J Walking

J Walking

More on the non-Rs and Katrina

Comments and emails about my last post about the lack of Republican representation on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee raise concerns about my fairness:

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

They also raise concerns about not giving evangelicals enough credit for caring about New Orleans:

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.

A couple points of clarification are in order.

First, my point isn’t about the number of Democrats on the committee that attended the hearing (actually 4 of the 7 attended – Sen. Obama is a member of the committee). My point is that not one Republican attended. Not one. That is the point of shame – that the party of Lincoln is now so far removed from the ideals of Lincoln on matters of poverty that not one Republican bothers going to look and see what is happening in the aftermath of Katrina.

Second, my ire about Christian response isn’t directed at the countless men and women who have been to New Orleans to help. It is directed at the Christian political powerbrokers who never bother to make poverty an issue. That is sad.

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posted January 30, 2007 at 6:47 pm

Well, I’ve had a chance to do a little research since my first post this morning. 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. According to the official committee press release these are the only 3 members at the hearing–you mentioned a 4th David, but I couldn’t find any mention of them. 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… I would really be curious to see which senators have come on their own time and without media coverage just to work with volunteers. So David–does this leave you a little less cynical–or at least a little less bitter?

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David Kuo

posted January 30, 2007 at 7:16 pm

Kevin – Thanks for the comments. But no, nothing here changes a thing. Bottom line – no Republicans. That is a just sad and unfortunately typical. You offer a nice political analysis of the situtation but there is an analysis that is supposed to trump the political. Thanks again, David

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posted January 30, 2007 at 7:26 pm

David,I’m no Republican, and as I mentioned before Im no fan of the Administration, but on the ground here, we have had damn near everyone from both houses here at one time or another. Ive been stuck in traffic several times because some notable from the Hill or White House is here and they blocked the freeways for a couple fo hours. This was just a new batch (although I disagree with kevin’s view of Landrieu).There is no beef here with Congress, except for some poorly worded statements by the former Speaker. Congress did its duty and voted for rebuilding money. Thanks guys!So, if I, as a non-Republican Katrina victim don’t have a problem with the lack of a Republican on this trip, I dont understand why you would.

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David Kuo

posted January 30, 2007 at 8:08 pm

Matt – very well put. I suppose the answer is that on the heels of a State of the Union where Katrina wasn’t mentioned, in the context of a new congress where Democrats are working overtime to reach across the faith aisle (no matter the motivation), where people like John Edwards and Barack Obama are talking about the moral importance of dealing with poverty, to see a trip like this with Republican representation simply boggles my mind. That make sense? Thanks again for your comments, David

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posted January 30, 2007 at 8:32 pm

It does make sense, but you of all people know about politics. And although we have a popular (even to us locals) Republican Senator, the GOP has ceded this battle to the Democrats. And I suppose the less said, the better it is for them, since it was such a colosal failure of management for the Administration.For what its worth, it occurred to me that I wouldn’t have considered that to be the case until after I read your book.

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David Kuo

posted January 30, 2007 at 9:04 pm

Matt – Thanks for the words but I really wish you hadn’t ever had to reach that conclusion. Sad, truly sad. David

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