I’m wondering, was Hurricane Isaac spun up by Obama’s political operation? Are these people that good?
Okay, first of all, let’s pre-but all the accusations that I’m suggesting anyone is a monster. Or at least, that I’m suggesting they’re more of a monster than they actually are.
I don’t think anyone wants another hurricane to slam into the Gulf Coast. But if it has to happen, let’s face it, few natural disasters could politically benefit President Obama more.
Hurricane Isaac is going to hit New Orleans or close to it on exactly the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
I’m already seeing reporting suggesting a favorable contrast between Obama’s big government approach and the small government philosophy of George W. Bush, tying the latter to the crisis that engulfed New Orleans after the 2005 storm.
And both the storm and Obama’s reaction to it are distracting and will distract from the Romney-Paul coronation in Tampa, which, unfortunately for Republicans, is just a relative stone’s throw from New Orleans.
Every CNN story about Romney, for example, will be followed by video of wind-blown Anderson Cooper clinging for his life to a stop sign in New Orleans. Goodness knows, MSNBC may ignore Tampa altogether for the “human drama” developing in southern Louisiana.
Obama need do little more to benefit politically from all this than by being president. As president, he has no choice but to let the country know he is on top of the disaster, and I know he sincerely wants to ensure the response is as effective as possible.
But of course, his political advisers will be carefully choreographing and calibrating his every public move. And if they’re effective – and I know they will be – the press will be celebrating how “measured” his response is and how ardently he is trying to avoid seeming politically motivated.
Obama already appeared at the White House this morning to get the ball rolling on his public response, an appearance which indeed is something I’m confident he would have made under any circumstances.
But here’s the big question: What will he do Thursday?
The storm will hit the Gulf Coast late tonight or early Wednesday, inflicting its wrath during the day on the coast and parts directly inland during the lead up to Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech Wednesday night.
By Thursday, Isaac will be well inland, and the destruction it will have wrought on the coast will be evident, and response operations will be in full gear. Thursday night, Gov. Mitt Romney gives his acceptance speech.
There is absolutely no reason for Obama to go to Louisiana on Thursday. His presence will offer nothing but symbolic support, and possibly interfere with the response.
If he wants to go, he can go Friday. If he goes Thursday, it’s a political appearance, and should be paid for by the DNC.