Republican Legislators Were Wrong in South Carolina Flood Disaster and 17 People Died

sc-flooding

Andrew Breitbart, who founded the right-wing website, Breitbart.com, died March 1, 2012, of heart failure at the relatively young age of 43. Breitbart was a tough guy to figure out politically. In his media life, he was associated with such leftist luminaries as Bill Maher, Arianna Huffington and Michael Moore. Conversely, he broke ultra-conservative bread with the Washington Times, Fox News and political right-wing extremist comic, Dennis Miller.

But his final years were mostly filled with hatred of liberals. After Ted Kennedy died, Breitbart almost immediately described the venerated Kennedy to the Harrisburg ‘Patriot-News, as a “villain,” a “duplicitous b*****d,” a “special pile of human excrement” and a word I can’t figure out how to censor without losing its meaning. Suffice to say, his reaction was beyond critical and mean-spirited.

Given the successor Breitbart site by the same name, it is, therefore, mighty surprising to find an account of the devastating South Carolina floods as being informative, objective and highly critical of the state’s Republican power structure. Here are some observations from a recent story from the site mixed in with other observations, demonstrating how “the party of no” lived up to its name, even in the most dire and deadly of circumstances.

Before getting into the meat and potatoes of the matter, you should know that at latest count, 17 people have perished in my home state of South Carolina in a natural disaster described as a “thousand-year storm.” Sadly, the first victim lost her life in my county, October 1st. Silvia Trejo Arteaga drove into an underpass and apparently misjudged the depth of the water. As her car sank, she couldn’t escape. Most of the victims drowned; at least a half-dozen were killed in auto accidents related to the weather.

My informal measuring from a ‘can in the yard’ rain gauge, yielded a total of about 8½ inches in a period of just over two days. It turns out my readings were downright benign. State Capitol, Columbia, registered 17 inches of rain in 17 hours. That’s well beyond average monsoon levels.

The Congaree river that divides Richland and Lexington counties is 13 feet above flood stage and at least three dams burst last Sunday, according to the SF Gate website. A total of 13 dams have failed at last count and numerous others were breached. Governor Nikki Haley, lusting to be this election’s Sarah Palin, told the assembled media, that, hey, only 13 dams had failed, calling that number “fortunate” considering there were around 2,000 dams altogether. Uh, governor, there were breaches in numerous other dams, as yet uncounted and an additional 62 are being monitored for potential failure. A total of 270 state-maintained roads and 140 bridges have been closed.

At a news conference, reporters asked Haley and other officials repeatedly about whether state spending had fallen short on dam and infrastructure maintenance. Her demeanor was described as “testy” as she evaded the question by saying “I think the analysis of this can be done after the danger of the floods passes.” Does this governor pay the least bit of attention to the actions of her state’s legislature and transportation, infrastructure and water-oriented departments? These numbers have been gathered and analyzed for years. They just haven’t been acted upon. Most area pundits have damn near got them memorized.

Continuing on the ‘Duh’ path are these words from Senator Lindsey Graham. He estimates damage totals as high as one billion dollars and he wants federal aid to kick in right away. Of course he’s on record as having voted against such aid for a horrific disaster, Hurricane Sandy.

In order to keep his flagging, no-chance, race for the Republican presidential nomination viable, Graham patronizingly added that “the federal lifeline must be treated with care to avoid a “pork-laden monstrosity” like the feds aid package to the Northeast Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The real reason for Graham’s vote? It was a Democratic-sponsored bill and Republicans delayed its passage by 91 days. Graham was also following the lead of Ted Cruz, who, as our Sarah Jones wrote in 2013, renounced “Sandy” for its pork; and yet his state of Texas has siphoned off more Federal Emergency Management Agency funds than any other state since the beginning of 2009.

The Low country region of the state, located along the coast, is still facing potentially severe weather this weekend. That will surely add to the tragic statistics gathered to this point. All 375,000 water customers from Columbia, were told to boil their water at least a minute before drinking it. Statewide swift-water rescues will number well into the hundreds, probably exceeding a thousand, before things calm down.

An Emergency Management official pointed out that a car can be swept away in as little as a foot of water and stalled in two feet of water.

