Yesterday on a campaign stop replete with photo-ops in New Orleans, Sen. John McCain made an attempt to distance himself from the failings of the Bush Administration during Katrina and the federal flood by saying “Never again…” and spinning himself as someone who would have been more proactive than had Bush regarding this disaster.
But does McCain really represent a change from BushCo incompetence, if not outright genocide, in New Orleans? Would a McCain administration really aid New Orleans’ recovery? Is McCain a friend of New Orleans, or a foe?
While in New Orleans, McCain listed some priorities for the city’s recovery.
He said the Army Corps of Engineers can “refurbish its image” if it follows through and provides upgraded levee protection by 2011. He also called for investment in more extensive Category 5 hurricane protection and the restoration of the barrier islands and wetlands that protect New Orleans from storm surge.
McCain said health care services must be restored in struggling areas, such as the Lower 9th Ward, so displaced residents can feel confident about returning home.
But there are some contradictory things that make McCain’s attempt to distance himself from BushCo on New Orleans look like spin. First of all, regarding the Lower 9th Ward, he is reported to have said
he was not sure if he would rebuild the lower 9th ward as president.
“That is why we need to go back is to have a conversation about what to do-rebuild it, tear it down, you know, whatever it is,” he said.
Aside from this, I haven’t heard much of anything else McCain would do if elected that would repair the damage done by the federal flood–and BushCo neglect–to New Orleans.
And a Huffpo article quotes an AP article saying that McCain said in New Orleans that had Katrina happened on his watch,
he would have immediately landed his plane at the nearest Air Force base…
But the author of this article reminds us that, to the contrary, as Katrina happened,
Senator McCain wasn’t far off from President Bush. In fact, the two were standing right next to each other.
celebrating Sen. McCain’s birthday.
And then there’s Sen. McCain’s voting record. Per the Democratic National Committee,
McCain voted against relief measures for Katrina victims multiple times, as well as voting against an investigation into the failures of the government response. McCain also voted against providing additional funding for first responders’ communication systems, despite claiming today:
We know that we had a situation where first responders were unable to communicate with each other. Where government agencies were getting information by watching cable television, rather than having a flow of information themselves.
And last but not least–when controversial remarks by Barack Obama’s pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright have been quoted all over the place, far more rarely do we hear that McCain endorser Pastor John Hagee has been quoted saying that New Orleans was destroyed because of her people’s sinful ways.
So regarding the question “Is McCain a friend or foe of New Orleans? I’ll have to say, like many Rethugs, he’s a foe. And if McCain is elected, New Orleans can expect more of the same