FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Heckuva job, Nancy
Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina, Kat...well, you get the idea
42 people dead; communities iced in and without lifesaving power for heat and cooking; conditions worsening — and FEMA nowhere to be found.
This isn’t a lefty caricature of disaster-response under the Bush administration; it’s real-life unresponsiveness under the leadership of President Obama (whose accession was supposed to mark a “return to competence” in government).
“In some parts of rural Kentucky, they’re getting water the old-fashioned way — with pails from a creek,” writes Associated Press reporter Bruce Schreiner. “There’s not room for one more sleeping bag on the shelter floor. The creative are flushing their toilets with melted snow.”
Local officials were growing angry with what they said was a lack of help from the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In Grayson County, about 80 miles southwest of Louisville, Emergency Management Director Randell Smith said the 25 National Guardsmen who have responded have no chain saws to clear fallen trees.
“We’ve got people out in some areas we haven’t even visited yet,” Smith said. “We don’t even know that they’re alive.”
Smith said FEMA has been a no-show so far.
“We’re asking people to pack a suitcase and head south and find a motel if they have the means, because we can’t service everybody in our shelter,” said Crittenden County Judge-Executive Fred Brown, who oversees about 9,000 people, many of whom are sleeping in the town’s elementary school.
“I’m not saying we can’t handle it; we’ll hand it,” Smith said. “But it would have made life a lot easier” if FEMA had reached the county sooner, he said.
Marty Hudak, spokesman for Obama FEMA director Nancy Ward, said emergency personnel can’t get to the people living (and dying) in these dangerous disaster areas because it’s, well, too dangerous to do so.
“We have plenty of folks ready to go, but there are some limitations with roads closed and icy conditions,” she told the AP.
When 12 people died in Kansas in May 2007 as a result of tornadoes, then-candidate Obama blamed the Iraq war for depleting the National Guard of needed resources to help the remaining victims.
“In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas,” Obama said. “Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed; turns out that the National Guard in Kansas only had 40 percent of its equipment and they are having to slow down the recovery process.”
This brings up an interesting question. If twelve dead in reality was 10,000 in Obama’s head, shouldn’t this emergency situation, which has left 42 dead (that’s 35,000 in Obamathematics), be deserving of the promptest, most competent response possible?
Regardless, with a state of emergency that severe, and a number of Americans dead or dying, why is Barack Obama’s newly-competent Federal Emergency Management Agency sitting on its hands and waiting for the ice to melt and snow to clear before it actually responds to (or “manages”) this emergency?
Regardless, this is a serious situation which demands serious analysis and response. Like all of America’s natural disasters, the crisis in (majority-white) Kentucky is certainly no place for either side to inject race into the discussion. After all, that’s just unseemly, and neither side would ever do that — right?
Update by Jeff: The Daily Telegraph’s Tim Blair is calling this — you guessed it — “a Katrina moment for President Obama.” He says:
According to the Katrina template, this is all Obama’s fault. Yet Kentucky’s Democrat governor Steve Beshear earlier praised Obama’s swift action … in making a phone call:
“I can’t tell you how appreciative we were,” the governor said. “He not only expressed his concern, but he obviously had the Kentuckians in his thoughts and prayers, and he communicated that to us.”
Heck of a job to you too, Barry.
Update 2 by Jeff: mbecker has an update on the situation in the comments.