In a recent session, the state general assembly voted down a request of $400 million (Georgia just passed a similar bill at $900 million) for desperately needed infrastructure that had largely gone ignored for decades. Could Governor Haley’s promised veto of any bill that didn’t include a reduction in the state income tax been an influence to vote no?

Then the torrential rains started falling, the 400 million looked like a bargain. Infrastructures began collapsing like proverbial dominoes. Just like the Democrats predicted it would in such a circumstance.

Republican legislators refused to approve the expenditures out of fear of a Haley veto and because they didn’t want to raise taxes. Their reasoning was especially ironic since the business community was pushing the hardest for the upgrades and new construction. They’d figure their way around a tax increase, later. An oil company cited the extensive travel by their trucks on potholed highways. Yes, I realize a bill passed this year would not have had much, if any, impact on the flooding, but it’s still an imperative for the safety of the population.

Nobody can deny that the state was pitifully ill-prepared for Mother Nature’s tantrum of rainfall. Time ran out before adjournment, as the house and senate even failed to reach a compromise on respective gas tax increase bills that were two cents apart. South Carolina roads are basically funded by the state’s gas tax. It hasn’t been raised since 1987. My abacus calculates that’s 28 years.

About the amount of time it’ll take to clean this mess up.

43 Replies to “Republican Legislators Were Wrong in South Carolina Flood Disaster and 17 People Died”

  1. Will there be a Benghazi type hearing to determine who was at fault? If not,why not? More than 4 times as many deaths are on their hands.

  2. think about how many social woes could be solved, instead of spending trillions on war junk, that money was put into infrastructure, and jobs. how many urban kids could be put to work and trained, [see ccc, in the depression], and how many roads, dams, sewers, et.al. would be in much better condition. but no, we have the birchers owned by the kochs, and all we get is fecal matter splattered in americas face.

  3. Blue states should take to the streets to protest the habitual propping up from blue to red when red in DC like Graham & his party of morons did everything to delay & then vote against Sandy aid.

    Knowing Palin does nothing unless she benefits in the form of $$, it should have been a clue to citizens when Haley had to pay for Palin’s attendance & endorsement.

    To think, it was not that long ago Haley was being help up as a potential VP – the talk of how great she’d be. When will they learn as the chickens have come home to roost.

    I’m not saying this to be mean not do I want people to suffer & most certainly not die. I & I believe many, many others are just fed up of propping up when idiots like Haley cut everything to the bone, refuse to raise taxes but give tax breaks while habitually draw more than ever contributing & while living on a coast that gets hit by nature. It’s like Texas, OK, FL and others — repeaters.

    Then citizens vote same morons in. SMH

  4. TX is SC on steroids but the Hispanic Paradox is going to turn TX purple and then blue before 2050.

    We need more Hispanics and Latinos all over the South. But they ain’t welcome.

    We have relatives in Columbia. They had four feet of water in their house. Ruined everytning. Tain’t funny McGee. Also, what a revolting development this is.

  5. State Governors and legislators are property managers, not economics advisers. We hire them to maintain and operate the things our parent’s taxes bought for us.

    Judge them accordingly.

  6. Please don’t blame the Right-wingers, this is their nature and they cannot help themselves. There are two parts to this disaster that explains the backward development of a lot of so-called Red States; 1. Low information constituents who constantly vote against their own interest. 2. People who do not vote. This group of people frustrates me the most because they are the most harmed by the sociopathic policies of the right wing hypocrites in office. Lindsay Graham is exhibit number one. Now all of a sudden his is for emergency aid without conditions when his state if effected by a natural disaster. exhibit number two is the Kansas Governor getting reelected after the disaster he and his party created in his state. People need to wake up in this country or the beatings will continue and maybe get worse.

  7. Both its location and its topography make South Carolina susceptible to weather-related catastrophes. The State has repeatedly suffered storm damage in our lifetime. Its government knew about the deterioration of its infrastructure. Morever, SC had the examples of devastation caused by levee failures in New Orleans, during Katrina and Rita.

    So all the necessary knowledge was in the State’s hands. They knew. Yet South Carolina bet on the come, and its citizens lost.

