Maryann Tobin

There are at least two things that Hurricane Sandy should teach us. No. 1, we need the government to fund FEMA, and No. 2, the United States needs to get serious about addressing climate change. If elected president, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will do nothing to help either and probably make both worse.

If Mitt Romney were president during the Hurricane Sandy disaster, the aftermath would be quite different for the 60 million victims in her path. Romney does not believe in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In 2011, during the Republican presidential debates, Romney said disaster relief was not worth the money and supported forcing states to pay private contractors to help victims of storms like Hurricane Sandy.

Now that millions of Americans need FEMA more than ever, Romney is running away from himself.

On Tuesday, the day after Hurricane Sandy made landfall in Atlantic City, N.J., the Washington Post reported:

Mitt Romney repeatedly ignored questions about his position on federal funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at an event for storm victims Tuesday.

“Governor, are you going to see some storm damage?” one reporter asked.

Several others again asked Romney whether he would eliminate FEMA.

“Governor, you’ve been asked 14 times. Why are you refusing to answer the question?” one asked.

Romney ignored the reporters’ queries and continued loading up the truck. Earlier, during the event, he ignored similar queries.

Now why do you suppose Mitt Romney is refusing to answer questions about how he plans to end FEMA? Could it be that Romney is afraid that his policies are not what the American people want and he does not want to risk losing their votes a week before Election Day?

The dangers of a Romney administration would not end with a new federal government policy that abandons disaster victims. Romney brings with him the Tea Party Republican ideology that promotes privatizing just about everything the federal government currently does for Americans. It’s a Wall Street CEO mentality on steroids.

Hurricane Sandy also brings climate change to the forefront of the conversation. Was the monster storm the result of rising ocean levels from a gradually warming earth? And if so, what can humans do about it?

It is the job of genuine leaders to ask such questions and then pursue solutions on behalf of the public good, without selling out to special interest groups or pandering for campaign donations.

While conservative politicians are still trying to convince the public that climate change is not real, there are more than 60 million Americans dealing with the devastation from one of the worst storms in recorded history. They may now believe otherwise. So might the thousands who suffered unimaginable tragedy in the record-breaking monster tornados of the past several years, and the Texas ranchers whose herds are suffering from years of drought.

It is difficult to imagine a super-vulture capitalist like Mitt Romney putting more value on human life than his bottom line.

So far, 39 people have lost their lives in the monster storm of the century. Current estimates of property damage exceed $20 billion -and Mitt Romney is refusing to talk to reporters about Hurricane Sandy. What does that say about his character?

With each tragedy and gaffe it becomes more apparent that no one has ever been less qualified and less well-suited for public service than Mitt Romney. If he hasn't got the strenght to stand up for his postions, how can anyone ever expect him to stand up for Americans when it really matters?

Video: Super storm Sandy and Romney’s FEMA Plan

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