Hurricane Sandy Saved Obama from Himself
by Jonah Goldberg
November 05, 2012 12:00 AM | 1693 views | 1 1 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If President Obama had the time for some introspection on the campaign trail, he might take offense at all the media speculation (and in many cases wishful thinking gussied up as speculation) that his response to Hurricane Sandy will give him the edge going into Election Day.

In effect, people are saying: “Obama is doing the minimum requirements of his job, what a game-changer!”

Now, one could quibble about whether he’s really doing what a president should. He’s handing out a bunch of checks, which is warranted, but he has staff to do that. Moreover, presidential photo ops at disaster sites aren’t all that helpful. In his remarks Wednesday, the president thanked some local politicians and told people to visit the FEMA website, if they have electricity. The imperative for him to be the one delivering that message is no doubt obvious to all.

Still, the conventional wisdom is probably right that acting presidential during a crisis helps Obama politically. And it’s probably true that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s praise of Obama is helping at the margins too. Though it’s probably helping most in New Jersey, where Obama would win anyway — and with the D.C. press corps, which loves both stories of bipartisanship and stories that help Obama.

But if this tragic natural disaster is boosting the president in any meaningful way, it’s not because of any of that.

Before I go on, let me say that like most people, I find the scoring of natural disasters for their political impact distasteful. But it’s also unavoidable. Politics is about the conduct of politicians and how they allocate taxpayer-funded resources. James Lee Witt, Bill Clinton’s FEMA director, was inadvertently insightful when he said, “Disasters are very political events.”

That said, to the extent that Hurricane Sandy is a boon to Obama it’s because the storm saved him from himself.

During the weeks leading up to the storm, the president, vice president and the Obama campaign were being, to use a family friendly term, jerks.

The president in particular was acting like he was auditioning for Keith Olbermann’s old time slot at MSNBC.

In the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney said he didn’t think it made sense to borrow millions from China to subsidize public television, including the immensely profitable outfit that owns Big Bird.

Obama’s response was to mock Romney for his war on Big Bird, insinuating in ads and condescending rants (often punctuated by Obama laughing at his own jokes) that Romney thinks Big Bird is the source of all of our problems. Anyone who watched the debate knew that Obama was being both petty and dishonest.

In the second presidential debate, Romney inartfully explained that as a newly elected governor of Massachusetts, he did exactly what liberals and Democrats should have wanted him to do: go out of his was to find qualified women for top jobs. “And so we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our Cabinet,” Romney explained. “I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks?’ And they brought us whole binders full of women.”

Instead of conservatives fretting over this nod to identity-politics bean counting, we saw liberals, egged on by the president, freaking out over the word “binders” as if it meant, well, something funny, important and damning about Romney. After all, we know that real leaders organize their documents in file folders, not filthy, stinking, yucky binders.

At the end of an interview with Rolling Stone, an editor there told Obama that his 6-year-old daughter had a message for the president “Tell him: You can do it.” Instead of replying with an aw-shucks thank you, Obama immediately snapped back with a remark about how little kids can tell Romney’s a “bullsh*tter.”

I know what you’re thinking: Classy. Presidential. High-minded.

The irony, I think, is that the president was projecting a label better applied to himself, and voters were catching on to it in ways they hadn’t before, even when he promised to make the oceans heel to his command.

I still expect the president to fail in his bid to be re-elected. But if he squeaks by, it just might be because he was saved from himself — by the very oceans he failed to conquer.

Jonah Goldberg is the author of the new book “The Tyranny of Clichés.”
Comments-icon Post a Comment
stan chaz
November 05, 2012
Hurricane Sandy has done of us all a favor-

by causing us to focus on Romney's skewed thinking:

Consider Romney’s advice for storm & disaster survivors:

"Don’t be a victim, and stop looking for handouts!"

And.... ask your parents for help!

Heck, Romney will dismantle FEMA and the EPA

(= more $$$ for his people/corporations).

Leave it to the states, he says.

Yeah, sure. The damage from Katrina was FOUR times Louisiana’a state budget!

Maybe Romney will make us dams.... out of his used Etch-A-Sketches?

What we need is a tidal wave.......of voters.....

to sweep these kind of guys out of power.

THAT is the BEST way to help the victims of present and future Sandys.

...AND ....the best way to help yourself, and your family.

Obama does not dismiss 47% of America like Romney.

Obama says: This is not a Republican America.

This is not a Democratic America.

This is the UNITED States of America.

p.s. This is not mere rhetoric. For in many ways, Mitt Romney's opposition to federal disaster relief programs is what the election is all about. President Barack Obama supports using government to help those in a crisis get back on their feet. Mitt Romney believes that government has no role in helping people who are dealing with disaster. Those two very different views of America's future are on the ballot next week. Your choice. Choose well. Choose as if your life depended on it.

Because some just might.

We know from Mitt's values (or lack of them) that he's not a Christian.

But heck, he's not even a Mormon. Come on Mitt, let’s be honest:


And your saints are those who have the most money

..... those who want to BUY this ELECTION - and this COUNTRY

......and TO HELL with the rest of us.

They try to drown us out with their dollars.

But WE still have a voice. And it’s called our VOTE.

We need a President for ALL the people -

NOT a President of the wealthy, by the wealthy,

and for the wealthy. And for sure, that ain’t you Mitt.....

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