1 comment September 1st, 2005at 11:25pm Posted by Eli

I started this post a couple of days ago with the intention of finishing it from the airport or my EschaCon hotel room, but I couldn’t get the right convergence of power, wi-fi, and bag-havingness. So, I apologize for the Krugman being a little stale, but hopefully my follow-up points are still razor-fresh.

The Esteemed Mr. Krugman (who I met yesterday!) espies a pattern…

Before 9/11 the Federal Emergency Management Agency listed the three most likely catastrophic disasters facing America: a terrorist attack on New York, a major earthquake in San Francisco and a hurricane strike on New Orleans. “The New Orleans hurricane scenario,” The Houston Chronicle wrote in December 2001, “may be the deadliest of all.” It described a potential catastrophe very much like the one now happening.

So why were New Orleans and the nation so unprepared? After 9/11, hard questions were deferred in the name of national unity, then buried under a thick coat of whitewash. This time, we need accountability.

Krugman then provides some depressing and infuriating examples of this administration’s now-familiar malign neglect: they simply do not care. Warnings of potential disaster make them yawn, look at their watches, and cut funding. Then, when the shit does hit the fan, they lament that they couldn’t possibly have known. Bin Laden determined to strike in the US? Bah! Iraqi occupation will be a bloody quagmire? Humbug! New Orleans vulnerable to massive, devastating flooding? Pshaw!

Of course, any attempt to demand accountability for this criminal inattention will be dismissed and demonized as “politicizing” this terrible national tragedy. Because, of course, any questioning of Republican incompetence and malfeasance can only be political. And no-one likes the “I told you so” guy.

This is vitally important beyond accountability for Hurricane Katrina (which, quite frankly, I am not holding my breath for). Why? Because the Republicans have opened us up to a whole bunch of crises and disasters down the road. Another terrorist attack? Another disputed election? A financial collapse? All-out civil war in Iraq? I don’t know what’s in store, but the Republicans are courting disaster on so many fronts that something bad is inevitable. And when we try to call them on it, the Republicans and their media army will accuse us of politicizing it, and may very well get away with it. Ironically, the worse the disaster, the more effective this spin will be.

So what to do? Pre-emptive strikes. Anywhere the Democrats see BushCo. leaving us open to disaster, they need to make noise about it, and they need to push legislation to fix it. It is vital that we get this stuff into the public consciousness prior to the disaster, in hopes that afterwards, some of them just might remember which party was sounding the alarm and which party was saying everything was just hunky-dory. Of course, some degree of media cooperation is needed before and after the fact (to, ah, remind people what it is that they remember) – I think some fighting words from Dr. Dean will guarantee the media coverage before the fact, although I’m honestly not sure how much we can do about the after other than crossing our fingers, and maybe incorporating a brief recap in campaign ads.

A couple of specific, personal hot-button topics I would like to see the Democrats take on loudly:

Election reform. I know this is a bit of a reach as far as disaster prevention goes, but what happens if another election is stolen, and definitive proof is found, say, 6-12 months after the fact? Would that not be a constitutional crisis? Or a somewhat lower-intensity scenario, where half the country no longer has any confidence in the legitimacy of our elected officials. Election reform has the added benefit of being a life-or-death issue for the Democratic party – one more dodgy election could eliminate their ability to filibuster, and making them effectively irrelevant.

Election reform has the added virtue of being a political no-brainer: There is no way to oppose it without tacitly admitting that you’re anti-democracy and have something to hide. If the Republicans insist that there’s no need for electoral reform because the 2004 elections were completely legit, the Democrats point out that they should have no objection to reform, and why wouldn’t they want to be able to prove how legit the elections are?

Homeland Security. Specifically and especially, any and all examples of corporate interests trumping our safety. The biggest examples I know of are chemical and (I think) nuclear plant security, where the chemical and energy companies don’t want to spend the money, and the Republicans are blocking any legislation. The Democrats need to start demanding to know why the keeping-you-safe-from-terrorists party is selling out our security to their corporate sponsors.

By their very nature, I’m sure there are other examples of Republicans blocking, crippling, or dragging their feet on concrete security measures, those are just the most glaring examples that are on my radar. Again, this is something the Republicans would have a hard time explaining and defending, and would put a serious dent in their Protector Daddy image with all but the most blindly faithful.

Inexplicably, the Democrats are not raising hell on either of these issues – yes, they may be working towards them quietly behind the scenes, but what good does that do? The Republicans will either quietly squash reform, or pass watered-down pseudo-reform and take credit for “fixing” the problem. The Democrats need to be loud enough that the Republicans either cave (without being able to take all the credit), or are forced to publicly defend the indefensible. Either way, it’s a win for us, although I’d prefer the concrete wins to the “image” wins.

*attempts to shake the Democratic party awake*

*rummages around for cattle prod*

Did I mention I met Krugman?

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Elections,Favorites,Iraq,Katrina,Media,Politics,Republicans,Torture,Wankers,War

1 Comment

  • 1. Multi Medium » Appa&hellip  |  January 26th, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    […] Well. Based on today’s E.J. Dionne column, it looks like Rush Holt may be reading my blog. I do not pretend to know how large a threat [electronic vote tampering] is. I do know that it’s a threat to democracy when so many Americans doubt that their votes will be recorded accurately. And I also know that smart, computer-savvy people are concerned about these machines. […]

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