Har­vey prompts pow­er­ful show of GOP hypocrisy

Wisconsin Gazette - - Editorial -

Vic­tims of Su­per­storm Sandy can be for­given if they’re not feel­ing very sym­pa­thetic to­ward the Texas con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion and its vot­ers. Af­ter all, 23 out of 24 mem­bers of the Texas Repub­li­can del­e­ga­tion did their best to hold up fed­eral relief fund­ing for the dev­as­ta­tion Sandy left be­hind in 2012.

Res­i­dents of the most-af­fected ar­eas — in­clud­ing the north coast of New Jersey, Long Island, and New York City’s Queens and Staten Island bor­oughs — had to wait two and a half months for Congress to al­lo­cate money they needed for emer­gency relief, as well as the longer-term help with re­build­ing homes, busi­nesses and in­fras­truc­ture laid waste by the storm.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz claimed he didn’t sup­port the $50 bil­lion fed­eral pack­age for Sandy’s vic­tims be­cause “two-thirds of the bill” was al­lo­cated for pork projects that had noth­ing to do with the disas­ter.

That claim was a fla­grant lie when Cruz first ut­tered it in 2013, and it’s an even worse lie even as he con­tin­ues to spout it post-Har­vey. The Washington Post and other me­dia out­lets have since fact-checked Cruz’s as­ser­tion and found it to be un­equiv­o­ca­bly false. N.J. Gov. Chris Christie — no stranger to out­ra­geous po­lit­i­cal gim­mickry — said the real rea­son for Cruz’s op­po­si­tion was per­ceived po­lit­i­cal gain. Of course it was.

Speak­ing with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes re­cently, Christie didn’t hold his punches as he went af­ter Cruz: “He was try­ing to be the most con­ser­va­tive, the most fis­cally con­ser­va­tive, per­son in the world,” Christie said. “And what I said at the time ... is that some­day it’s go­ing to come to Texas ... a disas­ter is go­ing to come to you. And when it does, I’m go­ing to prom­ise him that New Jersey congress peo­ple will stand up and do the right thing.”

Christie only had to wait four years for his prediction to come true. The brunt of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey’s mis­ery was vis­ited upon Hous­ton, the na­tion’s fourth largest city.

Af­ter the storm hit, Texas Repub­li­cans’ fer­vent ha­tred of fed­eral in­volve­ment in the states flew out the win­dow faster than Har­vey’s top winds.

Re­call that in the af­ter­maths of Ka­t­rina and Sandy, some no­table Repub­li­can lead­ers in­sisted that any aid had to be off­set by bud­getary cuts of the same amount else­where. This bedrock be­lief led many of them to vote against the aid pack­ages. But will they now at­tach the same con­di­tions to aid for the red state with the most elec­toral votes? Ap­par­ently not.

As a House mem­ber from In­di­ana dur­ing Ka­t­rina, Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence led ef­forts in Congress to off­set ex­pen­di­tures on aid for vic­tims of that storm. But he’s set no con­di­tions for re­liev­ing Har­vey’s vic­tims.

Mick Mul­vaney was a Repub­li­can House mem­ber from South Carolina when he called for off­sets to spend­ing on Sandy. He voted against the Sandy relief pack­age be­cause of that stance.

Now he’s direc­tor of the Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Bud­get. He’ll be charged with sub­mit­ting the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s emer­gency re­quest for aid to Texas. And not a peep has been heard from him this time con­cern­ing off­sets.

We doubt any Repub­li­can of­fi­cials who’ve been caught in such bold hypocrisy relief are em­bar­rassed. Af­ter all, their vot­ers are trib­al­ists who get their news from Fox. They’re not the think­ing or the fair­ness crowd.

But Repub­li­can lead­ers’ abrupt about-face on off­sets when the need for help is in their own po­lit­i­cal back­yard speaks vol­umes about the in­sin­cer­ity of their be­liefs — and their ma­li­cious in­ten­tions to­ward Amer­i­cans who don’t live in red states that keep them in power.

It’s worth not­ing that Democrats have sup­ported all such disas­ter relief pack­ages, re­gard­less of ge­og­ra­phy. De­spite the eth­i­cal breaches we see on both sides of the aisle, as Har­vey’s clouds re­ceded, we were re­minded that one party has been con­sis­tently a cham­pion of the peo­ple — and the other party frankly doesn’t give a damn.

Democrats have sup­ported all such disas­ter relief pack­ages, re­gard­less of ge­og­ra­phy.

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