Wednesday, May 22, 2013

In wake of tornado tragedy, both of Oklahoma's senators prove once again to be self-serving assholes

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Inhofe and Coburn, Oklahoma's finest.

First it was Tom Coburn, the junior senator, who said that he would "only support relief aid if it's offset by cuts elsewhere." As I wrote, "disaster relief is apparently one of those things you have to negotiate with Republicans. (Okay, we'll help you out a bit, but only if we fuck some other people elsewhere.) Chris Christie understandably went ballistic when Republicans did this in response to Hurricane Sandy. But who will speak for the people of Oklahoma?"

Well, Jim Infofe, but with shameless hypocrisy. The senior senator said that Hurricane Sandy aid, which he opposed, was "totally different" from Oklahoma tornade relief, because the Sandy bill had "things in the Virgin Islands. They were fixing roads there and putting roofs on houses in Washington, D.C." "Everyone was getting in and exploiting the tragedy that took place," he added. "That won't happen in Oklahoma." No? Your buddy Coburn's already gone there.

In any event, Inhofe is full of shit. As the Post's Rachel Weiner and Matt DeLong explain:

The senator appeared to be referring to the fact that some funds from the Sandy package for the Federal Highway Administration could go to the Virgin Islands, as well as $2 million allocated to the Smithsonian for roofs damaged by the storm. We don't yet know what a congressional relief package for Oklahoma would look like, if one is even necessary. As of Tuesday morning, FEMA has $11.6 billion in its Disaster Relief Fund.

So some money could have gone to an American territory through the FHA and there was a need to repair some damage at the Smithsonian, an essential American institution.

Look, Inhofe and other Republicans were just looking for anything to block Sandy relief. This extra spending was what they used to justify their opposition.

But of course it's Oklahoma now, not blue states in the Northeast, and you can be sure that Inhofe, if not Coburn (who's more rigidly ideological and a bit less self-serving), will do whatever it takes to get the money.

More broadly, though, what we're seeing here, once more (as always), is the politicization of disaster, and tragedy, by Republicans. It's not that they don't care about the suffering, at least when it's in their own backyard, it's that they can't let any opportunity pass to advance their radical right-wing agenda and score political points.

Just imagine if Democrats from far away from Oklahoma were doing this now, doing what Inhofe and the rest did after Sandy. Republicans would be outraged, as usual, hitting back at every turn, and there be no end to it in conservative media.

But you know what? Democrats wouldn't do it. They're not Republicans, after all.

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  • If Obama had guts he'd veto tornado aid to OK. Electing senators who sabotage disaster funding to other states should have severe consequences for the electorate.

    "I've got mine, fuck you" isn't a way to run a country and voters who promote that kind of attitude need to be punished until their attitude improves.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:54 PM  

  • I find it interesting how these hard-core Republicans, like Inhofe and Coburn take a real hard-line on even basic government functions like disaster relief.
    And yet, these hypocritical assholes never say a word about the sky-high cost of their own bloated salaries. (After all, members of the U.S. Senate enjoy lavish salaries, benefits and pensions that are light-years beyond what any private sector worker could imagine). In fact, U.S. private sector workers don't even get pensions any more.
    As someone who worked in the private sector all my life and went decades without even so much as one sick day, I have nothing but contempt for the insane greed of America's Ownership Class and their bought-and-paid-for representatives in "our" government.

    By Blogger Marc McDonald, at 4:28 AM  

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