Why is Mike McGavick running for the US Senate? Well, if you believe Mike McGavick, it was Hurricane Katrina that steeled his resolve to run.
In a rather odd audio clip available from McGavick’s web site, the candidate talks about Katrina, and the “the one image that cements it for my wife and I of why to run for the United States Senate.” No, it’s not the desperate refugees at the Superdome or the bloated bodies floating in the streets, and it’s not New Orlean’s poor trapped in the muck of their flooded city for days without food or fresh water. It was the politicians on TV attempting to exploit the disaster for “partisan advantage” that he and his wife were “most offended by.”
“That is wrong as wrong can be,” McGavick angrily told his audience.
Hmm. Perhaps that anecdote was just unartfully phrased, but it seemed to lack a certain, gee, I dunno… compassion. Of all the things to be offended by while watching our federal government fail to adequately respond to the desperate plight of the poor and displaced, political partisanship did not top the list.
(Indeed, I would argue that when the party in power so totally fucks up as to put lives at risk, it would be negligent of the opposition not to seek partisan advantage in an effort to seize control. But no, I suppose McGavick would have preferred the nation to rally around the president during our time of crisis the way we did in the aftermath of 9/11… the same sort of blind following the blind that ultimately led to our disastrous war in Iraq. But I digress.)
So. What kind of man could watch the tragically bungled emergency response that resulted from the dismantling of FEMA under President Bush, and conclude that our most urgent problem was not the incompetence of the current administration, but rather the political partisanship of those complaining about the incompetence? Well, a man who has little or no empathy for the suffering of others, and who is totally out of touch with the plight of America’s underclass, I guess.
As harsh as that conclusion might be, it is further reinforced by a comment McGavick made on Wednesday before the Bellingham City Club, in which he talks about the “comfortable lifestyle” of America’s poor:
“While the spectrum of wealth, from the wealthiest to the non-wealthy has become wider, it’s not true that all boats aren’t being lifted. The fact is that it is still better to be poor in America than any other nation on Earth. Because the fact is that we are able to provide a comfortable lifestyle across that spectrum.”
Uh-huh. The poor never had it so good. And you know McGavick knows what he’s talking about because until recently, he spent most of his life being poor himself… that is, if your definition of being “poor” is not having $28 million.
Kind of reminds me of an equally clueless comment made by the President’s mother after surveying Katrina refugees in an emergency shelter set up at the Houston Astrodome:
“And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this–this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them.”
I guess those are the types of lessons people like McGavick take away from disasters like Hurricane Katrina.
In the comment thread Darryl blows a hole in my theory, pointing out that Katrina couldn’t really have been McGavick’s primary motivation, as he announced his intention to quit Safeco and explore a run for Senate over a month before Katrina hit. But then, I guess that’s what I get for believing Mike McGavick.