Because we, or at least one persistent political faction among us, prefer fiction to fact.
The utter stupidity of the right in rejecting warnings about climate change will continue to resonate, keeping us from doing taking steps to reverse the causes of climate change. Without their obstructions we could at least mitigate the effects of inevitable climate disasters, make sure professionals are in charge of preparing for the worst. Have you noticed how many commentators on Sandy's devastation said, in effect, "I never expected something like this"? Well, expect it! At least come to terms with what we need to deal with now and with what's still to come.
Kevin Drum goes back over the past couple of decades, from George H. W. Bush to President Obama, and examines our preparedness during each administration. Bush 1 turns FEMA over to a political appointee who drives this important agency "into the ditch." Clinton puts in one of its best leaders -- a pro who rebuilds FEMA, turns it back into a professional operation. Bush 2? Well, you'll remember that one. Whole sections of the Gulf Coast are still paying for the aftermath of the damage FEMA's political appointees did nothing to prevent.
The Obama administration appointed another pro. In the wake of a series of tornadoes last year in the South, the Tampa Bay paper had nothing but praise for FEMA's latest director: ""Under Fugate's leadership, an unimaginable natural disaster literally has paved the way for a textbook lesson in FEMA crisis management....Once the laughingstock of the federal bureaucracy after the bumbling, dithering tenure of director Michael Brown, FEMA under Fugate prepares for the worst and hopes for the best rather than the other way around."
Drum writes about the fallout and gets it exactly right.
At a deep ideological level, Republicans believe that federal bureaucracies are inherently inept, so when Republicans occupy the White House they have no interest in making the federal bureaucracy work. And it doesn't. Democrats, by contrast, take government services seriously and appoint people whose job is to make sure the federal bureaucracy does work. And it does. ...Kevin Drum, Mojo
Update: Paul Krugman, finally able to blog from storm-torn Mercer County, New Jersey, also agrees with Kevin Drum -- and adds a word that begins with "psycho."
Romney — with everyone still remembering Brownie and Katrina! — said that he wants to block-grant and privatize it. (And as far as I can tell, even TV news isn’t letting him Etch-A-Sketch the comment away).
There’s something pathological here. It’s really hard to think of a public service less likely to be suitable for privatization, and given the massive inequality of impacts by state, it really really isn’t block-grantable. Does the right somehow imagine that only Those People need disaster relief? Is the whole idea of helping people as opposed to hurting them just anathema?
It’s a bit of a mystery, calling more for psychological inquiry than policy analysis. But something is going on here. ...Economics and Politics