Saturday, November 3, 2012

I'm really impressed with the way Obama has handled Sandy.

I don't think any president is ever really prepared for a natural disaster to ravage the country, but Obama has handled Sandy with nothing but speed and grace. 

I'm sure that none of us need a refresher on the atrocious nature in which the Bush administration refused to deal with Katrina, but just in case, let us not forget that it took Bush four days to allocate any relief funding, four days in which people were stranded on the roofs of their homes without food, water, shelter, or medical attention, if they were lucky enough to still need such basic amenities. Let us not forget that during those four days, Bush was vacationing in Texas and then he flew over Katrina in Air Force One on his way back to DC, presumably so he could see the damage everyone was making such a fuss about for himself. Let us not forget that Dick Cheney literally tore power crews away from restoring power at two hospitals in New Orleans to make sure that the pipeline that carries gas from Texas to the Northeast wasn't interfered with--a wonderful display of federal priorities, if you ask me. Let us not forget that then-Secretary-of-State Condoleezza Rice went to see Spamalot on Broadway the night Katrina hit and spent the majority of the following day shopping in Manhattan. Let us not forget the one time I agreed with any public statement Kanye West made.

Character isn't created during moments of crisis--it is revealed. The things that actually matter and don't matter to our leaders become painfully clear. And I don't know about you, but I want to be secure in knowing that the people who are on the ground being affected by a crisis are at the top of our leaders' priority lists.

Enter Barack Obama. Enter "Superstorm Sandy," as she has come to be known, in the final days of his campaigning, another hurricane that hit this country worse than we were expecting. Cut to Barack personally calling Cory Booker, mayor of Newark and one of my favorite politicians in the history of ever, at 12:30 in the morning to talk with him about the crisis when the entire city of Newark lost power.

Cut to Barack jumping in on a conference call with energy executives on Tuesday to remind them that "restoring power to the millions of Americans who lost electricity during Sandy is a top priority." Cut to Barack putting aside the party line and teaming up with Republican Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie to do on-the-ground touring of the destruction in New Jersey, of him holding distraught victims of the storm in his arms.

I've heard there are people in New York criticizing Obama for how long it's taking for Manhattan to get back together, but I think New York as a city--especially Manhattan--has enough resources to get itself back together. I'm glad to see Obama in middle-of-nowhere small-town New Jersey where people are expected to be without power for weeks. What does him calling Booker or talking to the energy execs really do, some critics ask. Well, I can tell you what it does for me, someone lucky enough to be in the path of the storm but not really damaged by it--ironic as this may be, it gives me hope. It makes me feel safe. There is literally no way you can argue right now that Obama doesn't care about regular people living their everyday regular lives in everyday regular places. We matter to this man. We don't matter to the party that is criticizing him for responding too early, as if help has a strict timeline that starts with wait-and-see.

My vote for Obama-Biden is already in the mail. Today is the last day for early voting most places around the country, so I suggest you put your shoes on, grab your ID/voter registration card, and get thee to the polls. Regular everyday people are counting on you.

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