The Politics of Sandy

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by bradl, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. bradl, Oct 29, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012

    bradl macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    I was thinking of starting a political thread on Sandy, but this works just as well.

    I can't remember the name of the hurricane that hit New Orleans this year, but this seems to be, at least politically, round 2 of that.

    Playing Armchair Political Advisor, I'd have to say kudos to both candidates for putting off their campaign stops to stay on the ball with Sandy. Obama is doing the right thing by being at the White House being in command, and Command. Romney stopped campaigning to put his ear to the ground on what may be happening as well. Obama is doing the right thing in being presidential; if Romney wants to act the same, the best place he should be (that I would advise) is somewhere in the area of the I-95 corridor, between Philadelphia/Trenton, Newark, and NYC. Get down with the people to give help first hand. That would easily work in his favor, and pull some of the vote away from Obama in NY, NJ, CT, and RI. Just something he should think about.

    Whether that will happen is another story. But I think to answer another thread's question, Sandy is this election period's October Surprise.

    EDIT: Mods, now that I think about it, it may be better to split this off from this thread. I can see this going more than one separate direction..

  2. Fazzy macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2011
    check the tracking device
    Off topic, but I think its a sad reflection on society how literally anything, from a natural disaster to a death can be turned into someones political gain.

    For example, in the UK, a very prolific deceased TV star's scandal has come to light, similar to that of Jerry Sandusky. It's a matter for the police yet every newspaper and political party is using public empathy for their own selfish gain.
  3. bradl thread starter macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2008
    I agree, but then again, look at Romney's take on Benghazi.

    But on the other side of that, during an election year (putting on the armchair political adviser hat again), if your man is lacking in the relating to people scale, what better way to endear himself to the masses than to be there with them, helping them to clean up/recover from such a disaster.

    Someone in another thread had asked about Romney possibly winning the popular vote but losing the election. Having his head down with the people there could sway their vote (albeit a tough call, since NY is roughly 90% democratic). Also, the cleanup of Sandy could possibly delay the turnout for voting. From 538:

    Possible... probability is near zero, but still possible. So unfortunately, it isn't the politicians making political games out of this; the storm itself is part of the game.

  4. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Feb 2, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    After Bush you won't ever see a politician go about business as normal while a hurricane is going on
  5. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    And that is how it should be.
  6. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Feb 2, 2009
    Toronto, Ontario
    I mean more of in a detrimental sense. As in if you were caught doing anything besides hurricane relief the media is going to hand your ass to you on a platter. From a presidential sense there's not much else to do besides making sure the agencies that we pay taxes for actually do their job.
  7. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    As well they should.
  8. SporkLover macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2011
    I really hate how we the american people allowed the preponederance of Hurricane Katrina response issues to become the ownership of the Federal government. So many of us really have no idea how things work.

    Hurricane Katrina in particular was a failure on State on Local governments part (obviously the Federal Government was ill prepared for the State and Local government failure)... and it almost led to the largest example of trampling on "States Rights" in the history of the US.
  9. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    I'm kind of confused as to what you are saying. Are you saying that disaster relief should be only a state or local issue, and that the federal government should have no part in it whatsoever?

    Oftentimes, these disasters cover more than just one city, or even one state. They cover large swaths of area, sometimes entire regions. Why would you not want a single point of management for operations? Why have seven competing systems of disaster relief that may or may not work together? Obviously, each state would do it's own part, but having greater control/communication from the top sounds better to me.
  10. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    We also have to recognize that Katrina took place in national waters. According to Sporklover, that means nobody is responsible in case it infringes on the rights of multiple states that might share those waters. Methinks he is just another libertarian looking for a cause.
  11. SporkLover macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2011
    I was a bit vague.

    The statement I was trying to make is that it really bothers me that we allowed the Federal Government to take the preponderance of the heat for the poor response to Hurricane Katrina. Our current system of Disaster response is designed to Support the states/local government efforts (It's largely limited that way because Disaster response is not an enumerated power). It is an effective system when all parts of the equation come prepared. Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana in particular, is an example of the State Government not being prepared well enough to handle the disaster response. They were in-effective/incapable of making decisions to protect lives of their citizens (pre-landfall) and direct an effective response. In the Aftermath of it all, the Federal government took most of the heat when the breakdown of preparedness was on the State government side.

    As you stated the disasters cover large swaths of areas. The needs of each area may vary wildly. When it is your home destroyed by a disaster the last thing you want is someone from outside your county, outside your state directing response. The States understand the needs of their citizens better and should be allowed to direct response.

    I do believe a single point of coordination between Federal and State governments is important. FEMA fits that role well.

    They aren't competing systems of disaster relief. Louisiana's system is designed and tailor made for their state. Mississippi's is designed and tailor made for their state. What works for one may not necessarily fit the other. The Federal disaster response system doesn't compete with those other systems, it's designed to support the state efforts.

