Comments about ‘In our opinion: Politicizing a disaster like superstorm Sandy borders on obscene’

Return to article »

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 30 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended

During a CNN debate at the height of the GOP primary, Mitt Romney was asked, in the context of the Joplin disaster and FEMA's cash crunch, whether the agency should be shuttered so that states can individually take over responsibility for disaster response.

"Absolutely," he said. "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that's even better. Instead of thinking, in the federal budget, what we should cut, we should ask the opposite question, what should we keep?"

"Including disaster relief, though?" debate moderator John King asked Romney.

"We cannot -- we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids," Romney replied. "It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. It makes no sense at all."

Fitness Freak
Salt Lake City, UT

As the head cheerleader for "team Obama" the NYtimes is obligated to obfuscate, mislead, or out and out lie if need be in order to advance Obama's election efforts.

The REALLY frustrating thing, I'm sure, for the NYT (and others)on the Obama cheerleading crew is that all of their intellectual gymnastics are HURTING the Obama re-election efforts rather than helping him.

They're getting more and more desperate as the election approaches!

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

Why does Romney want to get rid of FEMA?

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

Thanks to Truthseeker for getting the quote. The Romney campaign can deny anything it wants to; he's on record suggesting he'd cut FEMA.
As far as politicizing the event, I'd suggest that Romney collecting canned goods the Red Cross doesn't even want for a photo op would qualify. Congrats, though, to New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie, who has made it clear that his priorities have nothing to do with politics.

Durham, NC

A piece that criticizes those who are using the current events as a basis for their position.... then goes all political to support its own position. Did this piece have to get approval from the irony desk before published?

Obviously many posting here haven't lived in an area that has experienced a major disaster. Not all disasters do rise to the level of requiring FEMA aid. But when they do.... no state can take the impact of an event like this. It is about balance. And I think all logical people understand that. It just where that balance point lives is what is in debate... not if there should be a federal role.

Farmington, UT

The New York Times isn't going to change anyone's mind about who they think would be a better president of the country. Obama already has the liberal NYC vote so who cares what the editor's of the Times say? I certainly don't.

Eugene, OR

The Deseret News isn't going to change anyone's mind about who they think would be a better president of the country. Romney already has the conservative Utah vote so who cares what the editor's of the DN say? I certainly don't.

Heber City, UT

One candidate is politicizing the storm. Claiming to suspend campaigning wile continuing to do so. Pretending to collect food beneath screens running his campaign video. The other candidate is earning praise for his leadership from his competition's surrogate.

Provo, UT

Romney said it. I have seen it. He and his campaign try to deny it at the expense of whatever smell amount of credibility they have remaining.

And speaking of obscene politicizing of tragedies, Mitt Romney set the bar for that when he politicized the murder of the Lybian Ambassador before the guns had even stopped smoking!

Irony is one thing, but hypocrisy such as this is truly obscene!

Provo, UT

Many movement conservatives don't like the idea of a storm providing an opportunity for positive accounts of a president doing his job. It goes against the image they've spent hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours trying create that the president is not one of "us" and should not get re-elected.

They want us to believe that government is OK only when a Republican is in charge. Otherwise, government is bad. They realize that when people are in trouble, they turn to government because it oftentimes is the only place with the resources and organization to deal with major disasters.

Tooele, UT

Re: "One candidate is politicizing the storm."

You mean the one using the Democrat campaign slogan about leaning forward in every press release?

You mean the one vainly attempting to show himself finally acting kinda presidential-ish, while dodging questions about his abject failure to really BE presidential, flying to Las Vegas to party and fundraise instead of handling the attack on the Benghazi consulate?

You mean the one who unleashed his attack dogs at the NYT, to suggest that "big storms require big government?"

You mean the one who was asked to stay out of NY, and who has plenty of storm damage to gawk at in his own backyard, but who insisted on a press event/photo tour of NJ anyway?

Yeah -- one candidate's campaign is clearly committed to politicizing the storm. But it's not Mr. Romney.

Durham, NC

"who cares what the editor's of the Times say? I certainly don't."

toosmart - maybe because the best way to get to an informed opinion is to listen and try to understand multiple positions, then form your own opinion, rather than just listening to those that agree with you. You don't have to agree with the other people, but at least you understand.

