Home > posts > Obama’s Hurricane Hypocrisy — with More Details
October 10th, 2012 6:49 pm
Obama’s Hurricane Hypocrisy — with More Details

I had a big story today at the Daily Caller about how Barack Obama first was directly told that the Bush administration was releasing federal money to Louisiana post-Katrina and letting LA use that same federal money as the Stafford Act “match” for the rest of the federal recovery money — in other words, that the locals actually put up not one red cent — but declared himself unsatisfied even with that. THEN he, Obama, voted AGAINST a bill that provided Katrina recovery funds while waiving the Stafford Act. Then, in the now-infamous Hampton University speech, he blasted Bush for not waiving funds that Bush already had de facto waived and that the Senate then had waived while Obama had voted against the bill providing the waiver.

NOW, with Obama as president, he has REFUSED to waive the Stafford Act for LA victims of Hurricane Isaac.

One’s head spins at the multiple hypocrisies.

But now I would like to hash out some details. It is true, as Media Matters has reported, that Obama had voted for an alternative version of the Katrina relief bill that also waived the Stafford Act “match” requirements. The overall bill provided not just Katrina relief but also provided for better military support related to the war in Iraq. Obama voted for a bill that did all that while requring a specific timeline for troop withdrawal for Iraq, and issued a statement saying he had voted against the bill that actually did pass because it provided for no such timeline. But this is not a good excuse; in fact it raises serious questions about his judgment.

Because Obama’s desired timeline requirement would have been imposed just as the famously successful “Surge” in Iraq was going on and in a key phase. The timeline would have undermined the Surge. And Obama’s holier-than-thou intransigence wasn’t popular even among the anti-war crowd in his own party in the Senate: The bill that passed without a timeline did so by an 80-14 vote, including overwhelming support among Democrats.

Among those liberal Democrats who voted for the bill waiving the Stafford Act, despite its lack of an Iraq timeline, were Joe Biden, Richard Durbin of Obama’s home state of Illinois, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Majority Leader Harry Reid, and West Point graduate Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a military procurement expert who had voted against authorizing military activities in Iraq in the first place.

By the time of the vote, of course, Obama was running for president. He was obviously playing up his timeline thing as a sop to the liberal base of his party for presidential primary purposes; while most Democrats, as we have seen, obviously thought it irresponsible to vote against the bill that actually passed just in order to make a point — an ill-timed, indeed dangerously timed point — about wanting to pull the troops home.

In short, Obama’s explanation doesn’t mitigate against the charge of hypocrisy; it just adds irresponsibility on top of the hypocrisy.

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