    Good coordination/communication from/with the Federal level is good, but do they really need command or control?
  12. Peace macrumors Core


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    I think you might be confused about the role of FEMA. They don't take "command and control" of anything. They assist and bring in equipment/help that the state is not able to gather due to the states small budgets compared to the federal budgets.

    FEMA assists. They don't control.
  13. hulugu macrumors 68000


    Aug 13, 2003
    quae tangit perit Trump
    FEMA botched their part of post-Katrina recovery because of a lack of pre-planning, leadership and follow-through. Bush, of course, made it worse by praising Michael Brown even while NOLA was struggling.

    Of course, the city of New Orleans response was a debacle, while NOPD was operating under martial law rules of engagement and the chief was spreading rumors about snipers on rooftops, the state couldn't get a handle on it either.

    In many ways, Hurricane Katrina illustrates the importance of FEMA as an agency to guide and direct money and resources to cities and states that need it most.

    Well, I think FEMA has been operating in the way you prescribed, allowing local agencies to direct, while FEMA provides resources through NIMS.
  14. SporkLover macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2011
    That's quite the inference, and it's hardly true.

    The Federal government has a role. States have their role. Hurricane Katrina is an example of the states ill-prepared and ineffective in their response (Louisiana in Particular) and the Federal government taking all the heat for it.

    Libertarian? Hardly. I just find it dangerous that because of the heat the Federal government took, they took measures to shore up their ability to take command and control of disaster response in the case the states were unable to. They did it in a very shady way too, by tacking it onto a Defense Spending Bill. It did pass, but thankfully the following years bill amended most of that language to right the balance of Federal - States powers. If we really need to grow the Federal Government's power in such a manner, lets do it the way we should.... with a constitutional amendment.


    No I understand FEMA quite well. I know they assist and that they don't control. I'm not sure where you think I said otherwise.


    FEMA certainly wasn't a winner in Hurricane Katrina either. But Pre-Planning and Leadership should come in at the State level. They have the lead. FEMA is a supporting actor.

    The way FEMA operates since the disaster hasn't changed as much as some would think. NIMS is the doctrine they followed prior to Katrina, and the same now. What has changed is FEMAs preparedness to effectively coordinate amongst the other areas of the Federal government to effectively resource State governments.... or to improve the follow through.
  15. Coleman2010, Oct 30, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2012

    Coleman2010 macrumors 68000

    Oct 9, 2010
    Romney did not stop campaigning. His "relief rally" today was held in Ohio of all places. The swing state he desperately needs to win.

    Why would Romney use the song Dancing In The Street for a hurricane Sandy relief event?

    Is that what he thinks we're doing here in NYC?

    Visuals like these 2 old bats don't help!


    "Obama: You're Fired an here's some canned goods"
  16. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    I guess command or control was the wrong term. The way I see it, I'd rather have a Federal response team that can move in and provide the equipment and personnel to supplement whatever additional the state wants to supply on its own, and under direction of said state (unless that state sucks, like LA).

    It just seems silly for each and every state to have a huge fleet of emergency vehicles that are rarely used. Think like snow plows. The city of Atlanta (where I live) has almost no snow plows. Why? Because it rarely ever snows more than an inch here. Yet, one year we had a huge snow/ice storm and could do very little about it. But does it make sense for us to buy, store, and maintain an entire fleet of snowplows for a once-every-few-years event, when it would be much more efficient for those to be provided at a higher level. I don't know, but it makes sense to me.
  17. aaronvan, Oct 30, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012

    aaronvan Suspended


    Dec 21, 2011
    República Cascadia
    Or, "After Bush all presidents will preen for the camera and pretend they are oh so concerned and are personally filling sandbags while a hurricane is going on."
  18. SporkLover macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2011
    That's actually exactly what we have (Once the Federal Stafford Act is invoked). FEMA divided the US into regions and each region has a lead coordinator tied into the states in their region. During incidents, these coordinators and their teams are the first to deploy and integrate with the state efforts. They typically tie in at the Center of Gravity for coordination at the state level. As the state is responding the feds are very close and providing/offering areas where the federal government can assist. But it is always the State prescribing what they need and where it should be applied.

    So for example.... Let's say that in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the State of Louisiana states that they need assistance with evacuating hospitals because the power grid is failing in NOLA, and they can no longer treat the critical patients in their care. FEMA would look to the best Federal entity to address this (HHS/DoD) send them a Mission Assignment to activate that National Disaster Medical System and get those patients moving to another hospital.

    Again though, the issue with Louisiana in particular was that the State disaster system was ill prepared, and they couldn't adequately or effectively communicate requirements to FEMA in order for FEMA to provide much of a difference in the first few critical days.

