Failure is Lethal

30 September 2022


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Hurricane Reponse Will Make or Break DeSantis


Hurricane Ian hit central Florida yesterday, coming ashore near Fort Myers. The winds were just shy of Category 5, and the rain dropped as much as 18 inches of water. The recovery efforts have begun as the storm has moved out to sea and will visit the Carolinas in a day or so. The response of the various governments, especially the state government, will set a political tone that could affect careers. Simply put, the effectiveness of the response will make or break Governor Ron DeSantis. If he botches this, his presidential hopes are largely doomed for 2024. If he gets it right, he could well win the GOP nomination as a guy who gets things done.

For anyone with a memory of the Tea Party days of the Republican Party, Ron DeSantis was an ideologue and a firebrand who argued for no real government. Indeed, when Hurricane Sandy hit the Mid-Atlantic states, Congressman DeSantis of the Sixth Congressional District in Florida voted against sending any money to New York and New Jersey. He said it was a boondoggle. Fortunately for civilization, he was in the minority and the Feds did deliver needed funds and support to the places that suffered.

Now, however, Governor DeSantis is singing a different tune. He has asked the Feds to pick up the tab for everything for the next 60 days. He explained, "when people are fighting for their lives, when their whole livelihood is at stake, when they\'ve lost everything -- if you can\'t put politics aside for that, then you\'re just not going to be able to" succeed. If it were Mr. DeSantis alone, this journal would say no to aid. However, there are decent human beings in Florida as well as Mr. DeSantis, so, Washington should send the aid with all possible speed. The fact that Florida receives more Federal money than it sends to DC every year is annoying, but this is not the time to address that.

Right now, there are literally millions of people whose lives are not what they were a couple days ago. They lack running water; they lack electricity; they lack sanitation. Patience is not something they have much of either. For a few days, they will be quiet. Once that is over, though, they are going to start asking awkward questions about the recovery. They will ask why it is taking so long, why things cost so much to replace and why businesses and schools are still closed. He can weather this for a week or two, but as it drags on, he will need to show progress.

What he cannot do is appear insensitive or unhelpful. In February 2021, Mayor Tim Boyd of Colorado City, Texas, responded to a heavy snowstorm by tweeting "No one owes you or your family anything; nor is it the local government\'s responsibility to support you during trying times like this! Sink or swim, it\'s your choice! The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING!" according to screenshots from local CBS affiliate KTAB. "If you don\'t have electricity you step up and come up with a game plan to keep your family warm and safe. If you have no water you deal without and think outside of the box to survive and supply water to your family. Only the strong will survive and the weak will parish [sic]." He resigned shortly thereafter.

Mr. DeSantis has already walked back his Tea Party attitude, and he has spoken with President Biden several times in the last day or two. The funds will be coming. The money, however, is the easy part. What is going to be hard is getting enough shingles, beams and drywall to repair everything. A lot of this is made in China, and the supply chain is not entirely back to its pre-pandemic condition. If he can secure materials with the money, he may come out of this looking unbeatable.

Right now, this journal hopes he succeeds but expects he will bungle it.

© Copyright 2022 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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