Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

Our Compassionate Senator

Senator Santorum on Katrina:

“I mean, you have people who don’t heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties, candidly, on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving.”

Right. People are too poor to evacuate, so fine them. Typically compassionate and understanding repuglican response, but I guess he’s at least open about it.

Of course, Santorum thinks the National Weather Service was partly responsible for the disaster, for not giving sufficient warning for it’s severity:

Santorum said he didn’t think the weather service had given “sufficient warning” initially about the hurricane’s path or what its impact would be when it hit Florida. He said he was “not going to suggest there were any major errors,” but that the adequacy of the warnings should to be investigated along with other aspects of how government agencies have dealt with Katrina.

“The expectation was that [the hurricane] was not going to hit Florida with much fury, and it ended up being a Category 1 hurricane and did a lot more damage than I think was ever anticipated,” Santorum said in the recorded radio interview.

Here is the warning the NWS issued before Katrina hit New Orleans:

NWS Warning

Looks pretty explicit to me. Too bad Bush and Cheney were out of town on vacation when this was happening, and Chertoff and Brown weren’t clever enough to read the NWS warnings on their own initiative.

For a timeline of how things played out with Katrina, check here.

For a debunking of several Republican talking points trying to shift blame for the disaster response, check here. Note particularly that Governor Blanco’s declaration of a state of emergency, the triggering event for responding to this kind of disaster, occured three days before Katrina actually made landfall.

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