Massive tropical-storm damage to the lives and homes of politically charged constituents during a presidential election season (a presidential election season featuring a guy named Bush)?
If it sounds familiar, that's because it is. Read Reason Contributing Editor Glenn Garvin's account of 1992's Hurricane Andrew and Poppy Bush's pork-laden response here. A snippet:
First Hurricane Andrew was terrifying, rattling my windows with Druidic shrieks, shaking my doors with a lunatic fury. Then it was depressing, leaving behind a once-lovely neighborhood awash in shattered trees and twisted debris. Then it was tedious, trapping me in a blockaded house without electricity or water. And finally it was surreal. We reached that moment a week after the storm, when George Bush peered out of the grainy black-and-white screen of my tiny, battery-operated television and blithely promised to spend $480 million to raise Homestead Air Force Base from the rubble in which Andrew had entombed it, reanimating it like some Cold War zombie to stare vacantly at a Soviet threat that has ceased to exist.
Bush's pledge to rebuild Homestead?just one chunk of pork, albeit a meaty one, in an unprecedented $8-billion aid package?was the most grotesque act of political pandering I saw in the weeks after the hurricane, but it was hardly the first. Within minutes of Andrew's final howl, the screen of my television overflowed with the bovine faces of politicians taking credit and assigning blame, promising and demanding swag. The particulars varied, but there were a few constant themes: Someone else should have predicted the hurricane earlier, prepared for it better, provided more aid for its victims.
Whole thing here.