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McCain on Gustav: We'll "Act as Americans not as Republicans"

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In an embarrassing gaffe, John McCain was quoted in the Houston Chronicle inferring that under standard operating procedure Republicans would not act in a way to help victims of a hurricane on American soil.

In a message following the cancellation of the Republican National Convention's first night on Monday, McCain said, "I pledge that tomorrow night, and if necessary throughout our convention, we will act as Americans and not as Republicans, because America needs us now."

Privately he went on to reassure everyone from anxious Exxon mobile executives to Charles H. Keating that, "After the convention we'll go back to screwing Americans." 

Despite McCain's reckless inference that Republicans are not Americans (as we always suspected, why else do they need to wave the flag so fervently?) or that Republicans won't help others but Americans will, there's no real proof that Republicans would turn their back on the American people in a time of crisis. Oh. Wait a sec... Hurricane Katrina? Can you say, "Heckuva job, Brownie?" 

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Rush Limbaugh may have been the first one to imagine a scenario where the Republicans were whooping it up in St. Paul while Barack Obama and his wife piled sand bags in New Orleans. He forecasted that the entire media establishment would vacate Minnesota and head down to the Gulf Coast. 

That was on Wednesday last week. If Limbaugh hadn't sounded off the alarm, it's possible that his vision would have been prophetic. 

However, someone was listening, and if they weren't I'm sure Limbaugh made some well-placed calls. Now, every time a Republican mentions Gustav, he or she musters up the solemnity and patriotism usually reserved for the funeral of drunk old Uncle Buck.

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Saying the convention is concerned about the potential victims of the storms, here's House Minority Leader John Boehner (pronounced BOH-nerr) doing his best Uncle Buck eulogy: "The best way we honor [victims of the storm] is to help Americans who are in need." Let me wipe the tears out of my eyes. 

Doesn't matter that drunk old Uncle Buck led the philandering life of a miscreant because, according to legend, he's family and all the relatives are in town. New Orleans is no Uncle Buck, but the point remains: these Republicans are putting on a show to cover their indifference and even contempt for New Orleans.

After Hurricane Katrina hit, it was a boondoggle for the Republicans' patrons. According to Thomas Frank, in his new book "Wrecking Crew," as cars were packed bumper-to-bumper trying to leave New Orleans, well-connected sub-contractors were on the other side of the median salivating to get in. For their troubles they received gigantic, no-bid contracts from Republican insiders: the cronies that Bush has padded our government with. (That's TAX-PAYER MONEY for all you so-called conservatives that supposedly oppose Big Government spending!)

We've spent $3.3 billion on New Orleans, all of it given to shoddy "free-market" contractors, and what do we have for it? New Orleans is a shell of what it used to be. Get ready to spend big, America! Your share of the national debt is about to climb from $32K another several hundred bucks! 

In all likelihood, Republicans are canceling the convention for the real reason that they need to wheel and deal with private contractors! You watch... they'll call a special "EMERGENCY SESSION" and dole out a few billion dollars on NO-BID contracts. They'll be at home watching the hurricane slame home like it's the Super Bowl and high-fiving their private-contractor buddies every time a levee breaks--the analogical equal to a touchdown. 

Praise the free market, you "free market" fools! Praise the death of your country!

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Dean Powers lives in Castleton, VT. He has apprenticed at several newspapers including The Nation. He currently writes for OpEdNews. He can be found at

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