MSNBC's Maddow: Blame Jindal, Not Obama for Any Slow Flooding Response

Rachel Maddow gave covering fire for President Obama on her MSNBC show on Thursday over his initial decision to stay in Martha's Vineyard instead of visiting flood-stricken Louisiana. Maddow spotlighted the "scathing editorial" from a Lousiana newspaper criticizing the Democrat over the move, but defended the President by pointing a finger at former Governor Bobby Jindal: "Even before this storm, Louisiana, as a state, had really been on the brink of economic disaster...state coffers, honestly, were really, really, really drained by the fiscal policies of previous governor, Bobby Jindal." [video below]

The liberal host first noted how "the homeland security secretary, Jeh Johnson, toured the flooded streets of Baton Rouge, met with survivors, visited shelters." She soon continued that "nearly a week into this disaster now, the people of Louisiana, in many cases, say they feel forgotten by the rest of the country." Maddow zeroed in on The Advocate's recent op-ed criticizing President Obama:

RACHEL MADDOW: This was the headline in the Baton Rouge paper, when Jeh Johnson touched down in the state: 'Vacation or not, a hurting Louisiana needs you now, President Obama'  — scathing editorial from The Advocate, directly addressing President Obama. It says — quote, 'Last week, as torrential rains brought death, destruction, and misery to Louisiana, the President continued his vacation at Martha's Vineyard. If the President can interrupt his vacation for a swanky fundraiser for fellow Democrat, Hillary Clinton, as he did on Monday, then surely he can make time to show up for a catastrophe that has displaced thousands. He should pack his bags now, and pay a call on communities who need to know that in a national catastrophe, they are not alone.'

Secretary Johnson said today that the President is following the situation closely, but clearly, at least the Baton Rouge press wants the President to show up himself — to see for himself what the Red Cross is calling the worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy four years ago.

Tell the Truth 2016

Maddow then gave her "context" spin about the supposedly poor impact of Governor Jindal's tenure as governor of Louisiana: "Don't blame me for saying so, but the state coffers, honestly, were really, really, really drained by the fiscal policies of previous governor, Bobby Jindal — intense tax-cutting over his time as governor that really, really made the state broke at an emergency level. That situation was made worse by a drop in oil revenue, which plays large in that state's economic health."

The MSNBC anchor followed her commentary with an interview of the current governor of Louisiana, Democrat John Bel Edwards. The guest pointed a finger at another non-Obama target: the media. He also did his best to speak well of the federal government's response to the flooding disaster.

It should be pointed out that back in January 2009, Maddow blamed former President George W. Bush for the devastation in New Orleans, as well as for 9/11 terror attacks,  mere hours after the Republican gave his final address to the country: "When he arrived in January 2001 we were fighting protracted wars in zero countries that we had preventively invaded and justified occupying through manipulated intelligence....Also there was a vital jewel of an American city called New Orleans back then and a World Trade Center. It is against that proud backdrop the George W. Bush presidency publicly ended today. "

The transcript of the relevant portions of the Rachel Maddow/John Bel Edwards segment from the August 18, 2016 edition of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show:

RACHEL MADDOW: The thing about a flood is that no matter how devastating the flood might be, you can sometimes stand right at the edge of it and — and look on from dry or nearly-dry land at the utter misery still unfolding; and in some cases, still getting worse.

Today, in Louisiana, the homeland security secretary, Jeh Johnson, toured the flooded streets of Baton Rouge, met with survivors, visited shelters. He said, Louisiana will not have to start rebuilding alone. He said the federal government will work with the state for as long as it takes.

But nearly a week into this disaster now, the people of Louisiana, in many cases, say they feel forgotten by the rest of the country. This was the headline in the Baton Rouge paper, when Jeh Johnson touched down in the state: 'Vacation or not, a hurting Louisiana needs you now, President Obama'  — scathing editorial from The Advocate, directly addressing President Obama. It says — quote, 'Last week, as torrential rains brought death, destruction, and misery to Louisiana, the President continued his vacation at Martha's Vineyard. If the President can interrupt his vacation for a swanky fundraiser for fellow Democrat, Hillary Clinton, as he did on Monday, then surely he can make time to show up for a catastrophe that has displaced thousands. He should pack his bags now, and pay a call on communities who need to know that in a national catastrophe, they are not alone.'

Secretary Johnson said today that the President is following the situation closely, but clearly, at least the Baton Rouge press wants the President to show up himself — to see for himself what the Red Cross is calling the worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy four years ago. Twenty parishes — 20 counties in the state have been declared federal disaster areas; 13 people have died; 40,000 homes — 40,000 American homes are in ruins. Thousands of Louisianans are still seeking refuge in shelters. This is a long, slow, big disaster. Louisiana is going to need help, and lots of it.

