Multistate disasters like Hurricane Sandy, which is currently battering the Northeast, could present a problem for the Republican Party and its anti-government ideology. Here’s why:
- Right off the bat, hurricanes are named by a division of the United Nations. Before that, it was the National Hurricane Center, a U.S. government agency. So each time a Republican even utters the name “Hurricane Sandy,” he or she is feeding into the anti-“Big Government” and anti-U.N. ideas that Republicans often espouse.
- Likewise, most of those up-to-the-minute weather forecasts and hurricane tracking that everyone from local officials to the news media to residents are relying on are coming from the aforementioned National Hurricane Center, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
- In multistate emergencies like Hurricane Sandy, the federal government, specifically the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), gets involved in rescue missions, providing food, water and shelter, etc. When Republican citizens in the middle of a disaster are faced with the choice of accepting life-saving aid or turning it down because it’s coming from a federal official, it might not be a close choice.
- Similarly, if some of the many thousands of residents ordered to evacuate Hurricane Sandy’s path take public interstate highways to do so, as is surely the case, they again benefit from, and possibly even have their lives protected by, the federal government.
- Natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy could remind voters of the Bush administration‘s deadly inaction and incompetence before, during and after Hurricane Katrina. If the Obama administration does a more effective job with Hurricane Sandy than the Bush administration did with Hurricane Katrina, voters may well associate the Democrats with effective crisis management.
In short, Hurricane Sandy could show off the Democrats’ ideology of “good government” protecting and securing Americans when needed, which also includes Social Security, Medicare, health care, clean air and water, food inspection, etc. This contrasts with the Republican Party’s anti-government views, such as when Willard Mitt Romney called federal disaster relief “immoral” during a 2011 Republican primary debate. And the 2012 election is just over a week away.
© 2012 Matthew Emmer — All Rights Reserved
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