    This is another harsh example of why Republicans need to be voted out or impeached.

  8. Oh didn’t you hear! Via Kevin McCarthy, the reason for Benghazi type hearings is to destroy Democratic Candidates – i.e. Hillary.

  9. Jimmy,
    People from Mexico may not want to come to a place that is worse than their own country.
    For those that don’t know, Mexico has just about the strongest economy in Latin America although it has deteriorated some under their current administration.
    The primary problem in Mexico is the drug cartels which are funded by the USA’s insatiable demand for illegal drugs.
    You ought to change your post to the people of Central America who are still paying the price for St. Ronnie’s stupid Administration thirty years later.

  10. I am 58 years old; I have grown up with them and known scores of them in my lifetime. I stand by my statement. Every single one of them is greedy, mean, backward, willfully ignorant, and worthless.

  11. I was told by a teabagging repub that the Democratic Party in the south is all black. I was stunned to hear that. Since you live in the south, is this true? I just find repub voters in the south to vote that way because they won’t accept who we are as a country.

  12. …Republican’ts are all reptilian…Two Legged Rattlesnakes…far worse than a Rabid Pitbull with Lipstick, these creatures are capable of envenomating whole swaths of the population; leaving a path of death and devastation in thier wake…
    …they all need to be exterminated…

  13. From “That is what I like about the South”:

    I didn’t come here to critisize
    I’m not here to sympathize
    But don’t call me those no good lies
    Cause a lying gal I do despise

    You love me like I love you
    Send me fifty PDQ
    Roses are red and violets are pink
    I’ll get that good ole fifty I don’t think

    Does that remind you of red states bitching about paying federal taxes but raking in a whole lot more the feds than they shell out?

  14. South Carolina receives $9 of Federal money for every $1 it puts in through taxes. And that is largely because of the insanely low tax rate that SC insists on maintaining.

    So they are permanently a moocher state, and yet here comes Lindsay Graham with his hand out, demanding Federal dollars and saying “What me? I never!” when pressed about his vote against Hurricane Sandy aid.

    It doesn’t get any more pathetic than this.

  15. This human disaster in SC transcends politics. The destruction, death and
    physical losses from this natural disaster are hard to digest.
    However, it’s far past the time for Congress to act on the appalling conditions of infrastructure in America. The insularity in Washington D.C. is criminal.
    Politicians better wake up sooner rather than later and open their eyes to the “real” problems outside of DC.
    Benghazi, emails, the ACA; none of these “issues” are in the least relevant compared to infrastructure, gun violence, civility, and a government that responds with non-partisanship to Americans pleas.

  16. For the author:

    I hope while you guys are toting up the damage in this, that you’ve got someone checking the water quality for inevitable overflow from factor pig farm pond filth, and also coal ash ponds. I know NC has both, and I’m guessing SC has some, too.

    If you do, it would also be wise to especially check water (and soil) around these ponds, and any creeks or rivers where overflow water would run.

    In the long run, pollution from those two sources with their extremely toxic (and with ash ponds, heavy metal/radioactive) contents, could be far more damaging to the state than flooding or bridges/roads collapsing.

    If you see this, you might want to send word to agencies and groups that are assessing damage, and/or who monitor water quality and pollution.

  17. That’s because they blame their suffering on Liberals/Democrats, as they’ve been told to do by their pundits and their GOP representatives.

    It’s well past ridiculous that these voters refuse to see the facts and evidence repeatedly laid out in front of them, and that a good portion of them are “one issue voters” who vote Republican solely on the basis of ONE issue that’s emotional for them (most often it’s over abortion, though sometimes it’s gay marriage). I think I get even more disgusted with the one-issue voters than the ignorant who blame Democrats for GOP failings that they themselves endorsed ignorantly and enthusiastically.

    Well, maybe not, but the one-issue voters really take the cake: they KNOW what’s wrong with the GOP but still vote for them because the GOP trumpets their pet issue.

    Apparently it’s not enough for them to say a woman who aborts is going to hell; they want the entire country to go there, to force her to give birth, then will deny her child aid.

