Local disasters have a way of being very hit and miss in terms of gaining a national spotlight. Katrina and the BP disaster, of course, were major stories even on the world stage. Last spring's floods in Nashville, on the other hand, went largely unnoticed by much of the media.
In the column of those gone largely unnoticed is the flooding in the Rush Creek area of Arlington, Texas from the remnants of Hurricane Hermine last month. In a move that raised a few eyebrows, FEMA denied Gov. Rick Perry's request to have Tarrant and twelve other Texas counties declared disaster areas eligible for federal relief. The denial is currently under appeal.
Even without knowing all the facts behind FEMA's decision, it's hard to avoid drawing some inferences here. As those who attended the Red State Gathering last month are aware, Perry and President Obama have had a little bit of a feud going over education spending and the federal mandates that come attached to it. While under normal circumstances it would be rash to suggest that a president would intervene in such a petty manner as to deny a legitimate request for disaster relief, with this particular president, such behavior doesn't come off as wildly out of character.
Perry is one of many speculated to be considering a run for the White House in 2012, but such a plan, if it exists, would surely take a fatal blow if Democrat Bill White were to pull off the upset in the gubernatorial election next month. Could it be that this denial of funds constitutes an attempt to put the screws to Perry and perhaps goad him into saying something rash at an inopportune moment that might cost him the election and any higher aspirations? Again, I say, with this president, it's hard to rule out anything.
At any rate, with twenty days to go, Perry needs to take care. It may be his election to lose but it's not won yet. And if any of the above speculation has any basis in fact, then all I can say is that it's a damn shame that homeowners should have to suffer over a president's petty grudge.