Six Years Later, Republicans' Katrina Hall of Shame Still Stinks
Six years ago, when Hurricane Katrina hit, it quickly became obvious that the Republican leadership, punditry, and religious cuckoos were going to behave very badly. While others were documenting the horrifying images that remain just as wince-worthy to this day, I decided to collect their words. Then I lined 'em up, put a virtual roof over them, and opened up the Hurricane Katrina Hall of Shame:
It's a collection of lies, callousness, stupidity, opportunism and spin---some of it jaw-droppingly bad---courtesy of Bush administration officials, cronies, Senators, Congressmembers and pundits over a period of three weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit.
It's one of my rare contributions to the history books that I think deserves to be aired out once a year, and if you're in a wincing mood, you'll find the complete list here.
There was plenty of criticism leveled at Democrats for how the BP disaster was handled in the Gulf of Mexico last year. But one thing you cannot accuse our side of is engaging in the kind of selfish, mean-spirited, thoughtless rhetoric of the kind conservatives engaged in during the aftermath of Katrina (and even, to a lesser extent, Irene). They just couldn't help themselves, and six years later they're still doing it on virtually any subject you care to name---right down to the top GOP presidential candidate openly wondering if the current occupant of the White Houseloves America sufficiently.
This year, with Irene having just scratched and clawed its way up the east coast, I want to dedicate a few of my Hall of Shame gems to House Majority leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who insists we can't fund any damage-control efforts until we hack and slash equal amounts from elsewhere (excluding our military's guns and freedom bombs, of course). Here are a few instances of supreme sacrifice on the part of Republicans following Katrina's assault on the South:
"My earmarks are pretty important to that region."
---Republican Rep. Tom DeLay, saying he wouldn’t give up any pork earmarked for his district in order to help cleanup efforts in hurricane-stricken areas (9/21/05)
"Kiss my ear! That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard!"
---Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), when asked if he’d return $223 million earmarked for the "bridge to nowhere." (9/19/05)
"I saw [Republican Senator from Iowa] Chuck Grassley on CNBC looking like he swallowed a giant slug when the host gingerly asked him about his indoor rainforest."
--Atrios, on the refusal by Republicans to cancel some of their pork barrel projects in order to help pay for hurricane clean-up (9/21/05)
But the soul of the tea party---known back in '05 simply as "The Republican Base" before that label became toxic---may have out-ass'ed them all:
"Given the abysmal failure of state and local officials in Louisiana to plan adequately for or respond to the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the city of New Orleans, and given the long history of public corruption in Louisiana, I hope the House will refrain from directly appropriating any funds…to either the state of Louisiana or the city of New Orleans."
--Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado (9/7/05)
And, what the hell, since Dick Cheney is out with his new book, here's a memorable moment from the spring of 2006, when he went to survey the damage and got a taste of his own medicine from ER Dr. Ben Marble: "Go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney!" Oh, such language. Tut tut.