Last year, in the GOP primary debates, Mitt Romney was asked if he supported getting rid of FEMA and leaving responsibility for disaster response and recovery in the hands of individual states. Mitt agreed enthusiastically:
KING: What else, Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?
ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. … We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off.
Today, in the wake of horrific damage from Sandy, Romney was asked 14 times by reporters whether he still supported the elimination of FEMA. He ignored the question all fourteen times.
His campaign didn’t. they put out a statement reversing the candidate’s position.
“As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most,” Henneberg said. “This includes help from the federal government and FEMA.”
In other words, he supports the status quo. But in 2011, he said running deficits to pay for disaster response was “immoral.” And his budget plan would hold nonmilitary discretionary spending to 20 percent of GDP, which, if you remove entitlements – as he proposes, would result a 39 percent cut to FEMA and every other program.
Cutting it by 39 percent is certainly a unique way to show your support for FEMA. And, by the way, weather forecasting, including hurricane prediction, would not be immune to Romney’s cuts.
Weather forecasters and emergency managers aren’t the only “big government” employees Mitt Romney would like to see fewer of. Let’s recall that in the wake of collective bargaining fights in Wisconsin and Ohio, Mitt said this:
Speaking about the President, Romney said: “he wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”
Mitt has a strange idea about how to help Americans in need. When a natural disaster wipes out your town, do you want the guy in charge who thinks states should be left to their own resources to respond? When you’re trapped in rising flood waters, do you want the guy in charge who thinks we have too many police officers and firefighters?
Next time you lose your house in a storm, do you want FEMA to help your local responders when they’re overwhelmed, or do you want Mitt Romney and his merry band of volunteers to bring you a bag of canned corn?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then you should probably vote for Mitt Romney.