Hurricane Harvey, which is finally clearing out of the half-drowned Gulf Coast, didn’t just dump some 20 trillion gallons of rain on the Houston area during its reign of terror over the past week — it’s also unleashed a torrent of inexcusable behavior from some of the typical suspects.
There was the troglodyte Lynn Yaeger of Vogue magazine, who threw bricks through closed windows of her own glass house to assail Melania Trump’s choice of footwear in getting on Air Force One to visit the destruction in Corpus Christi. That was a mistake on Yaeger’s part, as the scrutiny it exposed her to allowed the public to see just how manifestly unqualified she is to judge anyone else’s fashion sense. Perhaps Yaeger might seek career rehabilitation as a guest on a future episode of What Not To Wear.
There was the execrable Matt Wuerker of Politico, who posted an offensive — in the extreme — cartoon lampooning rotund Texas separatists being rescued by Coast Guard helicopters as they praised God for their deliverance (thanks to the federal government).
There was the dyspeptic Jeff Zeleny of CNN, who criticized the president’s “lack of empathy” on his visit to Texas, while in the background jeering Trump supporters heckled his network for “fake news” and leftist sympathies. Zeleny’s B-roll package of Trump addressing a crowd of hurricane victims in Corpus Christi might not have shown “empathy,” but it certainly showed support for the President — when he unfurled a Texas flag and told the crowd “Texas can handle anything,” he brought the house down.
And there were the throngs of “experts” and other pundits for elitist lefty publications like Slate and the New Yorker, who chose this week to lecture Houstonians on the city’s poor geography and “unrestrained capitalism” as the reason for the floodwaters afflicting the nation’s fourth largest city. Drop 20 trillion gallons of rain on Washington, D.C., or Philadelphia, or New York or Boston, over a five-day span and then we can have an argument about how big-government transit solutions which result in flooded subways and insufficient roads to evacuate the masses kill innocents. Surely no one will see that as ghoulish or inappropriate.
And of course there were the insufferable backstabbers at Charlie Hebdo, who demonstrated why we rightfully hate the French.
But as ugly as it’s been in the media, the poor behavior of the media elite could well be a mere prelude to what the political establishment has in store for the victims of Harvey — namely, that Texas’ Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, as well as most of the state’s House delegation, voted against the behemoth $50 billion relief bill for Hurricane Sandy, and therefore should be made to apologize before any Harvey funds should be turned loose.
That the Sandy relief bill was a pork-laden monstrosity is a difficult-to-reject proposition, containing as it did some $150 million for Alaska fisheries; $41 million for military bases; $5.2 million for the DOJ; $4 million for Kennedy Space Center in Florida; $3.5 million for Homeland Security; and, $2 million for Smithsonian Institution in D.C. Those expenditures, among others, were supposedly connected to Sandy emergency relief because they involved effects from natural disasters. But by 2014, some 74 percent of the money in the Disaster Relief Act of 2013 remained unspent and 64 percent was still unspent by 2015, which alone weakens the argument that the bill needed $50 billion as an emergency relief matter. None of that stopped the Amazon Post’s Glenn Kessler, the Democrat propagandist masquerading as the paper’s “fact checker,” from assigning “three Pinocchios” to Cruz’ argument that the Sandy bill was wasteful.
No one — not Cruz, not Cornyn, not the other conservatives who opposed the bill — had any interest in denying the victims of Hurricane Sandy relief. What they wanted to deny was the Gangs of New York-style orgy of theft, misappropriation, and malignant corruption so common to gigantic federal appropriations for disaster areas. An alternative bill sponsored by now-OMB director Mick Mulvaney in the House would have offset Sandy aid by cutting fat and waste and other low-priority spending elsewhere in the federal government; that was rejected and demeaned by howling Democrats and others from the affected area.
The result was that it became “difficult to determine exactly where” much of the money was being spent, according to the nonpartisan budget watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense. Sandy relief funds will continue to tumble out of the federal government as late as 2024.
Some emergency relief that is. But since Cruz opposed it, then Cruz hates New Yorkers.
But apparently, not as much as Chris Christie and Peter King hate Texans. You’d think they belong to the same party as Chuck Schumer…
“What was wrong was for Ted Cruz to exploit the disaster for political gain, and that’s what he was doing,” Christie said on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes.”
Cruz and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) both opposed the aid package for New York and New Jersey after 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, saying the bill included wasteful spending that wasn’t related to the storm recovery.
Now that it’s Texas that needs storm aid, Christie isn’t the only Republican lawmaker to take the opportunity to slam Cruz for his opposition to the Sandy relief bill.
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) said Saturday that he’ll support financial relief for Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, even as he said that Cruz did not give the same courtesy to New York after Sandy.
“Ted Cruz was one of the leaders of trying to keep New York and Long Island and New Jersey from getting the funding we needed, and now he’s the first one in asking for aid for Texas,” King said, according to a local New York news outlet.
It’s one thing for Schumer, or his colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, or the shameless attention whore Dick Blumenthal of Connecticut, to bash Cruz or to retroactively assign responsibility to have voted for the Sandy bill to him. For supposed Republicans, though admittedly atrocious ones, to join in is just unacceptable.
Cruz trashed Christie for his outburst, as he should have. He said Christie is desperate to get his name in the news, and he’s right.
As to the responsibility of Cruz, Cornyn, the Texas delegation and the rest of the conservatives who voted against the Sandy porkfest but who will now advocate aid for the Lone Star State and other Harvey victims, it’s the same as it was in 2013 — craft a bill that stands the affected communities back up with necessary infrastructure and enough reconstruction capital to avoid a refugee crisis, and then STOP before the spending devolves into waste and pork.
So far, most of what we’ve seen amid the destruction Harvey wrought has been cooperation, kindness and toughness among the affected, and pettiness, ugliness, and sloth among the comfortable elites hundreds of miles away. There is little reason to believe that will change as the recovery begins in Texas.