“It’s been very good working with the President. He and his Administration have been coordinating with us. It’s been wonderful.”
– New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, about President Obama, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“I want to just let you know that your governor is working overtime to make sure that, as soon as possible, everybody can get back to normal.”
– President Obama, about Governor Christie.
Humor in the face of catastrophe is sometimes the best thing.
“One thing he’s gonna be asked is, why did he jump on [the hurricane] so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in…Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas? Why was this so quick?… At some point, somebody’s going to ask that question…. This is like the inverse of Benghazi.”
– Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, criticizing President Obama’s rapid response to Hurricane Sandy as opposed to his alleged dismal response to the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Syria last month.
Brown was head of FEMA when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in August 2005, and of course, we all know what a stellar job he did with that mess. Aside from the blatant mendacity in claiming Obama reacted “too fast” to Hurricane Sandy, dragging the Benghazi attack into the debacle is the epitome of partisanship. But, I would expect nothing less arrogant and disrespectful from a Bush appointee.
“The president has been all over this, and he deserves great credit. He gave me his number at the White House and told me to call him if I needed anything, and he absolutely means it. It’s been very good working with the president and his administration. It’s been wonderful.”
– New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, praising President Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy Tuesday morning.
Abrasive and controversial, Christie doesn’t offer quaint platitudes, which makes him a favorite of the Republican Party. But, during times of crisis, politics has no place.
After Hurricane Sandy’s long trek up the eastern seaboard of the United States, the New England area is just beginning to assess and clean up the extensive damage. The Category 1 storm made landfall in southern New Jersey late Monday, the 29th, and quickly collapsed into a sub-tropical cyclone. Categories aside, this is already proving to be several times worst than last year’s Irene. Sandy collided with an arctic hurricane that swept down from the north to create something of a super-system, or what some called a “Frankenstorm,” an obvious reference to Halloween. But, some 8 million people are without power from West Virginia to New York. Thus far, authorities have recorded 43 fatalities directly related to the storm. New York’s financial district is scheduled to reopen tomorrow morning after being closed these past two days. Now, cold weather is moving into the region and could hamper recovery. As always, please think of the victims and their families.
Stone Street in Lower Manhattan.
Water inundating a PATH station in Hoboken, NJ.
F.D.R. Drive in New York City by Houston Street.
A building in New York City on 8th Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets with the entire front blown off.
Greenwich Village in Manhattan.
Plymouth Street in Brooklyn.
Atlantic City, NJ.
People stood in line for gasoline along Route 35 in New Jersey.
Residents were evacuated from their homes in Little Ferry, NJ.
Workers pumped water from the subway in Lower Manhattan.
A child was rescued from flooding on Staten Island.
Residents survey fire damage in Breezy Point, Queens.
Firefighters put out a fire in Rockaway Park, Queens.
In Breezy Point, more than 80 homes were reduced to ash.
Downtown Manhattan on Tuesday.
Manhattan streets lit mainly by headlights.
A flooded tunnel leading to F.D.R. Drive in New York City.
In Connecticut, 3 people are confirmed dead and 615,000 are without power.
Cars piled up in floodwaters at a garage near Wall Street.
A fallen tree in the Battery Park neighborhood of Manhattan.
Thank goodness for Hurricane Sandy! It’s provided some respite from the ongoing presidential campaigns. That a major tropical storm system could strike New England just before Halloween is news enough – without the inevitable destruction and loss of life. We have eight more days until election day here in the U.S., and Sandy could provide a twisted sort of the proverbial “October surprise.”
If it’s bad enough, both President Obama and Mitt Romney may not be anywhere near Washington, D.C. Obama could hunker down at his Chicago abode, while Romney could seek refuge in one of his many estates. Their responses to the disaster will prove what they really think of the American people. Obama most likely won’t stay in Chicago; he’ll want to head back to Washington to coordinate recovery efforts. I suspect Romney will take the traditional conservative Republican stance and just let New Englanders fend for themselves. After all, that’s been the mantra of his campaign; if you don’t have enough money in your bank account or drive a couple of Cadillacs, then you’re not worth saving.
Aside from November 7 being the birthday of one of my closest friends and former colleagues, it’ll be the first day after the elections and thus, the end of this campaign season. I got tired of this crap – oh – I’ll say around July 1. Political campaigns here in the U.S. are never-ending – like Thanksgiving turkey, deep space and the Harry Potter series. They just go on and on and on.
I suppose it’s inevitable in a truly democratic society. But, as a frequent, dedicated, tax-paying voter who’s experiencing firsthand the worst this dismal economy has to offer, I have some advice for all would-be candidates.
- Focus on what good you’ve done for your respective communities. In other words, run on your record, for God’s sakes! If you don’t have much of a record, then don’t run for public office! That’s like a high school graduate applying for an engineering position at NASA. You don’t have to walk on water, or even build homes for the impoverished (although the latter would be more practical and appealing), but show us something positive. What have you done for us?
- Stop, or at least limit, the negative ads. If you have to point out the adverse traits of your opponent instead of highlighting your positive attributes, then you don’t have much of a campaign. Karl Rove had to do that with George W. Bush. Bush was such a lame-ass that the only way the ignorant masses could be convinced to vote for him (other than because of their ignorance) was for the opposition to be demonized. The 2004 presidential campaign is a perfect example. There was nothing good about Bush’s tenure in office at that point. He couldn’t prove that he’d completed his stint in the Texas National Guard, and no one had found the elusive “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. So the Rove goblins questioned John Kerry’s military record and made him out to be indecisive; e.g. a “flip-flopper.” It didn’t help that Kerry tried to take the high road, which was like Albert Einstein trying to explain quantum physics to Ron Jeremy. I wasn’t too crazy about Kerry anyway, but look at the mess we ended up with as Bush left office.
- Stop saying, ‘I promise to do .’ Instead, say something like, ‘I promise to cooperate with , or to do my best to accomplish .’ Every political candidate – especially those for the presidency – promises massive changes without realizing this not a dictatorship, or even an oligarchy. There are 3 branches of government, and they have to work with one another. Think We Are the World, or better yet, I Want to Teach the World to Sing. I suppose that’s a bit much to ask from grown people with Mount Everest-size egos. Merely promising to do your best goes a long way. Most people are smart enough to understand that an elected official – even the President of the United States – can’t do everything alone. I mean, William H. Taft’s wife, Helen, once answered the doorbell to the White House, and Harry Truman used to wash his own socks. Either way people won’t be too disappointed when an elected official can’t get X, Y and Z done – which is one reason why the American people should blame the Republicans in Congress for keeping things screwed up. They won’t work with Obama. But, that’s a different essay.
People are always glad to see election season come to an end. Yes, the candidates are tired, but so are we. Our elected officials don’t seem to get it sometimes. I’m still unemployed and have massive student debt to pay off. I don’t care about gay marriage; don’t want to hear your definition of when life begins; don’t want too much of our tax dollars go to treat diseases in foreign countries where people should have figured out by now that having sex with a virgin doesn’t cure AIDS. I want to see some real action in Washington – and not on the dance floor. I want to see our elected officials handing out water bottles after Sandy hits.