Ted Cruz this week reflected on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which the Republican presidential hopeful blamed, at least in part, on the city having been governed “with one-party government control of far-left Democrats for decades.”
The fact that the crisis was created by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s (R) administration and his emergency manager in Flint – local Democratic officials had no decision-making authority – was a detail the Texas Republican appears to have missed.
But if Cruz exploiting a man-made disaster for partisan gain seemed crude, the Michigan Republican Party has him beat. The Huffington Post reported today:
The Michigan Republican Party would like you to know that Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has been busy trying to heal the city of Flint while the malevolent Obama administration has only stood in the way.That’s the message of an infographic the state party started putting out on social media on Thursday. The light blue water droplets on the left represent actions Snyder has taken since October, when his administration admitted its own mistakes created a crisis in Flint, a city whose 100,000 residents still can’t drink the water because of high lead levels. The dark blue droplets supposedly show unhelpful actions taken by the Obama administration, such as the refusal to declare a federal disaster area in the state (it declared an emergency instead).
As of this minute, the image is still available on the Michigan Republican Party’s Facebook page. If it’s taken down, it appears that the fine folks at Eclectablog, a Michigan-based site, have published the same image.
We know, of course, what state Republicans were thinking when they created this absurd infographic. GOP officials, recognizing the severity of this catastrophe and scandal, are desperate to avoid blame. Taking responsibility for Republicans’ mistakes is hard; reflexively lashing out at the White House, even if it doesn’t make any sense, is easy.
The problem, which even the most knee-jerk partisans will find hard to overlook, is a story that is not in dispute: 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, a move that carried tragic consequences.
Snyder administration officials told local residents not to worry about the water’s safety, even when the city had every reason to worry about the water’s safety.
These details were apparently omitted from the Michigan Republican Party’s infographic.