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Chan Lowe: The tea party and disaster relief


There’s nothing like a couple of natural cataclysms to prompt mere mortals to reexamine calcified mindsets. President Obama, who resolutely endured the slings and arrows of the political opposition to take his wretched little semi-vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, who played golf through a political upheaval in Libya, and whose putt was thrown off by the first major earthquake to hit the East Coast in almost a century, was finally driven off the island by a monster cyclone.

His people claim that he’s cutting his vacation short in order to better direct the hurricane response from Washington, but they’ve just spent the entire week telling us that the mobile White House is every bit as good as the real one for the purposes of governing. Which leads us to the real reason: The optics of not being in D.C. make him look dangerously like that photo of a detached W. staring out the window of Air Force One as he flew over New Orleans after Katrina. No way any president is going to allow himself to fall into that trap again.

Oh, and Martha’s Vineyard happens to be in the path of the storm. Given the choice, anybody would rather be in the White House War Room, deep underground.

Meanwhile, we have the prospect of tea partiers trying to explain to their constituents why it’s better for them to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps after their homes are washed away than to accept a handout from the hated federal government. Either that, or, as Rep. Eric Cantor prefers, swipe the same number of dollars from Medicare that would be dispensed in disaster aid in order to balance the books.

Yes, that ought to be a big hit with the de-homed. I’m guessing our tri-corned friends will get religion about the aid business in a hurry.

The fun part will be to listen to them as they sputter their rationalizations.

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Amazing, isn't it, how many hurricanes came and went long before FEMA was ever established. People survived and recovered and got on with their lives just as they always have. Yet people like Chan Lowe continue to mock those who want to cut back on federal spending as if nobody could ever get along without it.

You assume the same type of lame behavior we saw in Norlins. "Where's fema, gimmie some help, gimmie some shelter!!" You must have forgotten about Mississippi that got hit just as bad. But you didn't hear about them whining for help. The diffference between libs like you and conservs like the Tea Party; Libs look to someone else for help, conservs look to themselves.

Once again Mr. Lowe , you miss the main point . If you do not waste money their is always enough to do the necessary things for the people. We could just do away with the ethonol and solar subsidies and have enough money for relief and to deport all of the illegals that are draining the system at taxpayer expense.

Hey Steamboat Willie,

Lets try a little experiment here using your quote:

"Amazing, isn't it, how many SICK PEOPLE came and went long before HEALTH CARE were ever established. People survived and recovered and got on with their lives just as they always have.....

"Amazing, isn't it, how many CRIMINALS came and went long before POLICE FORCES were ever established. People survived and recovered and got on with their lives just as they always have.....

"Amazing, isn't it, how many WARS & CONFLICTS came and went long before our MILITARY was ever established. People survived and recovered and got on with their lives just as they always have....

I think you see my point. Of course we could do without a whole host of things that federal & local governments spend money on. But as the "greatest nation on earth" why should we all of a sudden start doing away with those things that made our country great. The whole 'deficit/debt' debate is a red herring. Yes they are both serious, but not to the point where we need to upend the way of life for most in this country because of it. Most importantly, this 'spending is the problem' mentality is absolute hogwash. We would not be in this situation AT ALL if the tax rates that GW Bush had when he entered office were left alone.

Not sure I understand the analogy. I think insurance is a racket. I pay premiums for 20-30 years. Then when I have a claim, does that make me a hypocrite?
We know that the states- through taxpayers-pay ALL of the money that goes to FEMA (Really Homeland Security- a much larger and far more expensive agency). My guess is that any Governor who did not access those dollars for assistance would be accused by the same people of being incompetent.

All these teapartiers still think the government and FEMA are useless. and they're right. Until they need them.

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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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