It's Election Eve, and everybody's talking about a wave of Democrats knocking Republicans out of control of the House and possibly the Senate. Personally, I prefer the term "surge," like the one that broke the levees and flooded my house. More evocative, don't you think?
Unfortunately, I also think the levees that Republicans have built around their indumbents through redistricting are much stronger than the levees around New Orleans. While the country seems to be waking up to all the myriad reasons to run the bastards out of town on a rail, I'm not sure how convinced I am that it'll happen. Confident enough to have twenty bucks riding on the Dems taking the House, but hey, it's only twenty bucks and I have an insurance check coming.
I just re-read that and realized I typed "indumbents." Is it possible to type a Freudian slip? That's too good to fix.
So the buzz is all about the surge, and I want to take just a few minutes and remind everyone who might read this tomorrow that, wherever you are, your vote has a real impact on New Orleans. Here are a few of the ways:
1. Despite the fact that lots of indumbents are claiming to have helped the Gulf Coast with appropriations of "$100 billion," please remember that most of those people are also the ones who decided that Louisiana would be the first state required to pay back federal emergency loans that have always been forgiven in the past. As for what party those people mostly belonged to, here's a hint: they're represented by an elephant. Also, the actual number is $88 billion and only about half of it has made it.
2. Wetlands absorb storm surges. The more wetlands you have in between, say, New Orleans and the coast, the less storm surge makes it to New Orleans. Protecting wetlands falls to the EPA under laws voted on by Congress. Do I have to actually mention that the party with the vastly better environmental protection record is often represented by the color blue?
3. Let's say a storm surge makes it to New Orleans. The last thing we need is a giant canal that funnels it straight into the heart of the city, but that's exactly what the MR-GO is. The people of New Orleans have been trying to get the thing closed for years, but that decision is up to Congress, and oil companies lobby hard to keep it open. Why does somebody from Montana determine if a canal in New Orleans stays open or closes? Beats me, but that's the way it is. I would have really, really loved to see people all across the country asking candidates, "Will you vote to close the MR-GO?" just to witness the befuddlement.
4. Congress will soon be voting on an oil tax revenue sharing plan. The basics: when you drill for oil in this country, the money you make is taxed. If that oil well is on land, half the tax goes to the feds and half to the state the well is in. If that oil well is out in the Gulf and the canals and pipelines servicing it go through Louisiana, all that tax money goes to the feds and none to Louisiana. Not only is that unfair, but we could really, really use that money to fix the damage done to the wetlands.
5. The Senate has approval and consent over the President's nominee to head FEMA. Congress recently passed a law laying out the minimum qualifications for the job, but Bush signed one of his hundreds of signing statements saying he feels free to ignore that law. I'd prefer it if you would vote for the person who would make Bush obey the law rather than just rubber-stamp the next Michael Brown - thanks!
Just a little reminder from F&L that, whether you like it or not, New Orleans is still a part of the U.S.A. and we're still all in this together.
Not that any of this really matters, because the winners are really going to be picked by the voting machines. Trust the machines ... the machines know what's best ... obey the machines ... resistance is futile ...