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Tag Archives: Hurricane Sandy

Six Reasons to Care About Obama’s Trip to Asbury Park

President Obama travels to Asbury Park, New Jersey today. Here’s why you should care:

1. It’s good that he’s doing it

Yes, there is a legitimate reason for this trip. New Jersey suffered badly from the hit it took from Hurricane Sandy, and the president ought to go and show the nation’s concern and see how all those federal tax dollars are being spent.

But there are other reasons too.

2. Obama gets to portray himself has above the fray

Let’s face, like much of what Obama does, this trip is also about Obama. It’s gonna make him look good amid the scandals plaguing his administration. While those supposed Nattering Nabobs of Negativism, the Republicans, carry on with their investigations, Mr. Obama is out being photographed and videotaped showing the nation is compassion and leadership.

3. A chance to change the conversation

Maybe, just maybe, the White House calculates, a day at the beach will give reporters something else to talk about other than the IRS, Benghazi, and assaults on freedom of the press.

4.  Obesity

Today you will an opportunity to see how Chris Christie is doing with his post-lapband surgery weight loss program!

5. Political payback.

You get to witness the weird sight of a Democratic president paying back one of the leading contenders for the GOP presidential nomination for his help in getting him reelected president.

While Christie’s man-bro embrace of Obama just days before the 2012 election no doubt helped Obama politically, today’s rekindling of the love affair aids Christie in his upcoming reelection battle as the GOP governor gets a day at the beach with a Democratic president popular in the blue state.

Meanwhile, it wasn’t clear even a few days ago that Obama would speak at all to Christie’s likely opponent, Democratic State Sen. Barbara Buono. Turns out she’ll get a meeting before the photo ops begin.

6. Greetings from Asbury Park!

Just say it, Mr. President. And tell Mr. Christie, I came for you, for you, I came for you .
. .

Chris Christie and the American Gimme Culture

Gosh, you know, I hate to sound ungenerous, but is anyone else put off by the sight of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stomping up and down, pounding the floor and demanding, Where’s my $60 billion?

Now listen. The New York City and New Jersey area – that’s my hometown. I have relatives there who were severely affected by Hurricane Sandy. People have suffered tragedies from which they will never really recover. I want the area to get help as much as anyone.

Please put $60 billion under the tree, douchebag.
Please put $60 billion under the tree, douchebag.

And I think emergency disaster aid is a correct use of federal resources. Americans ride to the rescue of their brethren in other parts of the country when tragedy strikes, and the federal government, in addition to private charity, is a useful means of doing this

But requests for other’s people’s money – and lots of it – should be made with some sense of humility. Assuming an adult population in the United States of about 250 million, $60 billion means every man and woman in the nation will be spending $240 to help out New Jersey and the rest of the region that was devastated by the hurricane.

And that doesn’t include interest, since the government is out of money and we’ll have to pay the going rate in Beijing to borrow this.

But in the Gimme Culture that President Obama is nurturing with his vast new federal programs and outlays, people – even Republican people – think less and less like this. They just assume money is coming from somewhere to help them out, whether that means digging them out from a natural catastrophe, helping them go to college, or granting them years worth of unemployment benefits.

Is it really so callous to ask if New Jersey has a rainy day fund and, if not, why not?

What’s more, Dan Henninger writes in today’s Wall Street Journal that FEMA’s effort to assist New Jersey is actually funded until spring. The money which the House has not yet approved – but surely will – is to get New Jersey through the rest of 2013 and beyond.

Christie says hurricane relief should be beyond politics. But as he savages the unpopular House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner as shameful misanthropes who are “to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims,” it’s worth asking: who exactly is playing politics – the House GOP or the Republican governor running for reelection in a Bright Blue state?

Christie already has raised $2 million for his gubernatorial campaign. How about, if we’re setting politics aside, we start with that money as a down payment on the funding to come?

And after getting reelected, everyone knows where Christie thinks he’s headed. If the Gimme Culture one day actually pervades a Republican White House, then you’ll know it’s here to stay.

Obama Headed to New York Next Week

President Obama Thursday will visit “the New York City area” to get a first hand look at the failure of government to provide adequate power, food, and gasoline to the battered city in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Well, the White House puts it a little differently:

On Thursday, the President will travel to the New York City area, to view the storm damage, talk with citizens who are recovering from the storm and thank first responders who put their lives at risk to protect their communities.

Obama has largely avoided the media outrage that attended George W. Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina.

Obama staged a pre-Election Day photo op at the Jersey shore with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie before the full extent of the wreckage and suffering became apparent.

The president’s appearance – featuring slobbering thank you’s from Christie – set up a storyline that FEMA is responding briskly and successfully to the hurricane, a notion that stuck in people’s minds through Election Day and has helped insulate Obama from outrage.

George W. Bush, who failed to visit New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina – partly out of concern he might interfere with the rescue effort – never recovered from charges that he was inattentive to the crisis.

Obama Refuses to Answer About Storm Victims’ Frustrations

President Obama this morning ignored a reporter’s question about the mounting frustration victims of Hurricane Sandy are having with the response to the storm, refusing to let a question from the press interrupt a FEMA photo op in which he was on display taking action.

An excerpt rom the press pool report, which starts with a quote from Obama:

“There is nothing more important than us getting this right. And we’re going to spend as much time, effort and energy as necessary to make sure all the people of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut know that the entire country is behind them in this difficult recovery effort.”

He spoke for about five minutes. Pool asked about frustrations of people, particularly Staten Island. He did not respond.

