I noted yesterday that in his 2007 speech in Hampton, Virginia, Barack Obama falsely claimed that the Stafford Act had not been waived for relief money appropriated to help New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Stafford Act requires that, absent a waiver, localities match a percentage of the money they receive in federal assistance.
Obama’s claim was false. A few weeks before Obama gave his Hampton speech, Congress had waived the Stafford Act in connection with $6.9 billion in federal aid for New Orleans.
But it gets worse for Obama. Neo-neocon points out that Obama was one of 14 Senators who voted against the waiver of the Stafford Act. So not only was Obama’s complaint false, it was one he would have lacked standing to raise, given his vote on the issue.
Now, Obama voted against the Stafford Act waiver because it was part of a bill providing funds for the war effort in Iraq. Apparently, Obama’s desire to make sure the surge failed and we lost to al Qaeda in Iraq trumped his concern for the good people of New Orleans. Or maybe it was all posturing, Obama’s specialty, since he knew the money would go to Iraq and the Stafford Act would be waived regardless of how he voted.
Perhaps Obama should have voted “present.”
However, as Neo-neocon says, “there’s something profoundly distasteful and almost grotesque about [Obama] voting against the waiver, knowing the bill had passed despite his vote, and then lying to the audience to make them angry that the waiver hadn’t happened.”
Distasteful and grotesque, yes. And all too characteristic.