Whatever happened to last year's breakout stars?
So Mitt Romney doesn’t want to eliminate FEMA anymore, but he definitely still wants to give the states more responsibility for their own security. “States should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions,” is his current position, according to a spokesperson. As we’ve noted, states already play the primary role in responding to natural disasters and adding to their responsibilities would prove difficult, since budget-strapped states simply don’t have the resources needed to respond to major disasters.
Romney himself understood this very problem when he chaired a little-noticed advisory council on homeland security in 2004.
As the federal government was rearranging its security apparatuses in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, President Bush created the Homeland Security Advisory Council to advise the newly created Department of Homeland Security. Mitt Romney, then the governor of Massachusetts, served as chairman of the State and Local Officials Senior Advisory Committee, and in June 2004 was selected to chair a working group studying how the federal government could best work with state, local and tribal authorities on intelligence and counter-terror activities.
Romney’s role on the advisory committee seems to have gone entirely unnoticed by the media during this election cycle, except by the Huffington Post’s Andrea Stone, who mentioned the council in a comprehensive look at Romney’s stance on domestic spying in May. Stone reported that through the council Romney was “instrumental” in creating “fusion centers,” the post-9/11 intelligence hubs where law enforcement from various tiers of government share information. The centers have become highly controversial in recent years; a two-year-long investigative Senate report released earlier this month found them to be “pools of ineptitude, waste and civil liberties intrusions,” as the Washington Post summarized the report in its headline.
But there’s a different part of Romney’s committee work that’s more relevant to today’s debate on federalism and disaster response. The final report, released in December 2004, details why it is “critical” that state and local authorities coordinate their effort with federal officials. Most of the report lays out common-sense recommendations and focuses on sharing information in ways that didn’t happen before 9/11.
The report concludes:
“We must also proceed thoughtfully and consider all of the implications before asking already heavily burdened state, local, tribal and private sector entities to take on new responsibilities without the appropriate level of federal funding.”
So in 2004, before he was severely conservative Mitt Romney and when he was Massachusetts moderate Mitt Romney, he understood exactly why doing something like eliminating FEMA would be a bad idea. Yes, the report focused on counterterrorism, but there is significant overlap in strategies used to prepare for, and resources used to respond to, a terror attack or natural disaster (there’s a reason FEMA is housed within the Department of Homeland Security). And the challenges of federalism are the same whether you’re trying to coordinate efforts to thwart terrorists or evacuate lower Manhattan.
A year later, Romney expressed similar sentiment when he criticized the federal government’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina. In September 2005, Romney appeared on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News and said he agreed with Bush that FEMA’s response “was unacceptable.” He also had plenty of criticism for the governors of Louisiana and surrounding states — for not asking the federal government for help fast enough, saying they should have asked for federal help on Aug. 26 instead of 28.
It’s curious that, this year, Romney hasn’t touted his role on the Homeland Security advisory committee to bolster his thin resume on national security. He did during his 2008 presidential bid. “And that’s what I’ve spent my time doing as the governor over the last four years and serving on the Homeland Security Advisory Council, and that means intelligence and counterterrorism,” he said in a Fox News GOP primary debate in May 2007. Why he’s buried this chapter is a mystery that may not be solved before Election Day.
The star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” charmed practically everyone at the Oscars, where she was the youngest best actress nominee ever; she went on to film a remake of “Annie” opposite Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Jepsen, who had 2012’s song of the summer with “Call Me Maybe,” released the fifth and final single from her debut album in January 2013. She toured the U.S. in mid-2013 -- just as Daft Punk and Robin Thicke battled to succeed her as icons of the summer.
Honey Boo Boo
2012’s biggest reality star, the young pageant contestant Alana Thompson, had a quieter time this year, with a second season whose ratings were strong but whose buzz was a bit muted. America was, by now, accustomed to young Thompson, and outraged or scandalized reactions were reserved for other TLC programming, like “The Man With the 132-Pound Scrotum.”
Ocean missed out on the top Grammys for which he was nominated in early 2013; he bounced back quickly with featured appearances on albums by Kanye West, Jay Z and Beyoncé, and is at work on a new album. Things are looking up!
The “21 Jump Street” and “Magic Mike” star had a marginally less charmed 2013, with “White House Down” failing to connect with moviegoers and “Foxcatcher” delayed until next year. It may get worse before it gets better: His big 2014 sci-fi flick, “Jupiter Ascending,” looks … well, a little weird!
With their third album in 21 months hitting No. 1 immediately upon its fall 2013 release, the boy band that broke into America in 2012 would seem to be here to stay for a while. Still, they looked a bit nervous in their reaction shots during the Video Music Awards’ ‘N Sync reunion; maybe not this year, maybe not next, but eventually, the Justin of One Direction is going to break out. For now, though, things look good!
Lana Del Rey
The famously uncomfortable “Saturday Night Live” musical guest overcame endless mockery from 2012 to land her first top-10 hit in the summer of 2013 -- a remix of a year-old song, “Summertime Sadness.” As the co-writer of “Young and Beautiful,” the love theme from “The Great Gatsby,” Del Rey is such a front-runner for the best original song Oscar (last won by Adele) that there has been a direct-mail campaign to academy voters against her. The song was also played at the most romantic event of the year: Kanye West’s stadium marriage proposal to Kim Kardashian.
Wilson, who charmed fans of 2012’s “Pitch Perfect,” had a rockier 2013, with her sitcom “Super Fun Night” struggling creatively and in the ratings. Her next planned movies are both sequels, to “Kung Fu Panda” and -- hoping lightning will strike twice -- to “Pitch Perfect.”
Another 2012 music icon, Gotye won the record of the year trophy at the 2013 Grammys for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” He released no new singles in 2013, and has told the press he has been struggling to complete new material. Good luck, Gotye!
The golden boy of the 2012 Olympics, without feats of aquatic derring-do to distract the public this year, saw his always-tenuous persona completely shift from “amiable jock” into “utter dolt” with his E! reality series. Worst of all, the series was canceled.
In 2012, the young actress -- best known for her role in the indie “Winter’s Bone” and a supporting part in the “X-Men” franchise -- had marquee roles in the first “Hunger Games” film and in David O. Russell’s comedy “Silver Linings Playbook.” In 2013, she played to her strengths: After winning an Oscar, she starred in the second “Hunger Games” movie, on whose publicity tour she managed to charm everyone in America, and had another role in a David O. Russell comedy, “American Hustle,” for which she might just win ANOTHER Oscar. By 2014, she may end up running a major studio, or serving as president.
The breakout bikini model of 2012 made a repeat appearance on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue -- and got to do high-fashion spreads in Elle, Vogue and Vanity Fair. She was cast in a Cameron Diaz comedy, too. Some types of appeal are eternal!
E. L. James
The “50 Shades” novelist now gets to help share some input into a movie adaptation set for release in 2015. She probably never needs to work again! Isn’t that great? Isn’t that … just … great?
The “Gangnam Style” phenom performed at New Year’s 2013, but will spend New Year’s 2014 flipping channels to find his pistachio ad, his goofy antics having been outdone in the past year by “The Fox” singers Ylvis. Nothing meme can stay.