No doubt aware of the political perils – and potential benefits – of the fallout from the hurricane, Obama arrived at FEMA with multiple members of his Cabinet in tow in a massive display of presidential concern. Even Cabinet secretaries you wouldn’t expect to be involved in hurricane relief – such as the Secretary of Labor and the Small Business Administration Administrator – have been enlisted and were at this morning’s meeting.

Obama’s effort will indeed have some practical effect – anytime a president shows he is personally engaged in an issue, it helps get the various agencies involved into a higher gear.

But with scenes of devastation proliferating on voters’ TV screens around the nation and evidence mounting of an insufficient response, Obama obviously felt he had to be seen at FEMA for a second time this week before heading back out to campaign.

After the visit to FEMA, Obama departed for Ohio.

Obama Starting to Get Soaked by the Hurricane

Forget all the photo ops President Obama staged with Chris Christie. A new batch of images is on the way.

Obama has declared FEMA ready, and Christie said the federal response had been terrific. But just as it took a few days after Hurricane Katrina to see the true devastation and the insufficiency of the response in New Orleans, the reality of Hurricane Sandy for New York and New Jersey is now sinking in.

I can’t say whether or not FEMA or local officials did the best the could under the circumstances. I can say that what Americans are seeing now and will continue to see are scenes of abject devastation right here in the United States of America, and bewildered victims wondering where the help they were promised is.

Reuters today summed up the peril for the person in charge, Obama:

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Deputy Administrator Richard Serino planned to visit Staten Island on Friday amid angry claims by some survivors that the borough had been ignored.

Scenes of angry storm victims could complicate matters for politicians, from President Barack Obama just four days before the general election, to governors and mayors in the most heavily populated region in the United States. Obama so far has received praise for his handling of Sandy.

“They forgot about us,” said Theresa Connor, 42, describing her Staten Island neighborhood as having been “annihilated.” “And (Mayor Michael) Bloomberg said New York is fine. The marathon is on!”

Adding to heated tempers, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut drivers were also confronting a shortage of gasoline. Even before dawn on Friday, long lines of cars snaked around gasoline stations around the area, and police were in place at many spots to keep the peace between furious, frustrated drivers.

While the slight rise in the unemployment rate may not on its own have much impact on the election, a synergy may develop between the enduring joblessness, the metastasizing questions about Benghazi, and the struggle for subsistence playing out on cable TV to give Americans the sense that the country is in really bad shape.

Which it is.

Chris Christie Should “Give a Damn” About Election Day

“I don’t give a damn about Election Day,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says. Well, he damn well should. Yes, even right now.

We all should, Democrats and Republicans. Especially those whose homes have been damaged or destroyed. Because whatever philosophy you hold, if you do hold a philosophy, you have to believe that Election Day 2012 will make a huge difference with respect to whether people in this nation are going to thrive.

The hurricane is a tragedy. But it will pass, and people will heal. But the choice in this election between an arch liberal and someone who – whatever his core beliefs – will likely govern as a conservative will affect people’s lives for decades. Even in New Jersey.

Republicans have every right to be repelled by the sight of Christie giving man hug after man hug to President Obama. He should thank the president if he believes he has done a good job. But his effusive praise just days before the election will only serve to help Obama’s reelection effort.

It’s not going to make a bit of difference for the people of New Jersey if Christie slobbers over Obama. The assistance to the state has been set in motion, and Obama’s not going to take it back just because he feels Chris Christie doesn’t love him enough.

Let me share some of the love with you.

This helps Obama enormously. Christie is not just complementing Obama – something Obama may merit in this case – but he is practically serving up a campaign ad for the president. What’s more, he’s helping wipe away Obama’s well deserved reputation for being unable to work in a bipartisan manner, one of the things Gov. Mitt Romney is vowing to fix.

And make no mistake, Christie, who will face a tough reelection bid next year, also benefits. Here he is, the governor of a Blue State, working hand in hand with the Great Hero of the Blue States. Meanwhile, Christie is enhancing his image as the “non-politician” who cares only about the people. Christie may be giving the finger to Election Day 2012, but not to Election Day 2013.

Christie should remember that he was given a great gift by Romney, the role of keynote speaker at the Republican convention. It’s a role Obama used to launch himself into the White House. If Christie wants to place himself and his state above the presidential election, he shouldn’t have involved himself in it.

Christie sneers at “politics,” but politics is about what types of lives people are going to have. Including the people of New Jersey. And whether he can mentally accept it or not, Christie is a politician.

Obama Makes Surprise Visit to FEMA

Um, I’m sorry, I said below that President Obama’s campaigning would resume Thursday. It actually resumed this morning.

Obama today suddenly materialized at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington, where he interfered with everyone’s work received an update on progress addressing the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

What is there he will do at FEMA that he can’t do at the White House? He’s already using the Situation Room to monitor the disaster – now he can talk on a secure line with the mayor of Ocean City – so presumably he can get everyone on a video screen he needs.

What he can do at FEMA that he can’t do at the White House is get a photo of himself taken at FEMA. Which is exactly what he did. Reporters were not invited to witness him being urgently briefed on urgent matters, but somehow, the photographers were escorted right in.

What’s more – could this possibly be a coincidence?? – Romney is currently under fire for supposedly suggesting FEMA should be eliminated. Which he didn’t. But Obama not only loves FEMA, he is in the building.

Gosh, I sure hope they poll-tested his trip to FEMA before sending him there.

Obama to Resume Campaigning Thursday

President Obama will get back on the campaign trail Thursday, once again turning from a crisis to the nation’s gambling mecca, Las Vegas. As he did on Sept. 12, the day after the attack on the embassy in Benghazi, Obama will pivot from grave presidential duties – in this case his tour today of the… Continue Reading