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Obama, Democrats Ignore Own Disaster Response Advice; Could Cost Clinton Black Votes

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In 2005, erstwhile talented rapper Kanye West made the following claim at the end of an otherwise incoherent rant during a live fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Katrina: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”.

Fast forward 11 years, when over three times as much rain has fallen on Louisiana, and you will see a news media doing their best to ignore the Obama administration’s fecklessness during a similar time of strife, and a central government response that in and of itself has been underwhelming and deleterious to public confidence.

Of course Katrina was never about black or white people. And nor is this no-named storm. But if it must be – if you force it to be with statements here and now or 11 years ago – then we must surely be able to proclaim the same of Barack Obama and his Democratic Party: they do not care about black people.

Unless it means votes, of course. And as crass as it might be to imply it at a time when many are living in shelters and worried about loved ones: this is why the establishment media has been so slow to call out the Democrat president on the matter. It might cost Hillary Clinton some black votes.

And not least because one presidential candidate managed to make it down to Louisiana and as the Democratic Party Governor John Edwards himself said: “[H]elped to shine a spotlight on Louisiana and on the dire situation that we have here… it was helpful”.

Meanwhile Secretary Clinton proclaimed that by visiting the area she might “disrupt” the flood response teams. Strangely, no one accused Mr. Trump of doing such a thing, nor did he get in the way.

President Bush visited the Gulf Coast just a few days after disaster had struck in 2005. But for some that wasn’t enough. In fact, for then-Senator Barack Obama it wasn’t enough. He said in a speech following the incident:

“When the people of New Orleans and Gulf Coast extended their hand for help, help was not there. When people looked up from the rooftops, for too long they saw an empty sky. When the winds blew and the flood waters came, we learned for all of our wealth and our power, something wasn’t right with America. We can talk about what happened for a few days in 2005, and we should. We can talk about levies that couldn’t hold, about a FEMA that seem not just incompetent but paralyzed and powerless, about a president who only saw the people from a window on an airplane instead of down here on the ground, trying to provide comfort and aid… We can talk about a trust that was broken, the promise that our government would be prepared, will protect us, and will respond in a catastrophe.”

Not only did Senator Obama not realise what a hypocrite he would one day make himself out to be, but he probably also failed to realise just how prescient he was in decrying central government incompetence.

Instead of heeding his own words however, he took to the Oval Office with an arrogance befitting a man who has scarcely achieved much and thusly had no real cause to fail. Mr. “You Didn’t Build That” was himself declaring: “I’m gonna build that” with regards a central government that could and would rapidly react to the campaign talking points he had so duly trumpeted country-wide.

Iraq. Guantanamo. Emergency response. Unemployment. Healthcare. Education. The Middle East Conflict.

On more and more issues Mr. Obama set himself up as the patron saint. And set himself up to fail.

And it is this same wider arrogance of the left – they truly believe they are “better people” than their right-wing counterparts, and can outperform them in government – that sets such a trap.

Former Louisiana State Senator Elbert Guillory has it right, as he told me on Breitbart News Sunday this weekend, that the same charges if not worse should be levelled at President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic Party for its response to Louisiana.

“Under [Obama’s] administration he bailed out the banks, he bailed out Wall Street, but Black unemployment is the highest it has been since the Great Depression… More than 60 per cent of our students, sometimes as many as 90 in urban areas, cannot read and write at grade level,” he said.

He hit the nail on the head in 2013 when he switched from Democrat to Republican, and declared:

“You see, at the heart of liberalism is the idea that only a great and powerful big government can be the benefactor of social justice for all Americans. But the left is only concerned with one thing — control. And they disguise this control as charity. Programs such as welfare, food stamps, these programs aren’t designed to lift black Americans out of poverty, they were always intended as a mechanism for politicians to control the black community.

“The idea that blacks, or anyone for that matter, need the the government to get ahead in life is despicable.

“But most importantly, it is the idea that the individual must be free to pursue his or her own happiness free from government dependence and free from government control. Because to be truly free is to be reliant on no one other than the author of our destiny.”

It brings me to the point former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made in 1987:

“I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand ‘I have a problem, it is the Government’s job to cope with it!’ or ‘I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!’ ‘I am homeless, the Government must house me!’ and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first… There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.”

Of course when large-scale natural disasters are concerned one might ask, “How can we not believe this is government’s responsibility?”

It is, at least from a local perspective, as we’ve seen with the response to Louisiana here in 2016. But Kanye West would have done well to understand that him standing in front of NBC cameras potentially raising money from individuals, from families, from friends, neighbours, and countrymen of those affected in 2005 was much stronger than attempting to score racially-motivated political points off George W. Bush.

And as a conservative, George W. Bush should have realised that large-scale governmental relief efforts are always destined to fail, or at very best come up short of expectation.

So blaming Obama for his own ineptitude this time around may be politically useful. But we should be blaming leftism (liberalism, U.S.) for setting these places up for disappointment. And indeed in grand scheme of things, setting them up for suffering, destruction, and in the worst cases, death.

Raheem Kassam is the editor in chief of Breitbart London and tweets at @RaheemKassam 


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