The hour when the one of the largest hurricanes ever to form and hit American shores are just a few short days away. And, citizens throughout the world have not forgotten this nor have they failed to let it shape their views of the two main U.S. presidential candidates.
August 29 will mark the three-year anniversary of a hurricane that killed thousands of lives in Southern U.S. and left thousands more in extreme poverty. Both presidential nominees Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama made stops during their campaign and paid visits to the area most affected by Katrina: New Orleans. During their visits, three bloggers paid close attention and formed opinions.
Benito GarcÃa Pedraza of Madrid, Spain, wrote in his blog the comments that McCain said during his tour earlier this year.
â€œ â€˜We need to go back to have a conversation about what to do [about Ward 9 in New Orleans]: rebuild it, tear it down, you know, whatever it is.â€™ That was John McCainâ€™s statement when he toured hurricane-damaged New Orleans recently. Three days later, the Senator said he didnâ€™t remember saying that.â€
Pedraza further notes that McCain didnâ€™t support many of the relief efforts recommended for those affected by Katrina.
â€œI wonder if Sen. McCain has also forgotten his voting record on Hurricane Katrina, a record that suggests that he was part of the problem, not part of the solution. I trust Gulf Coast voters wonâ€™t forget. During his recent tour, Sen. McCain criticized both the Bush Administration and Congress for its handling of the disaster. Lamenting the pace of recovery, Sen. McCain said, â€˜I want to assure you it will never happen again in this country. You have my commitment and my promise.â€™ But Sen. McCain voted against establishing a Congressional commission to examine the Federal, State, and local responses to Katrina in September 2005. He repeated that vote in 2006. He voted against allowing up to 52 weeks of unemployment benefits to people affected by the hurricane, and in 2006 voted against appropriating $109 billion in supplemental emergency funding, including $28 billion for hurricane relief.â€
On the other side of the world, in Australia, Rossi the Aussie writes in her shared blog ReBelled Nation, about McCainâ€™s many homes compared to those who were forced into foreclosure. She further examines where McCain was when Katrina paid Americaâ€™s South a visit, by simply posting a picture of McCain and Bush having cake. On the bottom of the picture, lies the question:
â€œWhere were you on August 29, 2005?â€
Meanwhile, Ricardo Valenzuela of Mexico (like many other bloggers) doesnâ€™t question where Obama was during Hurricane Katrina or his support of federal aid to those that needed it. But, he questions, in his blog Intermex Power, whether Obama and the Democratic Party will be able to successfully win the election, as many Americans (even some Democrats) doubt his abilities and if he does become president, will he be able to fully emphasize with the low and middle-class Americans?
Valenzuela ends his post saying:
â€œThat [empathizing with low and middle-class Americans] could also help heal the wounds of the Democratic Party, which, after the bitter contest and Mr. Obamaâ€™s narrow victory, are still raw. If the Democrats remain divided they will lose the presidency. Were that to happen, after Iraq, Katrina and an economic crisis, they might well want to consider an alternative line of work.â€