When is it Time for a Conservative to Start Clamoring for Big Government?

When the place where you live catches fire, apparently. From last year, Texas’ Chief “Oops” Officer Rick Perry whined about not getting enough federal dollars Texas got after their epic wildfires of last year.

And now this week, conservative attack poodle Michelle Malkin (who lives in Colorado Springs and was forced to evacuate by godless socialist big-government fire authorities) has found someone to blame for the hundreds of homes that have burned in the eastern Colorado foothills. No surprise, it’s President Obama. That’s right, the skinny kid from Chicago is personally responsible for the outcome of the Colorado Springs fire.

I suppose this couldn’t possibly be the fault of homeowners who built or purchased their homes in the urban-wilderness interface. America is all about the freedom to buy a home wherever you want, right? Although this does sort of seem like another example of the conservative impulse to socialize risk and privatize gains. When the value of your hillside home goes up, are you allowed to complain when your property tax (which pays for fire protection) goes up? Answer carefully!

We lived in Colorado Springs for a few years when I was in elementary school, so I know the area a little bit; our old neighborhood is about four miles from the fire boundary. On the other side of our street was a wilderness preserve. Well, I guess it’s a former wilderness preserve; according to Google Maps satellite view — half of it is housing tracts now. I’m sure those folks are OK since they’re on the other side of the highway from the fire, but as anyone who’s lived in a foothill wilderness knows, sometimes those things catch on fire. The question before us is: who is to blame when your house burns down?

I’m sure it can’t be the fault of conservatives in state legislatures who are forcing austerity budgets, reducing the sizes of public safety agencies (as well as schools and other infrastructure projects).

But you gotta ask: Where is your free market now, Ms. Tough-Gal Conservative? Why didn’t you come prepared for this moment and secure additional fire protection through private industry?

I realize that after George Bush’s sterling performance following Hurricane Katrina, conservatives are desperate to turn the tables on Obama, hoping to indict both him personally and the federal government’s disaster-relief role in general. But they can’t have it both ways: you can either support the notion of a robust federal role in disaster preparedness and relief, or you don’t get to criticize the government when your back yard burns down.