City Desk

Dick Durbin Goes Batshit Over D.C. Snow

More snow machismo/grandstanding, this time on the Senate floor, courtesy of Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.):

I never could get over how people in this town reacted to snow. I am convinced that infants born in Washington, D.C., are taken from the arms of their loving mothers right when they are born into a room where someone shows a film of a snowstorm with shrieking and screaming so that those children come to believe snow is a mortal enemy, like a nuclear attack, because I have seen, for over 40 years here, people in this town go into a full-scale panic at the thought of a snowfall. We joke about it. Those of us from parts of the country that get snow and know how to live with it cannot get over how crazy the reaction is many times.

Via The Hill

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  • Jeff

    Durbin is from southern Illinois which probably gets less snow in the average year than DC. So, his "[t]hose of us from parts of the country that get snow" remark is a load of crap. I'm from northern Illinois, which does get snow. They wouldn't have been able to have handled this much snow any better. This was simply a difficult snow, both in quantity and the fact that it was two storms. If it wasn't for the second one, the first one was on the verge of being handled.

  • Screw Durbin

    Glad to hear from you, Senator. We need to find a way to melt all that snow. My suggestion is we pound it where the sun don't shine.

    Will the senior Senator from Illinois please assume the position?

  • hymesb

    I am a Chi-town transplant as well.

    People in Chi could not have reacted any different.

    If it was 10-15 inches ...then, yes, we would talk about you like a dog for not knowing what to do.

    But this...sorry Sen. Durbin...was worthy of a little freak out.

    The storm was so back that its remains snowed on New Orleans today.

  • John

    +1 Jeff

    Chicagoan who lived thru 67 and 78 and whose family is still there and this snow was certainly as hard and no jurisdiction had the large scale abandonment of vehicles Chicago had in 67 ( nor the malfeasance experienced in 78. What we don't have is snow as a routine life event that Chicago gets. And with an annual snowfall of 18 inches over a winter, how can this area be snow hardened?

    I like Durbin for a lot of reasons but having lived here 30 years, his assessment simply is myopic.

  • Typical DC BS

    @Jeff - You are 100% correct. With two giant snowstorms hitting within 1 week of the magnitude we just had, I guarantee you Chicago would have had a tough time handling the snow removal. Durbin's just talking out of his ass, like he knows anything at all about handling big snow clean-ups.

    @Screw Durbin - Love the comment.

  • Resident85

    Way to contribute to the cleanup Senator.

  • Gabriel

    I would really like to find out the exact numbers on how many people Durbin has talked to who were ACTUALLY born in DC. 92% of the people I know (I actually counted) in DC since moving here four years ago from eastern Maryland are not from DC or even the surrounding area, and the vast majority I've met who are from here are not the kinds of people a Senator runs into during his daily, privileged life.

  • Kamantha

    Maybe his constituents need to keep him in Illinois, then he wont be so annoyed by DC residents!

  • KCinDC

    Hey, Senator Durbin, did we call Chicagoans wimpy in 1995, when they couldn't handle some hot weather and hundreds of people died because they didn't have air conditioning?

  • Rick Mangus


  • epicdcsnow

    his generalization of DC residents was in poor taste. guess people in illinois will vote in any old bigot. and fyi . . . most people in DC are from somewhere else . . . like you stupid.

  • RobShaw

    Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL),

    Your comments today were nothing more than a cheap shot at the over half of a million District of Columbia residents that live and work within arms reach of a Congress that does not allow them a proper vote.

    Your being here since 1963 (according to your comments) does not make you an expert in local District climatology, nor does it make you even alive the last time this area had record snowfall, which was in 1899.

    You acknowledge that " fairness this has been a heck of a snowstorm ... You had every right to be concerned.' Why thank you! I'm so glad a native Illinoisan has conferred upon us the right to freak out. Moreover, comparing our reaction to a 'nuclear attack' is simply ludicrous; if this were a nuclear attack we would all be dead. Your Illinoisan constituents would be the people "freaking out."

