Despite dire warnings that Hurricane Gustav might exceed the 2005 Hurricane Katrina nightmare in terms of damage, lives lost, and overall intensity, this latest storm to strike the Gulf Coast was barely a Category Two by the time it made landfall. Perhaps more significantly, it missed New Orleans by seventy miles which resulted in far less damage to that city.
Even so, the winds of liberal political grandstanding blew much harder this time around. Having descended to a level of utter shamelessness over the past eight years, Democrat politicians regularly show that absolutely nothing is beneath them. If human misery and suffering could be effectively translated into political points for the left as it was in 2006, then the more suffering that occurs, the more leftists will celebrate the situation. Liberal glee at the advance of Gustav towards U.S. shores was unrestrained. But in the wake of its less than catastrophic pass over coastal Louisiana, liberals were forced to quickly change the subject.
This disgraceful pattern of opportunistic politicians who exploit despair and adversity is nothing new to the human condition. Throughout history, just as surely as human beings suffered pain and deprivation from their natural surroundings or at the hands of their fellow humans, so were aspiring despots quick to recognize the benefits of turmoil and upheaval when seeking to garner loyalty and submission from the distraught masses. Yet Democrat efforts to apply this detestable recipe for "success" have clearly reached new lows in the past few decades.
When pondering the remorseless exploitation of a calamity, few can recall any situation exceeding the vile political games played by the Clinton Administration on the occasion of the bombing of the Murrah Building in downtown Oklahoma City on May 19, 1995. The rubble had not yet completely settled before Clinton and his mouthpieces were offering up a "laundry list" of political enemies against whom they claimed ultimate blame for the event should rest.
Throughout the remainder of Clinton's terms in office, a dark pattern emerged, wherein every dire occurrence would be similarly invoked by the Clinton "War Room" as a means of bludgeoning the political opposition, no matter how tenuous or nonexistent the connection between any presumed effect and the Clinton Administration's asserted cause. In the wake of an unexpected cataclysm, a "whipping boy" or two, invariably on the right, would be targeted for blame by the Clintons.
The horrendous scope of the 9-11 terrorist attacks resulted in a brief respite from this pattern. America did indeed rally around its leaders as a result of those attacks, and liberal political operatives were sufficiently astute to realize that they had nothing to gain, and much to lose, were they to go against the tides of public opinion while emotions ran so high. Yet as the 2002 midterm elections confirmed, neither could Democrats hope to regain political dominance by acceding to the rightness of the Republican administration's response to the ongoing terrorist threat.
An America that understood the dangers posed by hostile foreign entities was an America that could never again be scared into accepting any precept of the liberal ideology. Thus, in the days immediately following the Iraq invasion, the left implemented an unrelenting agenda of blaming America and its leaders for every misfortune, every perceived misfortune, and every fabricated misfortune of the war. Facts and truth be hanged. If anything bad happened anywhere, it was somehow the fault of the Republicans.
This ruse reached a crescendo with the onset of Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. Decades of a virtual Democrat governing monopoly in Louisiana, left that state mired in corrupt misuse of the enormous federal funds intended to shore up its barriers and infrastructure against the eventuality of a massive hurricane. Yet this obvious lack of adequate preparation was ignored. Instead all blame for the post-Katrina chaos was directed at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Democrat claims of rampant ineptitude and assertions of racial undercurrents to explain the slow federal response to the crisis, along with some real malfeasance within GOP ranks (such as the Mark Foley scandal during the following year), contributed to the demise of Republican majorities in both houses of Congress in the 2006 elections. The lesson learned by Democrats was to scream loudly and unceasingly that every dreadful situation could be recast as the direct consequence of those evil Republicans.
Many would see such conduct as the blatant manipulation that it is. Nevertheless, a sufficient number might be fooled by such antics to deliver a needed electoral victory. And, after all, that is the primary concern of the liberal/Democrat political machine. Being devoid of any worthwhile ideas or agenda, a political ploy of this nature seems well worth the risk.
Yet it may indeed be in the process of backfiring for the Democrats on an enormous scale. Hurricane Gustav ultimately did not wreak the destruction on New Orleans that some had predicted. At the same time, the state resources of Louisiana were clearly far better managed to deal with the emergency by Republican Governor Bobby Jindal than was the case in 2005 when Democrat Governor Kathleen Blanco was at the helm.
Perhaps most revealing of all was the unfettered Democrat jubilation at the prospect of a horrific natural disaster, which was being greeted at that party's highest levels as yet another opportunity to affix blame on the GOP for every dire aspect of the situation. Former Democrat leader Don Fowler exulted that Gustav, growing to terrible intensity at the time of his comment, was nevertheless a sign that "God favors Democrats," in which sentiment he was echoed by far-left movie producer Michael Moore.
Though Fowler later conditionally recanted (It was, after all, Jerry Falwell who drove him to it.), the former Democrat Chairman's initial willingness to glory in a situation of likely loss of life and property was unmistakably reflective of the propensity of Democrats to use tragedy for their political benefit.
A more severe storm might have brought about the desired effect for those on the left. But Gustav simply did not cooperate. In any case, the penchant of Democrats to overplay this hand was on display for all to see.
A political movement and political party that derive gain from ill fortune, and are so transparent in their attempts to do so, by definition can never have the best interests of the nation as its chief motivation. It is a lesson that devoted and conscientious Americans should take with them to the voting booths come November.
Copyright ©2008 Christopher G. Adamo