Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Are Conservatives A Bit Off-Key With Their Reaction to Irene?

It appears the trumped-up criticism by people who complain the media hyped-up Hurricane Irene is more off target than the forecasts that, as it turns out, accurately projected a killer storm would strike the East Coast.

National Guard helicopters were flying in food and water to isolated towns and villages in New England today, where flooding has wiped out roads, trapping residents and others. 

So far the death toll stands at 40 people in 11 states and damage is expected to total in the doube-digit billions of dollars, from the barrier islands of the Carolinas to the bursting mountain-fed rivers and streams of Vermont. 

Conservative critics in particular have poured on the inappropriate comments, even as Americans continue to suffer from the wrath of the hurricane-turned-storm that dumped a month's worth of rain in some areas in a single day.

House GOP leader Eric Cantor of Virginia waded back into the hot water when he said Congress would provide money to states to help dig out of Irene's wrath, but there would have to be cuts to other programs to pay for the disaster aid. And never mind that his state was whacked by the same storm.

"Yes there's a federal role, yes we're going to find the money -- we're just going to need to make sure that there are savings elsewhere to continue to do so," Cantor told Fox News yesterday.

White House aides rolled their eyes at Cantor's remarks, saying the first priority must be providing relief to states and counties.

"I think the principle that when we have a natural disaster and an emergency situation in, in this case, a significant stretch of the country, our priority has to be responding to the disaster and then helping those regions and states recover," White House spokesman Jay Carney said today when asked about Cantor's remarks.

It is not the first time Cantor has crossed folks by injecting his slash-but-no-tax agenda during a catastrophic natural disaster.

Cantor got a slap on the wrist from his former boss in the House GOP leadership, Missouri Gov. Roy Blunt, when he said federal money from FEMA "would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors" before Jopin, Mo. would be  reimbursed for damage caused by the devastating mile-wide EF5 multiple-vortex tornado that struck Joplin, Mo. on May 22.

In plain English, Cantor suggested no cuts, no disaster funding -- pretty harsh rhetoric when you consider more than 150 people were killed and final costs are approaching $3 billion for the Joplin area.

"We need to prioritize spending, and this needs to be a priority," Blunt politicely said back in May. “I’m sure Eric will help find the necessary off-sets."

Republican candidate for president, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, is still back-peddling from her off-key remark suggesting Irene and last week's earthquake in the Mid-Atlantic region was the wrath of God.

"Washington, D.C., you’d think by now they’d get the message. An earthquake, a hurricane, are you listening? The American people have done everything they possibly can. Now it’s time for an act of God and we’re getting it," Bachmann said at a weekend campaign event.

Shock-jock Rush Limbaugh, demigod of the right wing and partisan blowhard to the left, led a chorus of naysayers who think the media over-sold the storm, telling his millions of "Dittohead" listeners that President Obama was hoping for a a nasty storm.

"I'll guarantee you Obama was hoping this was going to be a disaster as another excuse for his failing economy," Limbaugh said. "If he's out there blaming tsunamis, blaming earthquakes, this one -- made to order, but it just didn't measure up."

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