  18. That’s a vile answer. How about instead we reform this system and hold people legally and socially accountable for the wrongs they’ve done? Put them in one of the general population privatized prisons they’ve built.

    Calling for “extinction” in a way that conveys “murder” rather than “ensure the political party is disbanded” is inhumane, and it’s mirroring the attitudes of the most extreme Republicans.

    Don’t become what you oppose.

  19. Of course GOPers were dead wrong about flooding issues… when have the ever been correct an any subject.

    Vote the GOPer bums out!

  20. …y’know Callen, I didn’t used to hate anybody…until Reagan, NeoConArtists, Teahadists and Teatards came along…
    …intellectually, you’re right, {you will notice I upchecked your comment} but emotionally, I’m still a Veteran…

  21. …and I would settle for “Old Age Extinction” if they were kept where they couldn’t hurt anybody else…

  22. Sorry. NO money for fixing Old Dams.

    Gave a bunch of HUGE Tax breaks to the Corporate
    Guys and state Revenue went DOWN.

    They could ask for some money from the FEDS but
    the SAME Idiots are running Congress.

  23. Brian, Look at the previous years when the Wealthy Paid a Serious Tax Rate:

    http://s158.photobucket.com/user/OnlyObvious/media/Tax_Rates/TopTaxBracket_TaxRate.jpg.html

    Years when we could easily afford new highways/schools and Bridges.

    The Wealthy are No Longer helping to pull Our American Wagon.
    (They are now pay even less than this Chart) We’re into another Gilded Age.
    “Buddy can you spare a Dime”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/02/the-legacy-of-the-bush-tax-cuts-in-four-charts/

  24. I nave a theory I have posted before but which I am posting again because it is pertinent to this discussion. The American people are so tired of being screwed by the Oligarchs, voting down school levies which they pay by property taxes is about the only way they can show their displeasure. Unfortunately all that does is exacerbate the dumbing down of America. I see it in Ohio in damn near every election. We are self screwing ourselves. Are the collective we ever stupid? Yes we are.

  25. I’ve known quite a few people who think they are Democrats, but they don’t vote, & they are actually right wingers: Classic Paranoids, they believe they are right, they cannot be wrong, therefore they are always right. What they are?

    Creatures with no empathy. No compassion. Protecting their cracked EGO is paramount.
    They seem to have no souls.

  26. Ohio, Want to see where we’re going? IDIOCRACY! If we let CONs keep running things.
    It’s a must-see: Silly/Stupid Yes, but thought provoking had scary because of the mind-set & direction the GOP is taking us toward. Prepared to be shocked!

    This Movie was only seen in a few US Theaters and they pulled it and banned it…before the rest of the nation could see it.
    It’s really crazy…
    But if they get control it’s where we’re headed:

    Here’s the full Movie on Youtube:
    http://www.veoh.com/watch/v44577193FmkEcm9f

    It’s mind-blowing!

  27. I’m 61, grew up in Dallas, university in Austin, lived 8 yrs NOLA, 3 yrs Oregon 15 yrs, NM, last 15, Nashville.

    Repigs are idiots; Xtians are imbeciles.

  28. Another rant from a liberal/progressive. First he attacks a dead man, real brave that. Second, he launches into a series of half truths. I have heard that this is being called a 1,000 year flood and a 500 year flood. I grew up inside a levee system and who prepares for a 500 year flood? No one, that’s who. It would be cost prohibitive. By the way, if you want to complain about cost then you have to go back to Katrina and the money Clinton removed from the levee system budget resulting in failed levees and massive flooding. As for one of my least favorite GOP politicians Lindsey, tell the entire truth about the Sandy vote. There was so much pork in that thing, so much unfetted cash, and so many opportunities for corruption that some people had to vote against it. What does it mean that every democrat went along with the corruption. By the way, many people in New Jersey and NY are still waiting for their money. When it comes to weather, sometimes SH*T happens. Sad but true.

  29. Trump, Cruz et al. can save tax payer’s money by not building a wall to secure the U.S. border. In a few years Mexico and Canada will build walls of their own to protect their respective borders from immigrants fleeing drought, tornadoes, disease, and all manners of calamity.

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