Hurricane Sandy Provides Moment of Leadership for President Obama
Americans are now beginning to pick up the pieces following the devastation left by hurricane Sandy. The storm brought a reality check to the nation and put on pause the bitter politics of both the Obama and Romney campaigns. The Super storm affected some 24 states from Florida to New England. Tropical storm force winds stretched far inland and produced snow that covered parts of West Virginia. New York was hit by a severe storm surge causing flooding in lower Manhattan’s subway lines. Power outages and damage costs are expected to be upwards to $50 billion dollars, according to IHS Global Insight. The costs are expected to have little impact on the federal budget or deficit.
New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, clearly focused on the humanitarian costs when he stated, “I appreciated the president’s outreach today in making sure that we know he’s watching this and is concerned about the health and welfare and safety of the people of the State of New Jersey.”
Hurricane Sandy did bring into focus what leadership looks like during a national crisis. The president halted campaigning, visited the affected areas and assured citizens that help was forthcoming. Republicans will likely play down the president’s role by implying that he’s only doing his job, but Americans know, based on the Katrina experience, that doing one’s job is not always that simple.
The campaign rhetoric will likely pick up as Election Day nears. This is a time when America’s need for leadership, compassion and steadfastness could not be greater and the choice more clear.
The Editors of the “New Yorker” magazine believe they got it right when they said, “The choice is clear. The Romney-Ryan ticket represents a constricted and backward-looking vision of America: the privatization of the public good. In contrast, the sort of public investment championed by Obama – and exemplified by both the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Affordable Care Act — takes to heart the old civil-rights motto “Lifting as we climb.” That effort cannot, by itself, reverse the rise of inequality that has been under way for at least three decades. But we’ve already seen the future that Romney represents, and it doesn’t work.Continued on the next page