The disaster in Haiti has obsessed both mainstream media and bloggers, and for the most part rightbloggers have been exceptionally well-behaved about it. Even some normally obstreperous critics have praised Obama for his interventions, and if they piled on Danny Glover for attributing the quake to global warming, they were at least as likely to pile on Pat Robertson for attributing it to the influence of the Devil.
Good for them. Even those with a habitual liberal-blaming streak were sensible, at least in reflection. When Instapundit, seeing that Obama had summoned ex-Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush to aid the Haitian relief, suggested that “somebody at the White House” was “trying to avoid unfortunate comparisons” by not inviting Jimmy Carter, he allowed his readers to defend the similar exclusion of the first George Bush on the grounds that he is 85 years old. Given that Carter is the same age, we will assume, in keeping with the general spirit of comity, that this was offered as an implicit defense of Carter.
Nonetheless, as often happens at such times, many of the brethren sank to the occasion.
Robertson was not without backers of an amusing sort. Our favorite was Conservatives Loving Freedom, which said, “People are focusing on the wrong thing. [Robertson] wasn’t blaming the Haitians in their time of great tragedy. He was blaming the devil for tricking a few Haitians back in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s.” Noted!
The good Reverend got most of his support from fellow God-botherers — see here and here — and your concern with that will probably conform with your concern with the power of evangelicals in modern politics.
But Rush Limbaugh, being more vital to the conservative movement than Pat Robertson, drew more high-level rightblogger defenders when he disparaged U.S. government relief — “We’ve already donated to Haiti. It’s called the U.S. income tax” — and affirmed and reaffirmed that the President wished to use the quake “to burnish his credentials with minorities in this country and around the world.” These seemingly callous remarks were spun, remarkably, as a plea for donations to charities like the Red Cross, and as an understandable dissuasion against sending contributions through the corrupt U.S. government.
“Limbaugh pointed out that donating through the White House would likely get you on mailing lists for political contributions in the future,” said the American Spectator. “Does anyone, anywhere doubt that this is true?”
“How many people have found cookies from whitehouse.gov or Obama’s campaign website on our computer when doing spyware checks?” asked Marooned in Marin. “How do we not know that Obama won’t use names, addresses, etc. for his own fundraiser lists?”
(The whitehouse.gov site actually directs you to the Clinton Bush Haiti fund, and to USAID’s page, which sends you to the Clinton Foundation and the Red Cross. But beware: some of these parties may subsequently send you a flyer.)
“Rush is right,” added National Review‘s Jim Geraghty, who characterized government aid to Haiti “well-meaning Americans dump[ing] more and more money to alleviate suffering, only to see little or no actual improvement in the living conditions on the ground… if the past is any precedent, a lot of today’s donations will end up in the wrong pockets in the not-too-distant future.” The implication was that most donations to relive quake victims will also be wasted. Geraghty hasn’t followed up; maybe he, too, was trying to drum up donations to the Red Cross, in his own way.
Vocal Minority seconded Geraghty, adding that “in other words, Haiti is run the way Obama would like to run the United States: Everybody is equally poor, destitute, and fully dependent on the government.” See how it all comes together?
Not everyone was blaming the Devil, global warming, and the U.S. government for the devastation. “The reason so many people died in Haiti,” said Big Government’s Phelim McAleer, “is because its people live in poorly built houses and have not benefited from development which brings with it cities and houses which can withstand earthquakes.” Was poverty to blame for this? No: “Guess who are the most active opponents of cities and modern concrete housing? The environmental movement sees cities and growing urbanization as ‘unsustainable’ and something that must be stopped.” We had no idea developers were rushing to built quakeproof condos in Port-au-Prince, only to be foiled by activists from Greenpeace. The internet is a wonderful resource.
Others offered suggestions beyond sending a check to the non-governmental agency of your choice. At First Things, The Anchoress said that “President Obama needs to send a pro tempore leader to Haiti… To me, that sounds like Rudy Giuliani (or perhaps David Petreus, but his military standing may complicate things) and this is a crisis that demands that partisanship be put aside.” Earlier she said, “Rudy may be that guy. I wonder, though, if American ideologues are so caught up in partisanship that any effort would get bogged down in discussions of political parity?” Really, haven’t those poor people suffered enough? Though Giuliani would probably effectively keep the squeegee men from plying their trade in the rubble.
Meanwhile Obama contributed a cover story on what America must do in Haiti to Newsweek, which was offered as further evidence of his perfidy.
“Obama Knows No Shame,” said Wizbang. “As has been evident ever since this selfish opportunist has run for the Presidency, he and his capos would not do this unless it was deemed to have a politically beneficial angle to it… America doesn’t need any more evidence that Obama will stop at nothing to cover up the abject incompetence he has exhibited during his first full year in office.” “What exactly hasn’t Obama politicized or tried to score political points off of?” asked Ed Driscoll.
“How does having Obama write a Newsweek story help?” asked National Review‘s Jonah Goldberg. “If it does, great. But sending the commander-in-chief to his word processor doesn’t convey an image of authority and control. At least it doesn’t to me.” Maybe the President should have ridden a PT boat to Haiti instead. Goldberg added, “I’m pretty sure that if Bush had penned a story about Katrina for Time magazine, the national press corps would have mocked the whole enterprise,” his comparison betraying a unique understanding of both geography and history.
Maybe Goldberg is anticipating a wave of condemnation of Obama’s Haitian efforts which has yet to materialize, except on a few forward-thinking rightblogs. “More and more, we are starting to see the headlines proclaim that our Savior President has missed the mark in Haiti,” says Bell County Blog. They quote in evidence the Temple (TX) Daily Telegram. “While this would be an ideal time to turn the tables, I will not do so,” said Clark County Conservative, under the headline “Obama’s Failure in Haiti?”
Others suggested that Obama’s efforts would be of help, and criticized him for it. “The Drive-Bys will breathlessly report on the speed and remarkable efficiency of our rescue efforts — all thanks to BHO, of course,” said Manly’s Republic, and “lay laurel wreaths at the feet of the Man-Child, proclaiming him to be the savior of Haiti,” whereas “the alternative media will report the truth: Haiti is hell on earth. Death and destruction are the new gods. Anarchy and chaos reign over the land. The injured and the sick will die for want of medical attention.” You may poke around the news today for verification of this prediction.
Well, they have the right to hope. Some of the brethren anticipate waves of Haitian immigration as a result of the quake — “Obama using the earthquake to import more Democrat voters from Haiti — Haitians Illegally in U.S. to Get ‘Protected Status,'” headlined the Observer Journal. Chicago Ray made much of a looter wearing an Obama shirt: “What a surprise this was to see, not. Brings back shades of Indonesia when we spent umpteen millions to save the lives of people who applauded on 911 and would just as soon see us and our country destroyed as they would to feed the stable of camels each day.”
“Since nowhere except VDARE.com will have the steel to say it,” declared Patrick Celburne, “I will: the problem Port au Prince has tonight is not the earthquake but the fact that it is filled with Haitians… Let all these Haitian import enthusiasts tell us how many of these profoundly dysfunctional people they themselves will be accommodating, rather than dumping them on the American people as a whole!”
There hasn’t been a lot of this sort of thing, yet; as we said, rightbloggers are on good behavior. But give it a few weeks. No good deed, as the old saying has it, goes unpunished, particularly when one’s enemies are in charge of it.