Last Updated:November 30 @ 05:13 pm

Malkin: Never Let a Wildfire Go to Waste

By Michelle Malkin

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Did you know that President Obama has been incommunicado with Colorado's governor for more than two weeks as the nation's worst wildfires rage across the state? Maybe he thought we were all "doing fine." After an embarrassing Beltway press briefing revelation about our out-of-touch White House, the administration finally decided to divert the campaigner in chief from his nationwide fundraising frenzy for a quick look-see at our devastated city on Friday. It's "leadership from behind" you can count on.

On Wednesday, press secretary Jay Carney acknowledged that Obama hadn't talked to Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in 15 days. Holy smokes. The High Park fire, which has consumed nearly 90,000 acres and claimed nearly 257 homes west of Fort Collins, ignited on June 9 and is still active. During a campaign swing just last week, first lady Michelle Obama made a brief mention of the High Park fire before launching into her standard GOP-bashing stump speeches.

On June 23, the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs erupted. An estimated 19,000 acres and nearly 350 homes burned down to the ground on Tuesday. More than 32,000 have been displaced so far. My family was forced to abandon our home on Saturday, and our neighborhood remains in a mandatory evacuation zone. On June 27, Boulder's Flagstaff fire broke out and has so far blazed through 300 acres.

While he made no public statements prior to the announcement of his visit, an irritated Carney told reporters on Wednesday that Obama was being "updated regularly" on the wildfires in Colorado and across the West. He then rushed out a face-saving press release heralding the president's hasty phone call that afternoon to Hickenlooper and Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, in which he "expressed his concern about the extent of damage to homes in the Colorado Springs area, and informed both the governor and the mayor that he plans to travel to the area Friday to view the damage and thank the responders bravely battling the fire."

As Obama sightsees overhead in this key swing state and surrounds himself with first responders for campaign-ready photo-ops, his supporters on the ground are busy spewing excuses, attacks and death wishes on their political opponents. I know. I've received countless numbers of them hoping that firefighters let my "mansion" burn down and gloating that God is punishing Colorado's conservative population. Liberals took to Twitter to bash local GOP officials as "fire retardants" who should be dropped over the blaze. And jokes about Colorado social conservatives like this proliferated: "If this Colorado fire takes out the Focus on the Family campus, then God really exists."

The sniping isn't limited to social media. Obama strategist Rahm Emanuel said in 2008: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." On cue, Hickenlooper mocked limited-government watchdogs who questioned the Obama administration's decision to cancel a key aerial tanker contract last summer. (It was the topic of my June 20 column last week, "How Obama Bureaucrats Fueled Western Wildfires.") The Denver Post reported Wednesday:

"Asked about criticism from the right over the Obama administration's canceling of the contract, Hickenlooper offered an uncharacteristically strong defense of the president. 'Were these the same conservatives that were so worried about the Obama administration spending too much money, or were these different conservatives?' Hickenlooper said. 'Quite honestly, in a situation like this where over 30,000 people have been evacuated, I don't think that (criticism of Obama) is appropriate,' the governor said. 'We should be focusing our support on them and on the people out there risking their lives to fight these fires.'"

Spare us the sanctimony, and lay off the firefighter human shield strategy. The conservatives in Congress and libertarians at and elsewhere on the right who called attention to the U.S. Forest Service's aging, neglected and undercapitalized aerial tanker fleet are the same conservatives who have doggedly called attention to the Obama administration's serial squandering of taxpayer dollars on nonessential, ineffective, crony-driven spending. We are the conservatives worried about dumping billions of dollars into bankrupt federal green boondoggles like Solyndra, Abound Solar, Beacon Power, Ener1 and LightSquared at the expense of fundamental services -- like fighting fires.

It is entirely appropriate and possible to question this administration's policy decisions while supporting frontline emergency personnel at the same time. And it is entirely logical and rational to express gratitude for firefighters and police officers -- while working to ensure the long-term financial viability of their departments through tough but necessary budget and public employee union reforms.

But don't look to Obama to put out the flames of politically expedient and inflammatory rhetoric. He may be slow on the uptake to respond to national crises, but when it comes to exploiting them, he's an industrial-grade accelerant.


Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies" (Regnery 2010).


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  1. inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
    June 29, 2012 @ 8:16 am

    Obama has stayed away because he who had a hand in the designed the destruction knows just what is going on. All those illegal Drug dealing immigrant anarchists are burning each other’s competition drug fields planted in America’s hinterlands, and if truth be known before the election it would harm his chances and agenda for four more years of dilution of our American freedoms. We NEVER had this many forest fires, so why so many, so large some of which now threaten our Air Force Training base in Colorado Springs. The liberal torch of illegal immigration that burns down the house of law abiding America was lit by Obama and the Democrats and handed to those who care not for the rule of law, but the rule of the strongest and most devious in design and nature. The honest working people of American spirit are being driven from their homes by a political scorched earth policy that rivals Hitler’s campaign in the steps of Russia. What he cannot accomplish overtly he does by subterfuge.