Some of the context here is important, too. Even before this storm, Louisiana, as a state, had really been on the brink of economic disaster. Don't blame me for saying so, but the state coffers, honestly, were really, really, really drained by the fiscal policies of previous governor, Bobby Jindal — intense tax-cutting over his time as governor that really, really made the state broke at an emergency level. That situation was made worse by a drop in oil revenue, which plays large in that state's economic health. Already, Louisiana was facing the biggest fiscal shortfall in its history as a state; and then, the rain started.

And now, with whole swaths of the state a disaster area, with the recovery only just beginning, what does Louisiana need from the rest of the country? Are they getting that help fast enough? How do we make sure they do not feel forgotten as this ongoing disaster plows on?

Joining us now for the interview tonight is Louisiana's governor, John Bel Edwards. Governor Edwards, thank you so much for being with us. I know that you have a million demands on your time tonight—

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D), LOUISIANA: Thank you, Rachel. Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.

MADDOW: Can you just give me a snapshot— can you just give me a snapshot, sir, of just where you are in the recovery, and where — where you think you are in the timeline of this disaster?

EDWARDS: Well, before we do that, I want to tell you, we're still in the response. We still have historic flooding going on in Ascension Parish, and we have floodwaters moving south into St. James Parish on the east side of the Mississippi River. On the west side of the Mississippi River, on the Mermentau [River], we have historic flooding going on there — in Acadia Parish and down into Jefferson Davis Parish and Cameron Parish, as well. So, I'm happy to talk about the recovery, but I want everyone in the country to know that even though the rain started a week ago, we are still very much in the search and rescue and — and the response mode, as we speak.

MADDOW: Do you have the resources that you need for the — the rescue and response mode? We've seen a lot of heartwarming stories about civilians — regular citizens getting in john boats and getting together what they can to try to rescue their fellow citizens in need. Do you have the — the government resources that you need or the private resources that you need in order to rescue people who need help?

EDWARDS: Well, what we do best in Louisiana is take care of one another. And I'm heart-warmed and gratified by the response that the people in Louisiana have — have had with respect to doing that. But I will tell you that I've also been gratified by the partnership we've had with the federal government — with the folks from FEMA, who have been embedded with us in Baton Rouge since last Thursday. And — and since that time, we've had every thing that we needed, in terms of assets and resources.

We've actually pushed those down to the parish level, so that the local first responders — they have received every request that they've made in a timely fashion — but this flooding is historic. It's unprecedented. There's nothing in the record books that told us what to expect. And that comes despite the fact that it's an unnamed storm. This is not a hurricane. It was not a tropical storm. But it broke all the records nonetheless. But I don't feel forgotten by the federal government.

I will tell you, it's — the media has not paid proper attention, and that — the media attention doesn't help me to respond and help the people of Louisiana. But where we may be lacking is without awareness around the country, the American Red Cross, for example, probably isn't receiving the donations, the contributions that it should, so that it can invest those dollars in Louisiana — helping our people. And so, I want to encourage you and the folks that are watching to try to promote the story from that angle. But we have what we need from the federal government.

(...)

MADDOW: One last question for you, Governor: the Baton Rouge 'Advocate' put out that impassioned call — that President Obama should get down there; that he should walk away from his vacation and come down to Louisiana. Do you want that?

EDWARDS: Well, first of all, the President is welcome any time he wants to come. I do want you to know and your viewers to know, Rachel, that within hours of me making a request for a federal declaration, I got it from the President. He called me. I want you to know that I've been speaking to Valerie Jarrett just about every day. He — he dispatched the FEMA administrator to meet with me for an entire day. Today, I had the homeland security secretary, Jeh Johnson. We've also had the four-star general who runs all of the guard for the country here today, as well.

So — so he is — he's welcome to visit. It would — in all honesty, if he's going to visit, I would just assume it'd be a week or 10 days — 14 days from now — because the Vice President was here about three weeks ago to go to a memorial service for the victims of the — the police officers who were killed here. And I will tell you, it is a major ordeal. They free up the interstate for him. We — we have to take hundreds of local first responders, police officers, sheriffs deputies, and state troopers to provide security for that type of visit. I would just to soon to have those people engaged in the response, rather than trying to secure the President. So, I'd ask him to wait, if he would, another couple of weeks. But he's certainly welcome to visit any time he wants to.

NB Daily Economy Budget Oil & Gas Prices Hurricane Katrina Double Standards Labeling Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Rachel Maddow Show Video George W. Bush Rachel Maddow Barack Obama Bobby Jindal
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