FEMA's Ups and Downs

| Sat Apr. 30, 2011 2:28 PM EDT

The New York Times on FEMA's response to the tornadoes that ripped through the South last week:

It has been the deadliest natural disaster on American soil since Hurricane Katrina. But the government response to the tornadoes that devastated the South last week has, at least in the first few days, drawn little of the searing criticism aimed at federal agencies back in 2005.

....FEMA officials contacted the White House about the need for a federal emergency declaration even before Alabama had submitted a formal request that evening, said Art Faulkner, the state’s emergency management director. It was quickly granted....In Alabama, as in other affected states, the Democratic White House was winning early praise from state, local and Congressional leaders of both parties.

Shall we roll the tape? Under Bush Sr., FEMA sucked. Under Clinton, FEMA was rehabilitated and turned into a superstar agency. Under Bush Jr., FEMA sucked again. Under Obama, FEMA's doing great and responding quickly.

I know, I know, we're not supposed to politicize natural disasters. Not when that politicization makes Republicans look bad, anyway. So I'll just let you draw your own conclusions from these four data points. I report, you decide.

Get Mother Jones by Email - Free. Like what you're reading? Get the best of MoJo three times a week.