(The Root) — With all of the insanity that's hit the news media over Hurricane Sandy, obviously there had to be something that would screw with the political news cycle. Lo and behold:
Mitt Romney probably forgot that he even weighed in on this particular subject, or at least forgot what side of the issue he took as his own position. Romney's desire to remove anything from the federal government that we can should scare people — especially when it comes to disaster relief.
The desire for smaller government is not by itself a bad thing. There are myriad situations in which I would very much prefer the government stay the hell out of Americans' lives — like, perhaps, a woman's right to choose? In that case, for the love of all things bacon-flavored, please do not interfere. However, when it comes to things like disaster relief, I would like the federal government to play a role. I'd also prefer that it not wait three days before it decides to play that role.
In a post at the Atlantic magazine, Jordan Weissmann argues, "No, Mitt Romney Doesn't Really Want to Kill Off FEMA," claiming that Romney's statement is vague and allows for wiggle room. That is the exact reason we should be terrified. When isn't Romney vague and allowing himself wiggle room? Even if he says something explicitly, he'll simply say, "That's not what I meant" or "I didn't say that," and boom! His position is changed.
Romney, and Republicans in general, want to actively slash and cut things of importance to many everyday Americans who would be devastated without this sort of intervention. Following conservative logic on this subject would be problematic, as Weissmann points out:
Do we really want to tie the federal government's hands with super stringent requirements for when it can and can't step in? And do we really trust disaster prone states like like Louisiana and Texas, which also hold low-taxes about as dear as they do college football, to spend properly to protect their citizens and critical economic infrastructure, like oil refineries?
With less than two weeks until the election, this storm should remind folks of what could be taken away from them and what that could mean. History will judge us for this.
Elon James White is a writer and satirist and host of the award-winning video and radio series This Week in Blackness. Listen Monday to Thursday at 1:30 p.m. EST at TWIB.FM and watch at TV.TWIB.ME/LIVE. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Tumblr.