to suggest anything different.”
The campaign slyly takes advantage of the average American’s ignorance about auto manufacturing. It is common practice to manufacture autos at the place of sale. Sales of Chrysler vehicles will increase in China therefore necessitating new plants there. No US jobs are being exported. Romney’s ad leaves the impression they are.
This is probably my last post before Election Day. Whatever your politics, I urge you to vote. I already did. But please keep this in mind. Do you really want to reward Mitt Romney for a campaign that right up until the last moment has engaged in lies and deception?
If you are anything like me, this campaign season has worn you out. My heart went out to a little girl on YouTube named Abby who has taken all she can take. It’s time for this long battle to end. May the best man win.
Photo by VOA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons