The campaign website of Senator John McCain declares that the arrival ofHurricane Gustav is a moment for “Serving a Cause Greater”. (Whatever that means.) The GOP–which for eight yearsdemonstrated what columnist Paul Krugman described as “an ideological hostility to the very idea of using government toserve the public good” –has now reshuffled its convention, talked offundraisers, phonathons, and volunteers–and told America it’s abovepartisan politics and is putting the country first.
On Monday, the McCain campaign website ran a quote from the candidatehimself smack-dab on the homepage: “I pledge that tomorrow night and ifnecessary throughout our convention, we will act as Americans and not asRepublicans because America needs us now.”
Darn right–you better not act like Republicans if you want to help America.
As Christopher Hayes wrote in his excellent post today, “Volunteers and fundraising isn’t the solution for the Gulf, competent government is, and John McCain has hardly lifted a finger to make that happen.” Hayes points out that McCain warned against over-spending in support of Katrina’s victims; voted against establishing a Congressional commission to examine the response to Katrina in mid-September 2005; voted against allowing up to fifty-two weeks of unemployment benefits to people affected by the hurricane;and in 2006 voted against appropriating $109 billion in supplementalemergency funding, including $28 billion for hurricane relief.
McCain’s newfound “concern” for the plight of disaster victims is ascynical as some of his recent campaign moves (think, Palin). Considerthat in a visit to New Orleans in April McCain said he wasn’t sure whether the Lower 9th Ward should be rebuilt:
We need to go back to have a conversation about what to do: rebuildit, tear it down, you know, whatever it is.
On the same visit, hewouldn’t comment on the disparity in funding for the War in Iraq versusfunding for Gulf Coast rebuilding. (Senator James Webb saidin 2007, “If we’re putting all of this money into Iraq and ignoring NewOrleans, then we’re doing something wrong.”) New Orleans and naturaldisaster preparedness aren’t even mentioned as issues on his campaignwebsite.