Blaming the victims and Obama for what's happened in Flint
An ugly News-Register editorial
This afternoon's News-Register editorial tells us that "Political Stunt Stalls Flood Aid." The editorial blames "ultra-liberals" and Democrats for holding up flood aid to West Virginia. Their crime was that they wanted Flint, Michigan to be part of the aid package. The editorial explains to us that the Republicans would get to it later and besides, there's no problem in Flint currently. Really? Here's the Detroit Free Press from earlier this month:
But two years and five months after the city's switch to the Flint River as a drinking water supply, state and federal officials said in interviews they still can't say which specific thresholds will be used to declare an end to the drinking-water crisis or a likely time line.
Besides, according to the News-Register, it's the victims fault:
Many cities, including some in the Ohio Valley, have miles of waterlines containing lead -- but take effective steps every day to ensure it does not corrode out into what flows from customers' taps.
None of that seems to have been mentioned during the confrontation in Congress this week.
Of course this wasn't mentioned because it had nothing to do with what happened. As the Detroit Free Press described its origins:
The crisis began in April 2014 when the city, while under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager, switched its source of drinking water to Lake Huron water treated by the Detroit water system to Flint River water treated at the Flint Water Treatment plant. The state Department of Environmental Quality has acknowledged it made a mistake when it failed to require the addition of corrosion control chemicals. As a result, corrosive river water ate away at pipes, joints, and fixtures, sending lead into the water and causing toxic lead levels to spike in the blood of Flint children.
Yes, it was the Republican governor's appointed manager that made the decisions and a state agency that didn't check the water's quality but somehow it's still the resident's fault.
Finally, the editorial has to find a way to blame Obama:
But this is not the first time federal funding for Flint has been requested. On Jan. 14, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder wrote to President Obama, asking that the situation in Flint be declared a major disaster. Snyder estimated it would cost $55 million to install lead-free pipes in the city.
Obama said no. He declared a state of emergency in Flint and authorized a mere $5 million in aid.
Except, as everyone covering the story at the time wrote, this was all that he could do (and I know the News-Register knows better):
A disaster declaration would have made larger amounts of federal funding available more quickly to help Flint residents whose drinking water is contaminated with lead. But under federal law, only natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods are eligible for disaster declarations, federal and state officials said. The lead contamination of Flint's drinking water is a manmade catastrophe.
On any number of levels, this is a despicable editorial -- it's certainly ranks among the worst of the year.