Just sayin'

Burke, VA

I'm sure you've heard of the pot calling the kettle black. In today's paper there is this editorial criticizing the New York Times for supposedly politicizing Hurricane Sandy. And then today's lead "news story" is all about poor Mitt Romney having to suspend his campaign so as not to look too critical of the president as he does his job looking out for all the citizens of the nation (not just 47%). Maybe the folks at the Times were just in a bad mood since their city is now crippled and will be for the near future and they reject those who say that government has no place in our lives. This hurricane came at inopportune time for a candidate who has been talking for 17 months about how the private sector can solve all of our problems. But the DN can only express dismay (although certainly in an editorial) about how that candiadte had to put the brakes on his momentum.

Integrity. It's a work too often invoked by those who understand it least.

Burke, VA

OK. So my comment didn't make sense. It should have said, "And then in today's DN lead story..." and "(although certainly not in an editorial)..."

Sorry for the typos - it's Monday.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

This storm is a perfect opportunity for President Obama to come to the aid of the Sandy ravaged East Coast, while Mitt is shown loading relief trucks, and doing his best to dodge questions about his comments stating he would love to defund FEMA.

I think the storm highlights the philosophical differences between the two candidates regarding the role of government.

Take your pick!

Salt Lake City, UT

Which behavior is most presidential?

Organizing relief efforts while communicating to the American people how they might best aid those effected by Sandy,


A press event in Ohio featuring a candidate working the crowd and ducking reporters' questions about FEMA while moving boxes of canned food (which the Red Cross says is counter-productive and specifically ask you _not_ to send) onto trucks for an hour, while your campaign bio video plays overhead?

Look, this campaign _is_ about the proper role of government. One of those roles, in fact one of government's critical roles, is disaster relief.

Romney is on record as calling funding for FEMA "immoral," and the Romney/Ryan budget calls for severe cuts in federal disaster relief.

You guys are spreading this attitude - it's time you own it and deal with the realities of what you're advocating.

And regardless of your political persuasion... Go online, right now, and make a donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund.


There is no better illustration of the difference between parties than the role of FEMA.

Clinton's FEMA director, James Lee Witt, was extremely competent and effective.

Bush replaced Witt with incompetent Scott Brown, thereby proving the Republican mantra "govt doesn't work."

one old man
Ogden, UT

VST says - Disaster relief is best managed at the State level – not at the Federal level.

Possibly true -- unless the magnitude of the storm completely overwhelms the state. Stop and think for a moment. How would Utah do if we were hit by a disaster as large and devastating as Sandy?

How well will Utah do when the Big One hits and Salt Lake, Provo, Orem, Ogden, Layton, Draper, Sugarhouse, Millcreek, Bountiful, and all points in between have been flattened?

VST's thinking points up the foolishness of thinking any state can go it alone when disaster strikes.

Tooele, UT

Re: "Romney is on record as calling funding for FEMA "immoral" . . . ."

Actually, he called wracking up higher debt immoral, but, for discussion purposes, let's go with your characterization.

Since every state, every county, every city and village in the Nation has disaster-relief infrastructure in place, ANY federal infrastructure investment is needlessly and expensively redundant.

States are closer, better placed, better motivated, and perfectly capable, particularly with in-place or planned regional and interstate support agreements, to handle disasters as they occur. Federal involvement seldom extends beyond political photo-ops and money.

So, the ideal FEMA would be one guy with a 50-card rolodex, a big checkbook, and a camera to record the visits of "concerned" Washington politicos.

Anything beyond that is fraud, waste, and abuse.


People stating that emergency relief efforts are best managed at the state or local level are forgetting their history. The Emergency Management System was established at the Federal level because of the inefficienies experienced after 9/11 when rescue crews from around the country responded and were unable to communicate effectively with each other. Federal management, which has established policies and procedures throughout the nation, was absolutely essential.

The proper level of government to manage a disaster depends on the type and scope of the disaster. If your house catches on fire, it can probably be handled locally. If New York City is under 3 feet of water, it's probably going to take something more.

The beauty of EMS is that if the firefighters require assistance to put out your house fire, everyone comes in knowing what to do without wasting time and your house has a better chance of being saved.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments