September 20, 2005

John Kerry Exploits Hurricane Katrina to Raise Cash

According to The Hill, John Kerry launched a new assault on President Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina as part of a new fundraising campaign:

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) unleashed a furious attack on the Bush administration at a Brown University speech yesterday, upbraiding the president’s response to the hurricane that recently devastated the Gulf Coastand tying it to what he sees as other flaws at the White House.

“This is the Katrina administration,” read prepared remarks posted on 2004 Democratic presidential nominee’s website, “Katrina is a symbol of all this administration does and doesn't do,” read Kerry’s script, portions of which were included in an e-mail to supporters that ended with a fundraising appeal.

“Michael Brown [Bush’s former emergency-management director] … is to Katrina what [former Iraq administrator] Paul Bremer is to peace in Iraq; what [former CIA Director] George Tenet is to slam-dunk intelligence; what [former Deputy Defense Secretary] Paul Wolfowitz is to parades paved with flowers in Baghdad; what [Vice President] Dick Cheney is to visionary energy policy; what [Defense Secretary] Donald Rumsfeld is to basic war planning; what [House Majority Leader] Tom Delay [R-Texas] is to ethics; and what George Bush is to ‘Mission Accomplished’ and ‘Wanted Dead or Alive.’”

In a brief interview, Tracey Schmitt, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, called Kerry’s pitch for cash “repulsive.”

In a news release, she said, “John Kerry's attacks on President Bush's efforts to assist the victims and rebuild the Gulf Coast don't come as a surprise. Armchair quarterbacking on tough issues has never been a problem for Senator Kerry. The American people have pulled together during a difficult time and Democrats’ efforts to politicize this tragedy are unsavory at best

I agree with Tracey Schmitt. It is bad enough that Kerry is trying to exploit a natural disaster and national tragedy for political gain, but to exploit Hurricane Katrina as part of a fundraising appeal....well, that is just grotesque. Kerry should be ashamed. Instead of using Katrina for their own personal gain, maybe they should tell their supporters to donate money to the Red Cross as opposed to their respective campaign funds!

Update: It appears John Edwards has joined the act.
Notice how neither Senator Kerry or Edwards place any of the blame for the New Orleans problematic relief efforts on Mayor Nagin or Governor Blanco. According to each, it is all Bush's fault. Heaven forbid they should acknowledge that two Democratic officials, who were actually in charge of the failed evacuation and local relief, failed miserably. I guess I should not expect a little intellectual honesty at this point.
While there were certainly problems in the federal response, Kerry and Edwards should read this piece from the Post-Gazette to gain some perspective:

"The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne.

For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla. after Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three.

Journalists who are long on opinions and short on knowledge have no idea what is involved in moving hundreds of tons of relief supplies into an area the size of England in which power lines are down, telecommunications are out, no gasoline is available, bridges are damaged, roads and airports are covered with debris, and apparently have little interest in finding out.

So they libel as a 'national disgrace' the most monumental and successful disaster relief operation in world history."
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