Hey, remember the presidential election that’s one week from today? Both Democrats and Republicans are trying not to come off as too “political” while the Northeast struggles to recover from Hurricane Sandy. But, as New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait points out, this is an optimum time for Democrats to politicize the issue of disaster response, since Romney's proposed budget would cut domestic non-entitlement spending — which includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — by about two-thirds.
Watch Romney talk about disaster spending in the video above, which is from a Republican debate last summer. Chait writes:
As he has on so many issues, Romney avoided any specific programmatic commitment here. But the clear point he conveyed was that he would not exempt FEMA from his general opposition to federal spending. The question was whether FEMA falls into the category of spending that Romney wants to return to the states, and his response was entirely in the affirmative.
This would also be an excellent time for Democrats to start talking about climate change. Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg called on Obama to address the fact that, in Cuomo’s words, it seems like “we have a 100-year flood every two years now.” (How many climate scientists do you think are banging their heads against the wall right now, going, “Oh, now you’ve noticed?”)
It’s not like Democrats have been talking up a storm (sorry) about climate change, either. But at least Obama wasn’t caught on tape mocking the idea that we might try to halt rising sea levels at the Republican National Convention. Yep — that’s Romney prompting laughter and applause by belittling Obama’s promise to “begin to slow the rise of the oceans.”
It’s not to soon to start talking about this stuff. In fact, it’s way too late.