    Let me delve into behavior a bit more. According to the NOAA, the 50-year average for Washington-Reagan Airport is 16.6 inches of snow. The 1899 record was over 50 inches. This month's activity broke that record. So yes, it's a bit more of that white fluffy stuff you northerners like to "snow" then we are used to seeing. But that's not at all, the city of Chicago reportedly (the Huffington Post) says the snow budget is $17 million. The District of Columbia has $6 million and has already exceeded it thanks to this February's snowfall. Let's go one step further, according to NOAA the 43 year average snowfall in Chicago is 38.5 inches (DC exceeded that too, and we're on a oceanic coast and a lower latitude).

    According to these budgets, Chicago spent almost $450,000 per average inch of snow. The District of Columbia spent $308,000.

    Finally I will offer you a piece of advice, if you are not willing to help the problem, then you are merely a part of the problem. You have over $2.7 million in campaign financing as of the end of 2009 - perhaps you would be gracious enough to donate some of that money to the District so that your employees can get back to work and stop freaking out?

    Oh yes, I particularly find it interesting that some of your fellow Illinoisans, who enjoy the opportunity to have an elected representative and senator with the right to vote on legislation affecting their communities, were discouraged from exercising their voting rights. What could have discouraged them? Not a nuclear attack as it turns out, but snow.

    Kindly yours,

  • KOBE

    NEVER NEW or would'a thunk it, A PENIS MEASURING CONTEST OVER SNOWFALL, these politicians can't be serious?? If I feel this way then rest assured world wide leaders (who ride camels, fly hawks, smoke hooka) are snickering at these PUSSEEZ, pun intended!!

  • KOBE


  • trey

    Senator Durbin REALLY! D.C. does not have the equipment. When was the last time D.C. received this much snow! O.k. so let's invest all the money in the snow equipment to handle something like this again however, at what cost to a cash strapped city, like most American cities! Senator Durbin concentrate on fixing the problem with the country and less on Washington D.C. Senator Durbin if you spent as much time to come up with a speech being critical of the people of D.C. solving the countries problems we would not have any problems. Concentrate on your job and less on being critical of a city that is doing the best job given the resources provide.

  • Keith Jarrell

    DC doesn't have the oversight and management skills to over see the operators our there doing the work. Thus we have excuses! The management of this snow fall combined with the one just before it is stifling at best.
    Roads are not only clear but DRY down near the convention center with the snow actually moved via dump trucks.
    Yet in the neighborhoods, residents continue to struggle. Let's just hope the frustrations continue into the primary season.....

  • Ward4Resident

    Oh, for the love of god! Newsflash, Durbin - DC/MD/VA is a temperate, mid-Atlantic climate. We do not get harsh winter weather and therefore do not have the infrastructure, equipment, or budget to deal with snow. So, yes, we do freak out a little when we get a heavy snow because we know it can mean being stuck at home for several days. DC, Montgomery County, Arlington, etc - none of these jurisdictions have an ample snow budget, nor should they! Planning for a snow event like the one we just had would be financially irresponsible, as such events happen in 100-year intervals. People all need to relax, stay put, and recognize the hard work that all our local transportation departments are doing to clear the roads. If people can telework, please do so and stay off the roads until things are back to normal.

  • Truth Hurts

    Hey CP, fix your City Desk site so people other than Sherlock Holmes can easily get to recent blogs. The new system sucks.

  • james v.

    I think people are missing the point. Dick is absolutely right! People here get so bent out of shape at a little snow, and demand it be gone in a day so they can go to Starbucks, and will lash out and complain if it is not (see examiner op-ed from Th). He isn't dissing the city per se, but pointing out that people here are not used to real snow, and seem to have completely unreasonable expectations for the aftermath. He is saying "chill!"

  • durbinrocks

    durbin ALSO said (which CP left out) that the 25 inches WAS a big snowfall.

    he's talking about how SCHOOLS ARE CANCELED TOMORROW (tuesday, 2/16) and there isn't a bloody snowflake on the ground. OMG there MIGHT be 2-4 inches...quick, cancel school.

    that's what he's referring to and he's 100% right.

    I grew up 3 hours north in PA and it's totally embarrassing how they poop their pants over 2-7 inches here. a foot, sure, that's a lot. 2 feet- no argument, that's a sh***load. but anything under about 6-7 inches you don't need to buy 4 loaves of bread. you aint' getting snowed in for a week. jeeeeezus. relax DC peeps.

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