01
May
11

‘under obama, fema’s doing great’

Steve Benen: In general, the ability of government agencies to respond to a natural disaster only draws attention when agencies fall short. The media tends to look for “the next Katrina” to demonstrate that feckless bureaucracies and government incompetence are the new norm.

But they don’t have to be, and with an effective administration, they’re not. The New York Times has a report today on the emergency response in the Southeast …. but in this case, the governmental response is earning praise, not condemnations: see here for details on the FEMA and White House response to the disaster

….President Obama and the First Lady were also on the ground in Alabama barely 40 hours after the storm struck. One local resident, who house was obliterated by a tornado, told the NYT, “It ain’t like Katrina. We’re getting help.”

What’s more, Kevin Drum notes some larger context: “Under Bush Sr., FEMA sucked. Under Clinton, FEMA was rehabilitated and turned into a superstar agency. Under Bush Jr., FEMA sucked again. Under Obama, FEMA’s doing great and responding quickly. I know, I know, we’re not supposed to politicize natural disasters. Not when that politicization makes Republicans look bad, anyway. So I’ll just let you draw your own conclusions from these four data points.”

I don’t imagine we’ll hear much about the Obama administration’s response in the Southeast; the media tends to only find these stories interesting if the government is failing instead of succeeding.

But it’s worth keeping in mind anyway. If it’s important when a federal response falls short, it’s worth appreciating what competent governance is capable of.

Full article here


4 Responses to “‘under obama, fema’s doing great’”


  1. 1 Carolyn
    May 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Are we surprised that FEMA is doing great under this president? NO! In only two years it has been turned around completely. This is one of those jobs that only the federal government is large enough to handle. Neither individual states nor charitable organizations have the resources to do this kind of a job. When people yell about starving the beast and breaking the government, they need to remember who is called upon FIRST in this kind of disaster.

  2. 2 luci1119
    May 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, I like It 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. 3 EDP4BHO
    May 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    True, Carolyn, and reading this story makes one appreciate what we all should…..that emergency disaster assistance should be an act of “national” pride, not just local or political. People are effected despite ideology, and with a federal government as well equipped as ours, one that comes to the aid of other nations, it’s idiocy to put any political spin on its efforts.

  4. 4 virginia
    May 1, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    I hope the New York Times printed at least one picture of the President surveying the damage–like the picture above. Here in Washington, the Washington Post did not publish ONE picture of the President in Alabama. At least not in the morning edition of the paper. The lead picture on the front page was of the “Royal Couple” There was a picture of the First Lady hugging a little girl, but that was it. (The new Princess was also featured in a large picture on the first page of the Style section.)

    Here we are with one of the worst tornadoes to ever hit the United States, and the Washington Post was more focussed on the “royals” in another country.

    Since the first family went down there I’ve seen dozens of pictures of the President talking with the residents, viewing the devastation, and talking to various officials. You would think the Post would find ONE picture worth publishing. That along with all the anti-Obama op-eds and columns, I’m beginning to believe the paper has an agenda.


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