STATE FARM'S HEAD ON A PLATTER
What Gulf Coast Congressman Gene Taylor wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him.
South Mississippi Living 4/07

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bush’s Veto Threat Threatens More Than Multiple Peril Legislation

by Ana Maria
Last week, when George W. Bush threatened to veto the much needed and fiscally sound multiple peril insurance legislation that Congressman Gene Taylor championed, Bush threw oil on the fire of the emotional and mental stress of plenty of folks. See, here in South Mississippi, Bush has plenty of folks who still believe in him. While Bush’s approval rating continues to sink to the bottom of the history books, plenty of South Mississippians still believe in him. Not me, mind you. Personally, I’ve been in the other camp all along from that fateful day in December of 2000 when his daddy’s Supreme Court buddies voted him into the Oval Office.

But here, for reasons even this native woman—yours truly, that is—can’t quite understand, Bush has been believed. His actions toward these people who have had placed their faith in God and country into a man who would look them in the proverbial eye and again say one thing while his action prove his words hollow. A pattern that has been so very familiar for plenty of us. For me, today, though, this is deeply personal. These people are my family, neighbors, friends, and my regional community.

Here in my own hometown at the Our Lady of the Gulf Community Center—the Catholic Church which I attended throughout my formative years and whose schools provided a strong foundation for my life, Bush said

"The folks here had special, extra problems to deal with. And I heard you loud and clear, and I thank you for sharing that with me," Bush said. Emphasis added.


He also said
"People are worried about insurance here. They're worried about bureaucracy. It's one of the reasons Laura and I have come back, to remind people that we haven't forgotten and won't." Emphasis added.
Then last week, his office announced it would veto the legislation. So that’s where Bush stands today. Guess the man forgot.

Throughout the Katrina-ravaged region—from Louisiana through South Mississippi and Alabama, life is so tremendously difficult that depression and suicidal tendencies have skyrocketed. Just yesterday, I read that domestic abuse has climbed upwards as well—and the shelters that once assisted and protected women and their children are fewer than pre-Katrina.

Good Morning, America’s Robin Roberts—a native of Pass Christian which was blown away with Katrina’s winds—publicized the fact that one of the elementary schools had no running water for its 600 kids. Bush’s FEMA had turned down the request for money for a well. Roberts’ publicity placed pressure on FEMA to reverse its morally repulsive decision. A much-loved national television anchor made this happen, not George W. Bush or his cronies in office.

Yesterday’s Sun Herald ran an editorial titled Presidential Veto Would Break Faith With South Mississippi.
On his most recent visit here, on the second anniversary of the great storm, he sat in a room in Bay St. Louis with our political leadership, including Sen. Trent Lott, Congressman Gene Taylor and local mayors and county supervisors, and they told him that the thing we need most now, the one thing that is necessary for our rebuilding and recovery efforts, is multiple-peril insurance.

So it was with disappointment, sadness, and perhaps bewilderment, that we learned Wednesday that the president was being advised to veto this most important piece of legislation on the very eve of debate in the House of Representatives. It is inconceivable that a president who has seen firsthand this flattened region, and has been thoroughly briefed on the roadblocks to rebuilding posed by the insurance industry's intransigence, would yield to such a suggestion.
Yet, in spite of that threat, the overwhelming majority of the House of Representatives passed this much needed legislation and did so with strong bi-partisan support. Through the courageous leadership of South Mississippi’s Congressman Gene Taylor, this legislation soared through. Because of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s real commitment to the people throughout the Katrina-ravaged region, she put her leadership into action and made this legislation get through the subcommittee and committee hearings and finally through the House of Representatives. Real words with action that correspond to those words.

What to do given the fact that Bush has threatened the veto and to date the legislation has not found a legislative sponsor in the U.S. Senate? The answer to this is two-fold.

The Mississippi Press Register is a daily paper that covers U.S. Senator Trent Lott’s hometown of Pascagoula, Miss.. In its editorial this past Sunday, the paper wrote
Bush, Lott and Thad Cochran, Mississippi's other senior statesman in the Senate, need to seriously weigh the consequences of this bill. Not just the added burden to the federal government, but also the added burden to millions of homeowners who are increasingly being priced out of the insurance market because of the probability of a hurricane.
Here in Mississippi, we have two very powerful Republican Senators who are keenly devoted to this humble state. One the ranking minority member of the Senate Appropriations Committee (Thad Cochran) and the other the Senate Minority Leader (Trent Lott). The two become natural allies with their neighboring U. S. Senators in protecting the people of South Mississippi from further ravages from the insurance industry hell bent on making our lives a living hell as they transfer the claims money into the ever growing salaries and bonuses of the corporations’ upper most management.

