We talked yesterday about attempts by Republican officials and conservative opinionmakers in recent days to turn the response to the tragic wildfires in Colorado and elsewhere into a political hit on President Barack Obama in an election year–despite the fact that the reduction of the nation’s aerial tanker fleet mostly occurred during the prior administration, that Obama has signed legislation to address the problem, and most tellingly, despite the fact that the Republican officials leveling the accusations had themselves voted repeatedly to cut federal funding for wildfire fighting and disaster relief by hundreds of millions of dollars.
No better example of this hypocrisy can be found than Rep. Doug Lamborn. As two press releases on his congressional website make embarrassingly clear. The latest came today:
The Colorado Congressional delegation today urged President Barack Obama to support Governor John Hickenlooper’s request for a Federal disaster declaration in response to the wildfires raging across the state. Governor Hickenlooper requested the declaration today…
“Already this year, these and other fires have burned over 200,000 acres across the state, and over 3,000 firefighters and other officials continue to work around the clock to contain the flames,” the delegation wrote in a letter to the President. “Governor Hickenlooper has determined that these incidents are of such severity and magnitude that additional supplementary federal assistance is necessary to help address impacts and needs that are not being covered by existing resources.”
This letter was signed by every member of the Colorado delegation, including Doug Lamborn and fellow Republicans Rep. Cory Gardner, Rep. Mike Coffman, and Rep. Scott Tipton–all of whom have voted to cut wildfire and other disaster relief funding since 2010.
A particularly odd request for Rep. Lamborn to sign onto after this press release from April:
“We are not doing the American people any favors by not being transparent and upfront with our budget. My bill would ensure that disaster relief funding is reflected in the budget and falls under the same caps as other discretionary spending.” [Pols empahsis]
…Last year, President Obama issued over 240 FEMA disaster declarations, breaking the previous record by over 80. Most disasters – tornadoes, snowstorms, fires, floods – are state and local issues. However, President Obama increased the national debt with his very generous use of “disaster declarations.” [Pols emphasis]
Today, with Rep. Lamborn’s district in flames, it seems he’s not so critical.
Folks, is there any way to defend this? Is there any reason this should not be looked upon as a totally indefensible, hypocritical insult to responsible leadership? If so, we’d like to hear it.