IS THIS THE OCTOBER SURPRISE?
From the Washington Post:
Storm provides Obama with a commander-in-chief moment
For a day at least, Hurricane Sandy appears to have done for President Obama what he has not been able to do for himself.
In a campaign notable mostly for its negativity, the historic storm provided Obama with a commander-in-chief moment a week before Election Day. The president gained a rare moment of bipartisan praise, with Democratic and Republican governors alike commending the performance of the federal government. And the storm put on pause, for now, the sense that rival Mitt Romney had all the momentum in the home stretch.
And from AlterNet:
Mitt Blows it on Sandy: Did the Hurricane Just Cost Him the Election?
It’s impossible not to see that this storm has devastated Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy. The response to the hurricane has seemed like one long dramatic Obama campaign commercial, a lesson in “We’re all in this together,” while Romney, the man who said he’d dismantle FEMA, flails on the sidelines.
Romney’s “relief” event outside of Dayton, Ohio, was surreal enough to be a campaign parody, with the candidate comparing the federal government’s hurricane relief efforts to the time he and some friends had to clean up a football field strewn with “rubbish and paper products.” It was supposed to be a parable of how Republicans handle disaster – with private charity, not government intervention – as Romney told his audience, “It’s part of the American spirit, the American way, to give to people in need.” The Republican went on to talk about the time some Hurricane Katrina survivors were rerouted from Houston to Cape Cod and the good people of Cape Cod responded by donating food and, yes, television sets.
It's nice to see that establishment reporters at the Washington Post, as well as liberal commentators at AlterNet, are seeing what I was starting to see as Sandy was rolling through New York: in a crisis-means-opportunity way, all President Obama has to do is not fuck this up, and he's got the election.
I mean, really. If the stark ideological contrast between the two parties is one of bad government versus good government, there could be no better illustration of where the Democrats stand than a successful recovery operation on a massive scale less than a week before the election. That is, if FEMA does well, then the whole nation sees with its own eyes in real time that government isn't simply a potential force for good, but rather a profoundly necessary aspect of American existence. Of course, on the other hand, if they botch it, the GOP's got a whipping boy they can flog all the way to Tuesday. But I don't think that's going to happen.
If there's one word I would use to describe President Obama, it's "professional." To me, such a word isn't necessarily a good thing--professionalism is something that has driven the Democrats further and further to the right over the years, in terms of embracing corporate culture, and pushing the pragmatism of campaign funding over championing the poor and workers who are just trying to make ends meet. But professionalism also means being good at what you do, mastering the system in which you work, getting shit done. And Obama has definitely proven his professionalism in that way many times at this point.
That is, I think he's going to pull this off quite successfully. Another day at the office. Getting it done, just like he did when he whacked Bin Laden.
There are some things Romney could do to counter this to an extent, politically speaking. Part of it would be rolling up his sleeves and getting to work with the recovery effort in any way he can, with the cameras rolling. Part of it would be showing national unity by praising the President's efforts on this. But it's just too late--he's already chosen another path, continuing his campaign even while Obama has suspended his own, rhetorically emphasizing the private sector over the public sector when it comes to disasters, a dubious proposition from the get-go. And he's just got too much baggage to be able to pull what he pulled in the debates. The guy who proposed privatizing FEMA only last year just can't pull off an Etch-a-Sketch move under these circumstances: it's reporters asking the questions now, not a guy who's cautious about knockout punches for fear of not appearing to be "presidential."
I really think this is it. Hurricane Sandy just won the election for Obama. Thank you, God.
Thursday, November 01, 2012
IS THIS THE OCTOBER SURPRISE?
Posted by Ron at 2:24 AM