Sunday, August 28, 2011
Hypocrisy In Action - Obama And The Hurricane of Hype
Much is being made of President Obama for cutting short his highly expensive vacation on Martha's Vineyard to 'take command' during Hurricane Irene's nudge of the East Coast.
Based on some of what I'm seeing from his allies in the press, they'd like to see him get the Medal of Honor for simply doing what is normally part of a president's job description.
As various news outlets mentioned, it was the president's political advisers who suggested that it would be prudent for him to cut short his five star stay at the Vineyard ( which already wasn't polling well in a country wracked by recession and unemployment) to be in DC to deal with Hurricane Irene. With the rain promising poor weather for golf and boating, the president obviously thought it best to comply and turn yet another crisis into an opportunity.
Unfortunately, Irene didn't exactly live up to expectations. Most New Yorkers simply laughed at Mayor Bloomberg's shrill orders to evacuate, with even the denizens of some nursing homes and residents of low lying areas like Coney Island and Rockaway telling the mayor 'faggeddaboudit'.
Residents of Florida and the Carolinas who had actually lived through real hurricanes giggled a the dinosaur media's earnest reports of deadly 35 MPH winds, and the Atlantic City casinos announced business as usual come Monday.
In the end Irene was classified a s category 1 'hurricane' one step above a garden variety tropical storm. It amounted to a heavy rainstorm, minor damage in some harbor areas, some flooding, some power outages and yes, a few deaths, most of them caused by falling trees or tree limbs, fallen live wires or by traffic accidents linked to things like traffic signals going dead because of the power outages.
Not nothing, but hardly the apocalypse.
President Obama was indeed present, although after a careful look I can't find any mention of his actually doing anything besides making a few statements in that hopey-changey baritone of his. But before we start passing out medals, let's take a look back to see how how President Obama has dealt with similar emergencies in the past.
For instance, shortly after President Obama was elected, there was a major ice storm in Kentucky in 2009 that took out the power, blocked roads and cost the lives of 54 people, many of them children and senior citizens. At least a million Americans were without power or heat in the dead of winter, and President Obama and FEMA were nowhere to be found for over a week, after a number of fatalities had occurred. I particularly remember that during this period, the president was mainly concerned with his Superbowl party in his toasty warm office. How about 'Obama dozed and the people froze' for a slogan?
Then there were the horrendous Nashville floods of May 2010 that left whole parts of the city underwater, led to a number of deaths when people were trapped by the rising waters and caused well over a billion dollars in damages. Not only was President Obama nowhere to be found, he didn't even feel that disaster merited a mention.
In September of 2010, Tropical Storm Hermine tore through North Texas, leaving eight dead, over 200 homes destroyed and thousands of citizens without water or electricity. Governor Rick Perry made a formal request to the president to declare North Texas a disaster area and get FEMA involved.President Obama simply denied his request, which meant Texas got no FEMA aid whatsoever.
And then of course, there was the Gulf Oil Spill, and the almost farcical delay of the Obama Administration to do anything about it for weeks. When even a Democrat-for-life like James Carville starts screeching at you on national TV to get off your behind and do something, you know there's a problem.
Actually, to be fair, the president did do something. After delaying any response at all for weeks, he finally ordered the shut down of dredging protective sand berms designed to keep the oil off the coasts after Governor Jindall got tired of waiting for authorization and went ahead and authorized dredging the sand berms on his own to try and protect Louisiana's coastline and fishing industry. And there was a lot of behind the scenes action. I'm still wondering what ultimately happened to that $20 billion dollar escrow account 'controlled by a third party' that the president extorted out of BP.
Now, all this leads us to another question....why is the president so anxious to appear to be 'in command' of Hurricane Irene after essentially ignoring all these other disasters?
There's a one word answer - politics.
President Obama, like the fictional Mayor Joe Quimby of Simpson's fame has an aide whispering in his ear 'elections are coming up.' And that makes all the difference.It's what he cares about, his entire frame of reference.
Another difference worth noting is that the four incidents I mentioned involved Red states - Kentucky, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama - all states the president is fairly unpopular in and has little or no chance of ever carrying.
Now Irene, which affected those eastern seaboard Blue states like New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Connecticut and carried in 2008 and states he needs to carry again to have any chance of winning. And they're also a rich source of donations for Obama's re-election campaign. Rest assured that those Blue states will get all of the president's attention and the FEMA aid they need.
So much for this president being the president of all the people.
It's one thing to disagree with someone's politics. It's quite another to find his actions and his sense of himself despicable on almost a daily basis.