Thursday, June 05, 2008

McCain Uses And Abuses Katrina Victims

John McCain tried to use "change" in his speech Tuesday by saying that he'd bring the "right" change for America. Foolishly he forgets that while he can say one thing, then another and back to the original in a week or less, his record is set in stone. He chose New Orleans as the place to contrast himself to Barack Obama and he failed miserably. Not only was the presentation of his speech terrible, any promise of change was hollow. Anyone that sees a candidate going down to the Gulf Coast understands the significance of that place and what a tremendous disgrace our government was when tepidly responding to one of our worst natural disasters in the history of the country (though the levees failing wasn't quite all Mother Nature's fault). And as John McCain was a part of that government, how did he act in the following days, weeks and months?

From DailyKos:

Who can forget McCain's indifference to the disaster as it unfolded? Appearing on Face the Nation the day before Katrina struck, he said nothing about the looming emergency. Then McCain yucked it up with Bush in Arizona even while the Gulf Coast was getting lashed. When he did get around to commenting, three days later, his office issued a tepid press release.

For the next half year, as Jonathan Stein documented, McCain was either absent from or in active opposition to substantive efforts to aid Katrina victims.

Though McCain issued a statement the next week calling on Congress to make sacrifices in order to fund recovery efforts, he was quoted in The New Leader on September 1 cautioning against over-spending in support of Katrina's victims. "We also have to be concerned about future generations of Americans," he said. "We're going to end up with the highest deficit, probably, in the history of this country."

That attitude was borne out in McCain's actions and votes. Forty Senators and 100 members of Congress visited New Orleans before he did; he finally got there in March 2006.

During that period McCain wasn't just failing to show leadership on the issue. Along with most other Republicans, he dug his heels in against spending serious money to help Americans in desperate need (contrast that with his free-spending ways on Iraq). McCain voted against extending unemployment benefits to Katrina victims up to 52 weeks, and against extending Medicaid benefits up to five months. He even voted twice against establishing an independent commission to examine the governmental response to Katrina. In May of 2006, little over a month after visiting NOLA for the first time, McCain also voted against the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill that had $28 billion for hurricane relief.

From that point on McCain's record gets even shabbier, if that's possible.

Yep, it has gotten much worse, just as George Bush ignored it again after he ignored it when the tragedy unfolded. There is no change here, it is just more of the same in brand new gift-wrapping. Even if he had the ability to speak eloquently in Louisiana two nights ago, America would still hear the ticking time bomb inside the box John McCain was carrying. He can call it anything he wants, change, experience, leadership, a military record, whatever. What he'll do for the country is just a continuation of the last eight years.