The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Loud As They Are, Republicans Mostly Silent On Flint Water Crisis

Republican presidential nominees have built their brand on being loudmouths attacking “political correctness,” Obamacare and almost any other hallmark of liberal American politics that occurs to them. But on the subject of Flint, Mich. and the continuing scandal that a Republican governor is facing there, they’ve remained very quiet.

Ben Carson, the noted pyramid theorist and Republican nominee, managed to blame everybody except Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder: “The people deserve better from their local elected officials, but the federal bureaucracy is not innocent in this as well. Reports show that the Environmental Protection Agency knew well beforehand about the lack of corrosion controls in the city’s water supply, but was either unwilling or unable to address the issue.”

Even Donald Trump, this cycle’s loudest mouth who likes to kick out silent protesters from his campaign rallies, was decidedly cool about passing judgement on Snyder. “A thing like that shouldn’t happen but,” he said, “I don’t want to comment on that.”

Notoriously thirsty Republican presidential nominee Marco Rubio‘s position on the water crisis is “a systemic and ugly breakdown at the local and state level. The governor has acknowledged that.” This was after he infamously told the press in a non-answer that the crisis was “just not an issue we’ve been frankly fully briefed or apprised of…in terms of the role the governor has played and the state has played in Michigan on these sorts of issues.” At least Rubio seems consistent in assuming that the federal government should do nothing for any of its citizens.

Ted Cruz was the only notable Republican candidate to articulate a clear position — well, relatively clear. “What’s happened in Flint, Mich. is an absolute travesty,” said Cruz during a press conference. “It is a failure at every level of government, a failure of the city officials, a failure of the county officials, and the men and women of Michigan have been betrayed.” Cruz probably knew he couldn’t blame President Obama, political correctness, or “the establishment” for a crisis presided over by a Republican governor. But that doesn’t mean he won’t try. After all, his fellow Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin managed to blame her son’s violent behavior, a symptom of PTSD we’re told, on Obama.

Flint has seen better days. In 1960, it was the second-largest city in Michigan, with a population of nearly 200,000. The local economy was based on manufacturing, much of it in the form of General Motors, the main employer in the city. The city began its decline as a result of deindustrialization that created the American Rust Belt in the 1970s. Globalization, outsourcing of jobs, urban decay and poverty all contributed to Flint and the wider region’s decline. The fatal city council decision to change the source of the city’s water supply to the Flint River was simply another step in the decline of this city.

“I thought it was one of those Onion articles,” said Flint resident Rhonda Kelso to Mother Jones, referring to officials who toasted to the change. “We already knew the Flint River was toxic waste.”

Among many failures, officials refused to test the pipes that delivered the tainted water to Flint residents, ignoring red flags from environmental officials’ warnings of lead and E. coli to the city council allowing GM to change its factories’ water supply from the Flint River after finding rust spots on newly machined parts. The city instead opted for stop-gap measures, such as installing additional filters in water fountains at the local university and using a cancer-causing chemical to treat tainted water.

As Flint’s health crisis continues to dominate the news cycle, the Republicans nominees may have to re-evaluate their positions on Snyder’s responsibility. But for now, the word is mum.

Photo: Michigan National Guard members help to distribute water to a line of residents in their cars in Flint, Michigan January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mark Esper

Youtube Screenshot

The precise nature of the Chinese balloon that drifted through the high atmosphere above the United States before being shot down by the American military off the coast of South Carolina is still not known, though the military seems confident it was a "surveillance" balloon and seemingly every conservative pundit put in front of a microphone believes it was carrying either some sort of zombie-producing spores or, worse, thousands of green M&M's to be scattered through the American landscape, turning our wildlife "woke."

What we do now know, however, is that these balloon flights seem to be a regular occurrence—and one that nobody has attempted to stoke a public panic over until now. The Department of Defense's own news site reports that Chinese balloons appeared over the United States at least three times during the Trump administration. None of those other balloons appear to have been intercepted. There were no Republican politicians posing with guns promising that they'd personally take care of them balloons if they floated over their neck of the woods. None of them appear to have scattered zombie spores, M&M's, or anything else.

Keep reading...Show less

George Santos

Youtube Screenshot

Rep. George Santos (R-NY) has faced a litany of accusations in his short time as a lawmaker. From financial mishandling, professional embellishments, and personal occurrences, Santos has been accused of lies across the board.

Now, a new analysis is breaking down the dynamics of compulsive lying. According to Business Insider, psychological experts have explained how compulsive lying is often a characteristic of a personality disorder.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}