Another disaster in the making

John Podhoretz quotes an unnamed “high-level muckety-muck” who is defending the Republican’s Dear Leader:

Most conservatives praised the President’s speech last night, though there are some who worry that we are embarking on a “new Great Society.” In my estimation this concern is ill-founded. Here’s why.

No one wants to spend billions of dollars if it can be avoided(1). Yet we face a situation in which the Gulf Coast region was hit by the worst natural disaster in American history. There is no alternative(2)but to spend billions of dollars to help the region’s innocent people(3) rebuild their infrastructure, remove debris, send health professional and medical supplies to those in need, provide shelter to hundreds of thousands of evacuee families, help displaced persons apply for temporary jobs and unemployment benefits, and so much more.

The federal government has a moral obligation(4)and a legal commitment (under the 1988 Stafford Act) to help a region recover from a disaster of this magnitude. Reconstruction costs for public infrastructure are built in; the question is what additional policies to advance. The President faced a choice: he could pursue policies that have been repeatedly tried and repeatedly failed — or he could pursue a new, more conservative approach(5). The President, as you might expect, has cast his lot with the latter.

Last night’s speech is an unprecedented effort to use conservative means to alleviate persistent poverty(6). The key to the President’s approach is to use the federal government to catalyze and energize private institutions and individual choice.(7)

The number of astoundingly inaccurate assertions in these four paragraphs is impressive.

1. Has this guy ever heard of the U.S. Congress?
2. Governments have not attempted to aid the overwhelming majority of victims of natural disasters for most of human history. Clearly, there is an alternative.
3. If you live in a coastal city below sea level, you’re not innocent. You are taking a risk.
4. A government is not an entity capable of having morals.
5. Everyone with a brain already knows the president isn’t a conservative. This empty rhetoric doesn’t fool anyone.
6. Perhaps declaring war on it would be a good idea! Oh, wait….
7. Attempting to ameliorate the consequences of individual choice is what caused the New Orleans disaster in the first place.