J Walking

J Walking

Katrina – with no Rs

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee toured New Orleans yesterday to survey the damage, examine progress, and try and make things better for the still suffering people of that city. Sen. Barack Obama was highly critical of the Bush administration and so was New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin. The administration said things were going pretty well actually. Here though is the killer:

The hearing is one of the first that the Homeland Security Committee has scheduled since the Senate passed to Democratic control. No Republican members attended.

No Republican members (three Democrats attended), none – unbelievable in its utter predictablity. And yet it still boggles my mind. How, even from a political perspective, can not one of the Republicans attend, let alone a moral perspective? If it was once stereotypically true that Democrats were hostile to faith and Republicans hostile to the poor. Democrats, however, have been trying to reach across the faith divide. Republicans? Nothing. Here is the list of Republican committee members who didn’t attend – a list of shame:


Susan M. Collins Ranking Member (R-ME)
Ted Stevens (R-AK)
George V. Voinovich (R-OH)
Norm Coleman (R-MN)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
John E. Sununu (R-NH)
Pete V. Domenici (R-NM)
John W. Warner (R-VA)

Where are the phone calls flooding the Senate switchboards mobilized by Christian political leaders like Dr. Dobson and Mr. Robertson? Where are the bushels of letters pouring into the offices of these members reminding them that Jesus cares enormously for the poor and sick and hurting? Where is the outrage that these people didn’t even bother to go and survey the problems? Maybe they are just late in arriving.

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posted January 30, 2007 at 7:55 am

Without more info I suspect you may be a little unfair on this one, David. After all, 5 of the 7 Democrats on the committee didn’t bother to attend either. So, of a 15 member committee–7 of each party plus one independent (the chair)–12 members did not go to a hearing in New Orleans. The three that did go were the chair (an Independent), the senator from New Orleans (a Democrat), and the only African-American in the senate who happens to be running for president. From the press coverage both he and the media seem to have used this as a campaign event. Why these 3 and not the other 12? There are actually a lot of possible reasons beside “they don’t care”. Most committee meetings held remotely that I have observed are only attended by a small portion of the committee that have a particular reason for being there–usually to satisfy some portion of their constituency–or because it is a junket or a campaign opportunity. When every member has multiple committee assignments, most of their constituents feel they are working harder if they are in Washington. Do Evangelicals care about New Orleans? The secular media have reported that more than 90% of the volunteers who spent time (and still are going) cleaning up and rebuilding after Katrina have come from churches, and most are housed in churches there. Every evangelical church that I have ties to–from coast to coast–has sent teams. And isn’t that the way you would want it? Remember, a fast from politics means not pressuring for political solutions to this as well the more stereotyped issues that Tony Perkins was complaining about… Anyway, for the sake of accuracy, why don’t you find out what the missing 12 were doing while the other 3 were in New Orleans? Then decide if they should all be tarred with the same brush (no matter which party they are in).

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posted January 30, 2007 at 8:38 am

I can’t say it any better than Kevin did. But I will add this… does one need to go an survey to know there are problems? Not really – seems we all know about them from the news or from the people we know who went (or are going) to help. I think you are off on this one David.

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posted January 30, 2007 at 12:24 pm

David,I live in New Orleans and you wont find a more vocal critic of the Administration’s handling of the post-Katrina response than me. That said, I agree with Kevin on this one. It was a political action more than an official visit, as far as I can tell. Around half (give or take, but likely give)of the volunteer relief workers are evangelicals and the other large block are from the far left of the political spectrum.Having lived in West Berlin, I’m no fan of communism. That said, I find it interesting that in many ways, Katrina proved some of Marx’s theories on economics. The storm affected the lowest economic classes more than the upper middle class and upper class and the economy ground to a halt. No workers means no economy.

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posted January 30, 2007 at 12:27 pm

And Lieberman’s name is Mud here after he dropped a Senate investigation on the Katrina response. Thanks Joe!

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posted January 30, 2007 at 3:03 pm

What a bunch of bunk David. A hurricane destroyed New Orleans!!!! And yet, the Democrats have somehow pinned the shame of New Orleans RUN BY DEMOCRATS . . . on the GOP. Come on David, why would a Republican want to go to his own lynching? Especially when not only are they innocent, but have not even been tried and convicted in anything but Leftist politics! The disgusting behaviors and actions of New Orleanites, their squalid lifestyles, their corrupt governmment the violence and hedonism . . . all spread under Democrat power.For ir is written: A dog returns to its own vomit. The GOP did not run New Orleans before Katrina, David.

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posted January 30, 2007 at 4:06 pm

The above remarks are so incorrect on so many levels it defies reason. Im holding my tongue from saying I really want to say on this matter.

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posted January 30, 2007 at 6:39 pm

Well, I’ve had a chance to do a little research since my first post at the top. The committee actually has 17 members: 8 D, 8 R, 1 I. According to the committee’s own web site, 14 out of 17 did not just cut the hearing (8 R, 6 D). Sen. Landrieu is a new member of the committee and has been appointed chair of a new subcommittee on Disaster Recovery which has not been filled with other members yet. Thus she and Chairman Lieberman were the only members of the full committee slated to run the New Orleans hearing (about disaster recovery). Since some of the witnesses had to travel to the hearing as well, part of the purpose of the hearing was undoubtedly to shore up Landrieu in her own backyard (she didn’t shine during Katrina, remember). Senator Obama, another new committee member, came along for the opportunity of a bully pulpit, which may have had something to do with his presidential campaign.Had one of the Republicans come along, it probably would have been perceived as political rather than compassionate as well. But amazingly, considering the size of the field, the only member of this committee currently running for president is Obama… So David–does this leave you a little less cynical–or at least a little less bitter?

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