Mona Charen observes:
Six days after Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, President Bush’s presidency had been declared a failure and a disgrace. It was all FEMA’s fault, we were given to understand, and, by extension, Bush’s fault. It wasn’t the incompetence of local and state officials, or the levee collapse (a failure, by the way, that impartial observers lay at the feet of another government agency going back years, the Army Corps of Engineers). No, within a few days of the storm’s impact, Bush was an enemy of the people.
Six days after Sandy hit the East Coast, most of the press had utterly lost interest in the human toll, though thousands of people went without food, water, gasoline, or electricity for the better part of two weeks. The Washington Times reported two weeks after Sandy, “Bodies are still being recovered in Staten Island. Chaos reigns in the streets of the outer boroughs. Residents have taken up arms — baseball bats, machetes, shotguns — as crime and looting soar.”
When New York senator Chuck Schumer visited Staten Island four days after the storm hit, a desperate constituent begged him, “Where is the government? We need gasoline! We’re gonna die. We’re gonna freeze.”
It took three days for the Red Cross to reach Staten Island — ditto for FEMA. For those without power or water, that’s a very long time. What happened to the “lean forward” strategy FEMA had supposedly put in place? What became of the prepositioning of supplies like water and blankets? Prepackaged meals and bottled water languished in Georgia and Maryland warehouses, reported Breitbart.com.
Other obstacles hampered the relief effort as well, including the insistence by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers that linemen from other states join the union before being permitted to pitch in with power restoration. Red tape apparently sidelined as many as 500 others. Some 50 power generators and 150,000 blankets were sent to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, a FEMA staging area in central New Jersey, but had still not been deployed nine days after the storm due to bureaucratic inertia.