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  2. middlegroundComment by middleground
    June 29, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

    I couldn’t help thinking when Clinton came up with his roadless-area nonsense whether he had a clue about the real world of trying to get to a fire on foot with a 5 gallon water pump on your back and a 14 foot falling saw on your shoulder 6 or 7 miles from the nearest road. An experience I had as a youth. At one time forests on federal land were managed, now we seem to save them for the pine bark beetle and fires. A realistic management plan would be to kill the pine bark beetles with spray and quickly grind up the dead trees along with the beetles and sell both either here or overseas. I’m no forester, but I can certainly recognize cumbersome policies. The difference between our former free-enterprise system and today’s environmental Marxism, is that the former recognizes a way to profit from dead trees and treat the problem, whereas the other reads and writes regulations to create employment for those encasing those bug-killed trees in plastic and treating as them as toxic waste, but only after the appropriate agency has heard citizen input and issued permission. It’s called centralizing power and it didn’t prove very successful in the USSR, but somehow bureaucrats always know better

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  3. Mort_fComment by Mort_f
    June 29, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

    Call it Obummer’s Katrina. While Bush could not have stopped a hurricane, many, including myself have been ignored in pointing out that our fleet of aerial fire fighters has gone from 36? to 6 during Obama’s reign. And we are now in the position of asking Canada for help. Read the new contract provisions by the Forest Service, a day late and a dollar short, and loaded with nonsensical provisions.

    Referring to Forest Service mentality. Years ago, I demonstrated a personal distress beacon to them. The troops tested it, and loved it. Forest Service management denied its usage. Their rarionale? If our people use it, we might have to save other people.

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  4. effwingerComment by effwinger
    June 29, 2012 @ 7:12 pm

    You bring the Obama disaster to the Colorado disaster, and all you will have is two disasters. If I were dealing with those fires, I’d want the racist idiot in chief to STAY AWAY! Maybe he can find a couple newly hired IRS agents to man a hose?

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    • anangrygrammaComment by anangrygramma
      June 30, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

      I live in Co.Springs. I can tell you this…I happened to catch a local news anchor after the announcement of Ovamitt’s trip here. He stated that the news station’s FaceBook pages lit up when it was announced. The majority of people did not want him here! The news anchor was trying to smooth things over stating, while he understands that many of the viewers don’t agree with his policies, he is the prez, & he should come…
      Personally, I was hoping that his visit was so that we could sacrifice him to the fire gods!
      Michelle, I pray the best for you, and hope that your home was not lost!

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  5. joelinpdxComment by joelinpdx
    June 29, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

    Obozo is a real piece of work…or piece of something else not printable on a family website.

    Here in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, we’ve been lucky this year that it has been wet and fairly chilly. Can you imagine if we were having the same kind of fire problems as Colorado and needed aerial fire support that no longer exists thanks to Obozo.

    I just have trouble imaging why anyone in their right mind would support this clown for re-election. But then I guess I answered my own question…liberals are not in their right minds. But maybe, just maybe Obozo has screwed the pooch in Colorado by dispensing with aerial fire suppression.

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  6. iceman44Comment by iceman44
    June 29, 2012 @ 11:38 pm

    Lets see now, Colorado has been burning for 3 weeks, starting with the High Park Fire, then the Estes Park Fire, then Flagstaff, now Colorado Springs is going up in flames. Obozo could have declared Colorado a Disaster Area from Washington at any time during those 3 weeks. Instead, this grandstanding little Runt flies in on Air Force 1, declares the state a Disaster Area while enroute, talks to the Governor and a few Firefighters, poses for a few photo-ops, and flies back to — the next Fundraiser or Round of Golf.

    One wonders why he bothered to go out to CO at all, but then again, Colorado is a Battleground State for November….

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    • joelinpdxComment by joelinpdx
      June 30, 2012 @ 12:22 am

      Colorado may be a battleground but given Obozo’s lack of attention to the fires the voters of Colorado have every reason to tell him to move back to Chicago…or Kenya…or wherever.

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  7. goldclaw83Comment by goldclaw83
    June 30, 2012 @ 9:11 am

    Like Nero–obummer will let America burn as the marxist jungle king campaigns!–He doesn’t care about America–I actually think he hates America and wants us to fail..He only cares about himself–He’s a LIAR and a TRAITOR–but a good actor!–VOTE THIS SOCIALIST OUT IN NOVEMBER OR AMERICA IS DOOMED!

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  8. pebearComment by pebear
    June 30, 2012 @ 10:24 am

    He needs to lead the charge with FEMA. So he can be shown as a benevolent man handing out federal goodies to those who just lost their houses. His administration has ignored forest management to the point that we will see more and more of these wild fires. When we have no forest management, we are not able to harvest any trees and sell them, they all get burned up and wasted. We can manage forests make money and keep people like these in Co. Springs safe.

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