Hurricane Sandy has been turned into a political issue, but not in the way we might have expected. What I expected was that Democrats both in political office and the media would take the advice of Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel (and Obama’s former Chief of Staff): “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Specifically, I thought the storm would yield to hysterical cries once again from the left that we need to renew and refocus our efforts on climate change or global warming, whatever it is they’re calling it these days. Because hurricanes are anomalies only of the modern era, I guess. Give it time, though; global warming will be on the front pages of newspapers in a few weeks.
Meanwhile, both presidential contenders have halted campaign stops along the East Coast so that if any Americans die from the wind and rain, they won’t be seen as heartless and insensitive. A wise choice from both Obama and Romney.
But Obama’s decision in particular to head back to Washington and give a press conference was celebrated yesterday afternoon by Martin Bashir on MSNBC, who said, “If there’s one thing we’ve learned about this President, it’s that he’s strong and steadfast in times of crisis.” Apparently Bashir’s mind has blocked out the disastrously mishandled oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two and a half years ago. Either that, or he believes attending fundraisers at the homes of oil executives while the Gulf gushes, as Obama did, is an example of “strong and steadfast” leadership.
Bashir also seemed to take a swipe at Mitt Romney’s faith and his promise to shrink the size of government, saying that under a Romney administration, “the private sector and prayer” will replace FEMA.
And prognostications abound that Hurricane Sandy could dismantle Obama’s efforts to get re-elected. It is obvious to me that these hypotheses are being made in order to get the foundation laid out for a narrative as to why Obama lost if he does indeed lose. Sandy will be one of many scapegoats in order to avoid placing blame for Obama’s loss on his policies.
But this theory also ignores the fact that if the hurricane does affect voters at all, and unless Republicans are waterproof, it would affect voters for both candidates. The difference is that if Romney loses, Republicans will not be so delusional as to blame the weather.