From today’s Opinion Journal (a subscription service) from The Wall Street Journal:
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius expressed frustration after the tornado that demolished the town of Greensburg, complaining that National Guard assets weren’t available in other states to help out — presumably because so many units are serving in Iraq.
The Democratic governor told NBC: “Fifty percent of [our] equipment is gone and we can’t borrow from other states because their equipment is gone.”
But when Human Events, a Capitol Hill newspaper, called the National Guard in neighboring Missouri for comment, it was told that no request for assistance from Kansas had been made. A spokesman for the Missouri Guard noted that in 2005, it had been able to send 2,000 soldiers and airmen within 72 hours to help in the cleanup of Hurricane Katrina.
There may be a pattern of political gamesmanship taking place between Democratic governors and the White House. After last month’s Virginia Tech shootings, I asked the office of Virginia Democratic Governor Tim Kaine about offers of counseling help for survivors from the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Mr. Kaine’s office provided me with a great deal of information on state counseling resources but couldn’t explain why no federal counselors had been deployed. An HHS source told me its offer of help was refused.
Recall that Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco became infamous for dithering for days before making a formal request for federal assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina — a decision that compounded the nightmare for many residents of New Orleans.
Both the federal government and its state counterparts already make more than enough mistakes in responding to disasters. But for Democratic governors to tailor their response to human suffering mainly with an eye to shifting criticism to a GOP president is particularly lame. This kind of political stunt is precisely why the public has become cynical about government at all levels.
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