Senator Lott himself lost his home in Katrina. [See the photo.]

Another natural on this legislation, of course, is Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from New Orleans. The Democratic Leadership in the Senate will be on board with this. They already sponsored the bill to close the loophole that has permitted the insurance industry to escape the nation’s anti-trust laws prohibiting price fixing, collusion, and the like. Senator Lott joined Landrieu and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in co-sponsoring this important legislation. Adding the important political clout of Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran to this powerful team will create a potent dream team.

In talking about the anti-trust legislation that he co-sponsored, Senator Lott himself said "You think if the majority leader calls its up, it's not going to happen?" The same can be said of the multiple peril legislation.

This is the first part of the two-fold answer to the question above. For the second part, I draw on my extensive experience in the kitchen, especially at Thanksgiving. I love food analogies. So here’s this one which applies well to the situation. See if you agree.

Every household that has a big Thanksgiving turkey dinner faces the same problem after the meal: the yucky, baked on, can’t-take-a jackhammer-to-it, turkey pan. Shoot, any of us could expend plenty of energy trying to chisel away at it. Experienced cooks, however, put hot sudsy water in the pan, move the pan to the side, and then go on about their business. By the time every morsel of dinner and dessert has been savored, the table cleared, the rest of the dishes stacked in the dishwasher or washed by hand, the hot sudsy water will have worked its way through the previously seemingly entrenched “nothing’s-gonna-get-that--clean-again” turkey pan and voila! Almost like magic, everything rinses away with great ease. And so it can be in politics.

The very next step is obtaining an appropriate sponsor requires us to again rev up the pressure, the big political momentum. Then we move to getting the legislation on a subcommittee calendar and passed out of the subcommittee, getting the legislation on the committee calendar and passed out of committee, then getting the legislation on the calendar for the Senate floor and passed out of the U.S. Senate. We’ll get the legislation through the U.S. Senate with strong bi-partisan support just as we did in the House of Representatives. Today, we need to start with getting the sponsors lined up. Let’s focus our attention on and contact three U.S. Senators: Trent Lott (R-MS), Thad Cochran (R-MS), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA). A simple email or phone call to each will help them understand that we respectfully request their leadership on this critical legislation.

As we ratchet up the political pressure to pass this out of the U.S. Senate, our political hot sudsy water action will continue to work its way through the White House entrenchment—or not.

One of two things will happen. Either Bush will sign the legislation into law, or he will hand the Democratic Party a strong bread and butter, kitchen table economic issue on which to run their 2008 presidential campaign. Either way, the people inside the Katrina-ravaged region win.

Of course, were Bush to have an epiphany—perhaps with the help of a great deal of internal Republican pressure that we ourselves assist in creating, we in the Katrina region will win sooner. For me, I just want this legislation to go through the Senate and for Bush to go ahead and sign it. We need this legislative action to be speedy to jump start our long overdue economic recovery. We don’t need presidential politics.

Bush’s veto threat threatens more than just the legislation that will do plenty of good here and throughout all of America’s coastal communities from sea to shining sea. Bush’s veto threatens the mental health of a region, challenges that have been discussed here in this blog and in many different newspapers in the nation. We need hope to ward off the stress, the depression, the suicidal thoughts that come from a sense of hopelessness. Folks here need to see that their government is responsive, that the wrongs that have besieged them are being righted in the courts and in the legislative halls of Congress and the White House.

If Bush resists the political heat that you and I along with others create—then fine. Bush could be handing the Democratic presidential nominee a key legislative jewel in the party’s arsenal to rest the White House from Bush’s party. Bush threatening to veto the multiple peril legislation may threaten his party’s control of the White House . . . and more.

© 2007 Ana Maria Rosato. All rights reserved.
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1 comment:

GentillyGirl said...

Darlin',

Ya's just don't get it. George Bush doesn't give a poop about Americans, Human Beings or box turtles.

He is the frontman for that lousy 2% of the population that "owns" 95% of our country. We are just chattel.

Little peoples' dreams and hopes, their children's future lives, mean absolutely nothing to Bush's crowd. This is now a 21st Century Feudal Kingdom.

All of this has come about because the American people lost sight of the goal: Freedom, if you can keep it.

If we are to save our Republic, then it must start here on the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans. It's time for the Second American Revolution, and it must start here with us. (and we have Amerikkka by the gonads at this point in time.