    FEMA is better these days in that they have some more power to lean farther forward than they could before in anticipation of support requirements, but they are still tied by the Stafford Act, and a need for State authorities to be leading the way.
  19. Sydde macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2009
    The president jumped the gun on this. He gave a press conference on Sunday, will lulled people into complacency. They felt he had things under control and everything would be all right, putting themselves at serious risk. He should be more careful and measured with his words.

    At least, that is what Michael Brown had to say, and if anyone knows about procrastination, it would be him.
  20. BladesOfSteel macrumors regular


    Jul 13, 2009
    St. Paul
    I had to laugh a bit today. Or office plays Headline News in our lobby. I walked by while Obama was giving a speech. The caption read: "breaking news: President Obama says storm not over."

    Obviously there was more to his speech, it was just seeing that caption that made me chuckle.
  21. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    Isn't that pretty much what the President's job is? Make the important decisions and make sure everyone else below you executes them properly.

    If people are too stupid to not listen to a mandatory evacuation, then it's their fault, not the President or anyone else.

    After that guy completely botched the response to Katrina which most likely cost lives, he should be the last guy to open his mouth about this subject.
  22. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010

    OK, I admit it. I'm getting old, and, maybe I'm reacting to words that once were fighting words, but, may be perfectly innocently intended now. All the same, every time I see "States Rights" I think of Strom Thurmond, the ultimate Southern hypocrite.

    SporkLover, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you are youthful, but, be aware that for the previous generation, "States Rights" was just another word for segregation. An uglier way of saying segregation in fact, because it involved state and local governments enforcing restrictions on individual freedom and then hiding behind a version of the Constitution that strangely was missing the 14th amendment. Don't get me riled up.

    That said, widespread disasters are a perfect example of what the Federal government logically could have some responsibility for, for three reasons:

    1) Disaster relief is a good example where Federal involvement is more efficient than doing everything at the state level. Resources are shared across many states, and some resources can easily be deployed across hundreds, even thousands of miles. It is wasteful and inefficient for every state to duplicate a full array of disaster resources.

    2) Disasters frequently involve many states at a time, particularly storms and the resulting floods.

    3) Risk is spread across many states.

    If you want to talk about what "should" be a responsibility of states, in terms of locality, bureaucracy and efficiency, let's talk about something that involves day-to-day services, like healthcare, education, or restaurants.
  23. SporkLover macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2011

    I certainly don't mean segregation ;) I realize that States Rights is a battle call that lots of cowards hide other agendas behind.

    However I mean it in a much more conservative sense. The Powers of the the federal government are the ones enumerated in the constitution. Those not specifically enumerated are reserved for the states.

    The trampling of states rights I referred to is when a law (Defense Spending Authorization) was passed with an extra section in it that broadened powers to the Federal Government to declare martial law, and allowed the Feds to take over if they determined the States were unable to enforce their own laws in disaster, amongst other factors...... (Think NOLA during Katrina). In my mind that's a very scary way to grow the powers of the Federal government. As I've said earlier thnakfully the language was modified in the following years bill, and more or less made innocuous.

    If WE THE PEOPLE, really want this power to belong to then let's do it the right way with a constitutional amendment.... with the states ratifying it and willingly abdicating some of those States Rights to the Federal Government for the greater good.

    *DISCLAIMER* I don't wear a tin foil hat.... I have confidence that our politicians that passed that law were just trying to be responsive to a percieved need for the Federal Gov't to be able to take positive control in a multi-state natural or national disaster. I just find that to be a scary way to try and grow those powers.... circumvents the constitutional amendment process altogether.

    I agree to all points.

    Interestingly enough our disaster system already does work like that to a degree.

    States have mutual support compacts with each other in order to help fill the capability gaps (IE not all State National Guard systems have search and rescue, airlift, medical, logistics, communications capabilities...), and they lean on each other. * Tangent Warning* The Kentucky National guard interestingly enough has one of the most robust disaster response capabilities out of all of the states because they have in their system just about all of the capabilities you would want from the Feds. Airplanes, Search and Rescue, Medical, Ability to open and operate air fields, robust mobile communications. Many states are Kentucky's friend for this reason.. and Kentucky is usually the first state to send out disaster response assistance. *Tangent Over*

    Additionally, when Federal resources are availabile, they obviously leverage those capabilities.

    And those things all existed before Katrina. Katrina was an abberation of Disaster response.
  24. MadeTheSwitch macrumors 6502a


    Apr 20, 2009
    Obviously we do a lot of things different then we did when the Constitution was written. I know some people think the 1700's were just a grand time to live, but they really were not. Which is why we have evolved and made changes along the way. Because things were not working. At the time the Constitution was written, we were a far smaller country and climate change was not even on the radar. Yet here we now are. Different problems call for different solutions.
  25. SporkLover macrumors 6502

    Nov 8, 2011
    You can't just pick and choose what you want to see.......

    I'm not saying that everything done in the 1700's is the right way for the 21st century, that's why we have the amendment process.

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