U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio wants the federal government to fast-track aid to hurricane-ravaged Florida, which he represents in the Senate.
He says it’s the government’s responsibility to help Americans in distress from natural disasters.
I agree with the Republican lawmaker. He is right. But let’s remember that when Super Storm Sandy pounded New Jersey in 2012, Rubio wasn’t quite so quick to rush to New Jersey residents’ aid. He voted against an appropriation to assist Sandy victims, citing “pork barrel” spending provisions buried deep inside the bill.
It reminded me of the time then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor pushed back against relief for victims of a tornado that tore through Joplin, Mo. The Virginia Republican argued that Congress needed to cut money from other programs to pay for the Joplin relief package.
Rubio demands federal response
I have an idea. Why doesn’t Sen. Rubio insist publicly, clearly and loudly that any Hurricane Michael relief aid is free of the kind of excessive and non-essential spending he alleged was contained in the Sandy relief legislation?
If it does contain that kind of excess, would the senator then be willing to vote “no” in the name of fiscal responsibility?
I doubt he would do that. Serious political courage, though likely would require Sen. Rubio to speak the truth about the way Congress doles out relief aid.
A monstrous hurricane blasted ashore today in the Florida Panhandle. It then stormed into Alabama and Georgia, heading for the still-suffering Carolinas, where it will do even more damage.
So, what did the president of the United States do? Donald Trump decided to rev up his political base at a rally in Pennsylvania.
I get that the president is always “on top of things” by virtue of his staff that is supposed to keep him briefed.
Isn’t there an “optics” problem, though, with the president blasting Democrats and assorted political foes while millions of Americans are enduring the wrath that Hurricane Michael has brought? I kind of believe there is an image problem.
Donald Trump, it should be stated yet again, clearly lacks an empathy gene. He doesn’t appear to feel anyone’s pain, or understand fully the suffering that others endure. His entire focus always is centered on how matters affect his poll standing, his political stature.
So he fires up the rally crowd. He gets lots of laughs and cheers when blasts Democrats who he calls the “Dims.” The crowd launches into a “Lock her up!” as it regards Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her role in keeping secret a complaint brought by a woman who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in 1982.
All this happened today while Americans are fighting for their lives trying to fend off the overpowering savagery brought to them by Hurricane Michael.
Call it a form of “survivor’s guilt,” if you wish.
I am feeling oddly out of place today as I watch the news out of Florida, Alabama, Georgia and possibly the Carolinas. Our fellow Americans are enduring Hurricane Michael’s unprecedented wrath.
Here? In North Texas? Oh, my. Our weather is postcard-perfect: 70 degrees, bright sunshine, a light breeze. Fall has arrived in the Metroplex.
Not so for our friends and fellow citizens way down yonder, southeast of us!
The Carolinas are still recovering from the havoc that Hurricane Florence brought ashore. Now it’s Hurricane Michael’s turn to become flood Americans with indelible memories of just how savage Mother Nature’s wrath can become.
It blasted ashore after being spotted only a few days ago. Hurricane preparedness officials had little time to plan how to cope with it. To its credit, federal, state and local authorities mustered their first responders who — as is their custom — reacted heroically in the face of the storm’s savagery.
Meanwhile, those of us far away are basking in sunshine. We’re also sending all the good karma and prayers we can to those who at this moment are fighting for their lives against forces far beyond mere humans’ meager limits.
If all of that assuages my feelings of guilt, well, it doesn’t matter. I just want this storm to do what it will do … and then vanish.