Gustav

As Hurricane Gustav approaches the Gulf Coast, we’re reminded of Republican government in action:

On the eve of Hurricane Gustav’s expected arrival, many in New Orleans, from residents of the Ninth Ward to the city’s mayor to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, have their doubts about whether the levees will hold.

There is a real likelihood of getting some overtopping. Additionally, rain is a big factor here,” said DHS chief Michael Chertoff about water pouring over the tops of the levees.

Three years since Katrina and $3 billion later, the levees still leak and much of the repair work remains incomplete.

“Huge areas of Louisiana are going to be devastated. We’re going in essence to see what Katrina didn’t destroy, what Rita didn’t destroy in 2005 being destroyed now in 2008,” said Ivor Van Heerden, a professor at Louisiana State University who wrote a book about why the levees broke during Katrina.

At best the levees are estimated to be able to withstand water levels rising at the rate of an inch and hour. The coming storm, however, promises much more. In some places storm surge could reach 18 feet.

The Army Corps of Engineers, tasked with repairing the levees, says work was being accelerated.

Despite Congress authorizing $12.8 billion to rebuild the levees, only $3 billion has been spent. The engineers blame red tape, saying the studies, approvals and environmental committees have all slowed down the work.

The Army Corps is already trying to blame it on the environmentalists, but considering that the press recently found engineers filling the levees with newspaper, their protestations aren’t really credible. In fact, they failed to use the money and are scrambling to finish in 48 hours what they haven’t done in 3 years.

[Emphasis added]

And even though the GOP is looking to exploit Gustav to erase their record of incompetence, this latest hurricane reminds us of how they dealt with the last one:

FLASHBACK: McCain voted against Katrina relief multiple times

[B]oth Obama and Biden were either co-sponsors of, voted for or drafted Katrina relief or oversight bills.

Biden was the sponsor of Senate amendment 1661, which was to provide emergency funding to victims of Katrina.  The vote failed 41-56, with McCain voting against it.

[…]

McCain also voted against not one, not two (this one failed by three votes) but three other Democratic-introduced Senate amendments that would have brought much needed relief to Hurricane victims.

And yes, he voted against a bipartisan oversight commission to study the failings and recommend corrective measures to ensure that the next time will be better.

Let’s keep reminding America how much McCain really cares about putting country first.

[Emphasis added]

What a coincidence–it’s an election year and suddenly John McCain is concerned about a hurricane barreling down on the gulf.  Remember, last time around McCain and his fellow Republicans were nowhere near as charitable.

Exploiting a major tragedy for political purposes–is that putting country first?

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