At a certain level, it’s encouraging anytime Republican presidential candidates notice the crisis in Flint, Michigan, and incorporate concerns about the scandal into their message. Take Ted Cruz, for example, who spoke to a New Hampshire audience about this yesterday:
“You know, you look at what’s happening in Flint. Flint is an absolute outrage. You’ve got your own government poisoning the citizens. You look at the basic responsibilities of government, making sure our water’s clean is really near the top. I mean, we’re not talking rocket science here. This isn’t even broadband Internet. This is, ‘Don’t have the water coming out of my sink poison me.’”
What’s wrong with this? Not a darned thing. Flint is an absolute outrage and I’ll gladly give the senator credit for focusing on it. The problem, however, is what Cruz said next:
“You know, there’s an interesting parallel between Flint and New Orleans. Both cities have been governed with one-party government control of far-left Democrats for decades.”
Oh, I see. Flint is an absolute outrage if it can be worked into a partisan frame that Ted Cruz can use to advance his presidential campaign.
Look, there’s simply no reason to turn a catastrophe like Flint into the latest partisan food fight. It’s a human crisis and a public-health disaster, not an election-year stunt. That said, if Cruz really is eager to go down this road, he may want to consider an important detail: Flint’s Democratic officials weren’t responsible for the water crisis.
On the contrary, Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, working with powers given to him by Michigan’s Republican-led state legislature, stripped local Flint officials of their power and decision-making authority. Snyder put an “emergency manager” in place – someone who answered to the governor, not the people of Flint – who shifted the city’s water supply.
“Far-left Democrats” had no say in the matter.
Maybe someone ought to let the Texas Republican know.
For more on the Flint story, I hope everyone saw Rachel’s report from last night’s show.