Political Animal


January 02, 2013 10:40 AM Sandy Amnesia

By Ed Kilgore

Considering the northeastern venue of most media centers, it’s not surprising that the House’s refusal to follow the Senate in enacting a package of relief and recovery funds for states hit by Sandy is getting a lot of attention today. Those crying betrayal include a lot of House Republicans, notably New York’s Peter King, who is calling on New Yorkers to boycott House GOP campaign accounts and even fanning rumors he’s considering a party-switch.

So given the GOP’s politically counter-productive recent history with disaster relief, what were House leaders thinking? Slate’s Dave Weigel suggests it was mainly a matter of fiscal-cliff tunnel-vision and maybe even collective amnesia. I’m guessing (and it’s just a guess) GOPers were loath to pour gasoline on the fire of conservative outrage over passage of a tax bill with no spending cuts by kicking in another $60 billion of new (if entirely anticipated) spending without offsets. Under this theory, they intended to come back in the next Congress and take care of the Sandy money when it could be obscured (outside the northeast, at least) by all the thundering rhetoric of spending-cut demands associated with a debt limit increase—though it’s also possible the Sandy money could be rolled over into that fight as an additional Blue State leverage point. But if this was a deliberate maneuver that counted on distracted media, it seems to have backfired.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Josef K on January 02, 2013 10:52 AM:

    But if this was a deliberate maneuver that counted on distracted media, it seems to have backfired.

    They do seem to be off their media game lately, don't they? Good thing they appear utterly immune to public outrage and shame.

  • c u n d gulag on January 02, 2013 11:11 AM:

    Peter King is rumoured to be thinking of a party switch?

    Uhm, why? It's not like there's much that seperates him from the rest of the mongrels.
    And to which party?
    I hope he's not assuming that we Democrats would want his crazy xenophobic @$$!
    And I'm sure the Green Party wants nothing to do with that bloviating maniac, either.

    Ok, the NE just had a hurricane that, for us, was of epic proportions.
    In the South, I believe you'd call this, just another "Big Blow."
    So, don't be surprised, the next time another "Big Blow" comes your way, or a 'bigger' one, Southern states, don't expect us to pick up the tab for it - you know, like we've been doing up until now. Oh, and we've also been paying for your roads, schools, airports, railroads, etc.

    You Republicans want to be truly conservative?
    How about a state only gets back what it puts into the Federal Kitty?

    That would help us pay for Hurricane Sandy, since we wouldn't have to be sending any money to y'all!

    Oh, that's right, your precious "state" and it's "rights" wouldn't survive a year, if you only got back what you kicked in!

  • DJ on January 02, 2013 11:12 AM:

    I wonder how vehement King was in his advocacy for natural disasters outside of Staten Island. Joplin, the Gulf Coast after Katrina...they could have used all the advocates they could get.

  • Nardcore on January 02, 2013 11:15 AM:

    Republicans are opposed to civilization, as a concept. The Hobbesian war of all against all is what they want. Citizens helping one another is just weakness. These folks are sick.

  • Perspecticus on January 02, 2013 11:27 AM:

    Everything else being equal, don't let's not be encouraging any phony baloney party switiching from Peter King. THE MEDIA! (tm) will declare him a moderate and I just can't take that right now, what with trying to keep track of all the new years that keep happening around here.

  • James on January 02, 2013 11:31 AM:

    We don't want that whackjob in our party. Hell, no.

  • Barbara on January 02, 2013 11:33 AM:

    To see what kind of media coverage this is getting in New Jersey, which has a congressional delegation that is way skewed R when compared to its statewide voting tendencies, what I found was quotes from a bunch of reps trying to make lemonade out of a lemon, suggesting that debt relief from the new and improved Congress will be better than ever. King seems to be an outlier. Maybe next time people living on Staten Island and in the coastal reaches of New Jersey will think twice before considering their interests to be more aligned with the Republican party. I won't hold my breath. Of course, relief legislation is important, but I will not weep too hard for these communities in particular, who seem to have drunk the kool-aid being served by the tea party and voted R even after experiencing a disaster that foreshadowed just this kind of showdown over relief.

  • Celui on January 02, 2013 11:33 AM:

    Peter King switching parties?? The new paintjob will disappear in short order. Can't even consider this as serious. Posturing, pure and simple.

  • Stetson Kennedy on January 02, 2013 11:53 AM:

    Peter King is considering a party switch? To what? The Nazi party?

    This proves what hypocrites these RepubliCONS are. All about cutting spending, until the cuts impact their districts. As many of the tea party congresscritters did after the stimulus bill passed - they had their hands out begging for cash, all while trashing the bill publically.

    Nancy Pelosi should tell King to go F___ himself.

  • exlibra on January 02, 2013 12:04 PM:

    Stetson, @11:53 AM

    Not Nazi; IRA. As for the "All about cutting spending, until the cuts impact their districts." rule, like all rules it has its exceptions. Cantor was against help for his own district after the quake, unless it was offset with cuts elsewhere (preferably to Medicaid and Medicare, I guess). I could hardly believe my eyes when I read that bit. Granted, it wasn't such a great quake as disasters go, but, still...

    Craptcha is fierce today; I refreshed 4 times before I saw something I'm willing to attempt..

  • boatboy_srq on January 02, 2013 12:17 PM:

    @Josef K:

    They do seem to be off their media game lately, don't they? Good thing they appear utterly immune to public outrage and shame.

    One wonders whether, rather than actively campaigning for "secession" as a "states' rights" policy plank, they're making themselves so disagreeable that the other states will kick them out of the Union just to be able to resume effective government (for the remaining states). There's no precedent for that, and no guidance from Teh Holy Constitution, either, so there's likely to be less fuss than if they simply tried to leave the Union again.

    It could also be that, for a plurality of the Teahad, "reconstruction" (in any sense) is a dirty word.

    It would be most telling if, in the 2013 hurricane season, Alabama or South Carolina got hammered by a big storm, and the Teahad contingents from more northern and western states similarly refused to consider a comparable proposal. But I forget: Cantor is already on record refusing aid for his own constituents (without getting the GOTea budget wish list) for Sandy, so there might not be a peep about that even then.

    Shorter GOTea: we get everything we want, and you get nothing - or we all throw a tantrum and nobody (except Halliburton, Lockheed, ExxonMobil and Koch Industries) gets anything.

  • boatboy_srq on January 02, 2013 12:31 PM:


    SFoA (Sinn Fein of America). ABSOLUTELY. THIS is where King would go.

  • Josef K on January 02, 2013 12:48 PM:

    If I were the Democrats, I'd offer King whatever chairmanships he wanted if he switched...provided he sign a contract saying he would only vote the way the Democratic leadership tell him to, sign as a co-sponsor of every progressive piece of legistlation they write, and speak not one word in public that isn't scripted for him. And each time he steps out of line, he has to cut off a finger as penance, moving on to toes when he runs out of fingers.

    This clod wants to act like a gangster, let him practice it for real. Otherwise he can stay with the rest of the wannabes.