Tuesday, October 30, 2012

That dead Russian egomaniac in the attic

Every man is an island . . . until it hits the fan.

Add this to the list of memos the fruitcake-dominated Republican Party never got. And not getting your memos has consequences.

Thus we had the spectacle today of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- a nationally prominent Republican once high on the party's presidential wish list -- singing the praises of the Antichrist, otherwise known as President Obama. The reason? Christie thinks the prez is doing a bang-up job coordinating the federal response to Hurricane Sandy, which has devastated the governor's state and inflicted great suffering on his waterlogged people and many others.

Things like massive hurricanes almost always aim right for the underbelly of the good-time Ayn Rand disciples who stole the brain -- not to mention the heart -- of a once-great political party as they lurch about like Stepford pols droning on about self-reliance, the evils of government, blah, blah, blah, blecch.

In other words, every man is an island. I got mine. Eff you.

Then the day comes when the island gets swamped by a massive storm surge amid a nasty hurricane. And your Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, once argued that the federal government ought to get out of the catastrophe-fixing business because catastrophes are expensive and we're broke.

IN OTHER WORDS, Romney was against FEMA until he was for it. Which was . . . right about now.

The Christian Science Monitor recalls one of the approximately 468 GOP presidential debates last year:
The topic under discussion was the role of the federal government, and which functions Washington keeps. Moderator John King turned to Mr. Romney and asked him about disaster relief, following the tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., the month before.

“FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we're learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role,” Mr. King said. “How do you deal with something like that?”

Romney’s response: “Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better.

“Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut – we should ask ourselves the opposite question,” Romney continued. “What should we keep? We should take all of what we're doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we're doing that we don't have to do? And those things we've got to stop doing, because we're borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we're taking in. We cannot ...”

King interjected: “Including disaster relief, though?”

Romney replied: “We cannot – we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. It makes no sense at all.”

Fast-forward to now. Contacted by the media, the Romney campaign asserts that Romney would not abolish FEMA, but still prefers that states take the lead in disaster response.

“Governor Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement to Politico. “As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA.”
THE BOTTOM LINE of this amorphous public-policy Randianism so in fashion among conservatives is that if it's all about me, it's not all about you. Or about us.

That's a problem when the default for humanity is to live in community. Together. Not on our own private islands protected by the wide expanse of the Eff You Sea.

Protected, that is, until the Eff You Sea rises up to engulf you, and there's no one with the reach or strength to pluck your rational self-interest out of the storm-tossed waters.

* * *

SOMETHING just occurred to me: At what point does this present Republican nutjobbery actually become nothing more than an ongoing argument against the Constitution and in favor of the Articles of Confederation?

Which we recall worked out so well at the time. 

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