Hey, Republicans: I dare you to run with these talking points

I don’t spend a lot of time reading conservative blogs, but my brief tour around Iowa’s Republican blogosphere yesterday revealed acute concern about the prospect of a special legislative session to address the recent historic flooding in much of the state.

We have thousands of Iowans needing assistance with housing, as well as huge clean-up and reconstruction tasks.

But the Flyover Country blog is convinced that the nasty Democrats are talking about a special session solely to reap political benefits. That blogger sees Democratic efforts to “politicize the floods” everywhere he looks. He names June 11 as the first day of this nefarious strategy, citing this story about Governor Chet Culver mobilizing National Guard units and talking about a possible special session of the legislature.

Side note: it seems like a distant memory, but back before George W. Bush was president, National Guard units were mostly used to deal with this kind of situation, rather than to fight foreign wars.

But I digress.

Why wouldn’t our elected officials convene to address such a huge catastrophe? The Iowa flooding has been dominating national news. I’ve gotten phone calls and e-mails from all over the country and even abroad, asking if we are ok and how bad the damage is.

Members of Iowa’s Congressional delegation (Republicans as well as Democrats) are working fast to get federal money to assist with cleanup and reconstruction efforts in flood-ravaged areas.

I expect representatives from other states to expedite this process, because the damage to Iowa’s infrastructure could have far-reaching economic effects. For more on that, read SlyDi’s piece, “How A Midwest Flood Can Drag Down A Nation.”

A different conservative blog, Battleground Iowa, thinks state officials and legislators should wait and see how much damage there is, how many people are insured, and what the federal government will do before getting the state involved.

In other words, “Don’t just do something–stand there!”

Do you think the public expects our elected officials to just wait and see who else will step in to deal with a historic natural disaster affecting tens of thousands of Iowans?

I would love to see Iowa Republicans come out against a special legislative session to focus on state flood relief and reconstruction efforts. Let them make the case for state government doing nothing.

The Real Sporer had a slightly different angle, taking offense mainly at the idea that Iowa might go into debt to pay for flood relief and reconstruction:

Democrat Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal’s knee jerk reaction saw only the opportunity to outspend the State’s emergency fund and incur debt to finance the difference.

Here’s a thought; if the emergency fund isn’t adequate to cover the socialist’s blue sky list of flood relief start cutting other items. Start with a deep Dave Vaudt audit over at the Departments of Education and Human Services. At a time when Iowa will have thousands of real victims of tragic circumstance on our hands when would be a better time to ask why the cost of education is five times faster than the general rate of inflation in Iowa’s larger economy?

Please, Republicans, please tell Iowans that we should cut education spending if our state’s “rainy day fund” is not sufficient to cover the cost of flood relief.

Seriously, when even the notorious tax-hating deficit hawk David Yepsen says we need to “Borrow to bankroll massive rebuilding,” it’s time for Republicans to question their automatic distrust of every government effort to help people.

Just to show that I don’t automatically distrust every comment by every Republican, State 29 raises some valid questions about government support for economic development in flood zones (even if I don’t share all of his conclusions).

Also, I agree with Krusty Konservative that it was inappropriate for Senator Wally Horn (who represents much of the Cedar Rapids area) to say, “These are good loyal Democrats, and they need our help.”

Residents of flood-ravaged areas deserve equal attention from the government, no matter what their voting patterns.

I was offended when the Bush administration was quicker to get post-Katrina aid to Mississippi than to the most devastated areas of New Orleans, and I would be offended if officials in Iowa seemed to favor certain towns or neighborhoods because of how their residents vote.

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