The Obama competence: Effective government still exists

Glad to see this getting some attention on couple of Liberal blogs.

Kevin Drum:

…..Shall we roll the tape? Under Bush Sr., FEMA sucked. Under Clinton, FEMA was rehabilitated and turned into a superstar agency. Under Bush Jr., FEMA sucked again. Under Obama, FEMA’s doing great and responding quickly.

I know, I know, we’re not supposed to politicize natural disasters. Not when that politicization makes Republicans look bad, anyway. So I’ll just let you draw your own conclusions from these four data points. I report, you decide.

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Steve Benen:

In general, the ability of government agencies to respond to a natural disaster only draws attention when agencies fall short. The media tends to look for “the next Katrina” to demonstrate that feckless bureaucracies and government incompetence are the new norm.

But they don’t have to be, and with an effective administration, they’re not. The New York Times has a report today on the emergency response in the Southeast, where the death toll stands at 349 people, with most of the victims in Alabama. It is the deadliest natural disaster on American soil since Hurricane Katrina, but in this case, the governmental response is earning praise, not condemnations.

Top federal officials, including Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, were in touch with [Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley] shortly after the tornadoes landed Wednesday, according to a timeline from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA officials contacted the White House about the need for a federal emergency declaration even before Alabama had submitted a formal request that evening, said Art Faulkner, the state’s emergency management director. It was quickly granted.

Mr. Obama spoke to Mr. Bentley, a Republican, on Wednesday night and to the governors of four other affected states on Thursday. He sent the FEMA administrator, W. Craig Fugate, to Alabama on Thursday. Five members of the cabinet are expected in the state on Sunday. [...]

By late Thursday, Mr. Obama had signed the disaster declaration for Alabama, and later did the same for Georgia and Mississippi…. As of Friday afternoon, FEMA had placed liaison officers in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee, according to a spokesperson.

In Alabama, as in other affected states, the White House was winning early praise from state, local and Congressional leaders of both parties.

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I don’t imagine we’ll hear much about the Obama administration’s response in the Southeast; the media tends to only find these stories interesting if the government is failing instead of succeeding.

But it’s worth keeping in mind anyway. If it’s important when a federal response falls short, it’s worth appreciating what competent governance is capable of.

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In your face, you racist buffoon.

I admit, I thought PBO should just ignore the Tramp. Boy, I’m glad he didn’t. But personally, the best joke was on Matt Damon. I could just kiss PBO for that one. It was all just brilliant. And I think I know which Republican PBO really despise: Mike Huckabee. Just look at his face when Seth Meyers was talking about him. Pure disgust, and rightly so.

“Sir, if your hair gets any whiter, the Tea Party would be behind you”. Seth Meyers, I love you, mate. Always have.
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The NYT:

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As a hair-gelled, grimly unsmiling Mr. Trump sat at a nearby table — a guest of the Washington Post — Mr. Obama ripped one punch after another at the real estate tycoon.

“Donald Trump is here tonight,” the comedian in chief said, grinning. “Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is prouder to put this birth certificate to rest than The Donald. Now he can get to focusing on the issues that matter. Like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened at Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”
It was almost painful to watch, the juxtaposition of the president, flexing his new post-birther comedy chops, and the real estate mogul-cum-politician, grimacing at his table as Mr. Obama basked in his post-long-form-birth-certificate glow.

“All kidding aside, we all know about your credentials and experience,” Mr. Obama said, as people in the room either chortled or grimaced nervously, all depending on their proximity to Mr. Trump.

In “Celebrity Apprentice,” Mr. Obama told Mr. Trump, teeth flashing, “the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha steaks, but you recognized that this was a lack of leadership, so you fired Gary Busey.”

“These,” Mr. Obama said, “are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well-handled, sir. Well-handled.”

The birther issue gave Mr. Obama lots of fodder for the evening, including a video of his birth, which he mentioned before cutting to a clip from “The Lion King.”

But in the end, it was Mr. Trump who served as the punching bag for the evening. As it turned out, Mr. Obama’s swipes were just the warm-up act for Seth Meyers, the headliner for the evening, who spent most of his routine going after Mr. Trump, who sat at the Washington Post table, grimacing.

Painful.

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