Thursday, September 01, 2005

Dennis Hastert (Foot in Mouth-IL)

It's not a good idea to tell nearly a half a million people who are now refugees that the federal government won't help them rebuild their beloved city. I dunno...kinda seems heartless.

Well, House Speaker Dennis Hastert did the unthinkable.

Speaking to a Chicago newspaper, he said that any attempt at rebuilding the Big Easy, "didn't make sense to me." Here's more:

Hastert said that he supports an emergency bailout, but raised questions about a long-term rebuilding effort. As the most powerful voice in the Republican-controlled House, Hastert is in a position to block any legislation that he opposes.

"We help replace, we help relieve disaster," Hastert said. "But I think federal insurance and everything that goes along with it... we ought to take a second look at that."

The Speaker questions rebuilding a city that is below sea level.

Okay, it wasn't the smartest idea three centuries ago to build a city below sea level, but it's been built and people live there. It's there home. What Hastert said was callous and mean-spirited. As the leader of the GOP he's come across as not really caring about the citizens of New Orleans.

It's the sort of statements that one might be remembered come the 2006 elections.


At 6:45 PM, Blogger Paul said...

It may be what's beyond the words that's important here. And I can understand where the train is headed with this one. I don't even want to guess what the price tag would be to rebuild the entire New Orleans Metro area. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither should be New Orleans. I think it would be better if people would go to other cities and try to rebuild their lives. I would really be surprised if the metro population of New Orleans after all this mess would be more than 500k. But all in all there should be lessons learned from every situation. This one I'd say that there should me more mass transportation between cities. Guess only time will tell of what N.O will look like in five years.

At 10:21 PM, Blogger True Patriot said...

Oy, vay.

Is it possible for the Republican Party to plant their collective foot more firmly in their mouth? How can these guys talk about not funding rebuilding and even insurance issues when they cut off funding for the dikes and emergency support programs in the first place?!? Is it possible that Joe Six Pack will not see the Republicans as callous, uncaring shits? This is insane.

At 10:25 AM, Blogger Brian said...

You know what, Hastert's timing was absolutely atrocious. This is not the moment to be discussing this. HOWEVER, once everyone is rescued and the cleanup begins, I really don't know if that sort of question should be off limits. Maybe the city's forefathers made a mistake in choosing that location; but given that the city's virtually destroyed, do we need to spend billions of dollars repeating the same mistake?

At 10:26 AM, Blogger Brian said...

And as you know, I have very little sympathy for Hastert and the Republican Party in general.

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Michael "Sotek" Ralston said...

The one thing I think should be done with New Orleans that won't be is a double levee system.

Build a levee capable of taking a very large storm surge. A little ways further in, build another one to the same specification - plus some "cross-levees" at points, to divide it up.

That way, even if a levee fails, the city doesn't get flooded, and there's time to react.

Of course, it'd cost extra, and use more land, so it won't happen - but it should.

At 2:00 PM, Blogger Paul Wartenberg said...

There's about 50 things the Republican leadership has done wrong in the past 5 years that have led up to this tragedy, which is unforgiveable. There's about 100 things right now that needs to be fixed (raising federal money and increasing gov't involvement), which I fear won't get done because it'll inconvenience the ideologues in charge (hi, Grover, still interested in drowning things?). That said, and knowing this isn't the right time for it, but Hastert is pretty much right: where New Orleans is now is a lousy place to have a city, rebuilding it is going to be costly, there's no way of adequately protecting that place because it's more than just the levees, it's just simply the wrong place to have a city, if we rebuild there the odds are we'll run into this nightmare again (and this isn't the only flood that's happened here). I say find a place upriver that's on higher, safer ground and rebuild the whole city. Look, there's about 100 things to get angry about over the tragedy: Hastert's statements isn't one of them.


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