Red Cross doesn't want your old clothes. They don't want canned foods. They don't want old electronics or your discarded dinnerware. What they need is volunteers and money. But Mitt Romney doesn't seem to be aware, or even care, that material items collected for the superstorm Sandy victims can impede relief efforts. In fact, as governor, Romney proved he has no clue about how government works.
Yesterday at a what was really a campaign event in Ohio, Romney encouraged attendees to bring canned goods, despite the Red Cross' website stating that donating these items take up valuable time and resources because they must be sorted, cleaned, and disposed of when they could be spending time doing actual relief work. The GOP candidate's audacity was such that even though he had to have known about this policy at some point, he told the Red Cross to accept his donations, even though he was told they couldn't.
And get this, the Romney campaign never intended to donate any of these collected items to states that are solidly blue, like New York or New Jersey, despite their being the hardest hit. Nope, his intention was to donate those items to precious swing states, like North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. In the end, though, the Red Cross had the last word. The branch where he wanted to donate the goods only accepted money for donations, but the Red Cross said they could send the items to their warehouse in New Jersey.
It's been well-reported that Mitt has said that FEMA has to go because he believes that states should take care of their own. What most people don't know is that when he was governor in 2004, he vetoed flood preparation funding, after the city of Peabody experienced major flooding after heavy rains. Romney had requested that President Bush declare Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk Counties disaster areas, which would assure federal relief from FEMA.
Great, right? But later that year, when legislators proposed a $5.7 million flood preparation project to which the federal government would have added another $22 million, Governor Romney vetoed it. Local governments hit hard in that area said they believed that the governor's veto boiled down to a serious lack of understanding of how infrastructure works. In 2007, the same area flooded again as a direct result of Romney's refusal to fund the project.
Bottom line, Mitt Romney is a businessman, not a government man. He neither knows nor cares about anything else other than making as much money as possible while spending as little as possible. His refusal to answer questions about his thoughts on FEMA in recent days shows he knows his position is very unpopular. Just yesterday, a Romney spokesperson told news agencies that not only states should be responsible for disaster relief, but the federal government should be called upon, too. However, during the primary debates in June he stated that using federal funds for disaster relief was "immoral."
Just what, Mr. Romney, is immoral about the federal government speeding up recovery efforts for the people who live in areas destroyed and weakened by disaster? Hurricane Sandy substantially blew away the Republican candidate's advantage in a hotly contested race. Unfortunately, it wasn't able to blow away his hubris.