The Perfect Storm?

While we continue to watch in prayer and horror at the destruction “Sandy” has wrought up and down the East Coast, I need to go on record with my fear that this hurricane might just act as a “game changer” in the election. I think it could swing the momentum, and ultimately the result, back Obama’s way.

At times like this, the average, independent, fairly non-political person forgets all the reasons they normally tend towards small-government instincts in theory and instead is just desperate…

  1. Fake John Galt

    Anybody that has lived through a large scale natural event such as a flood, hurricane, earthquake understand that these events are great tragedies, it takes the government to declare and  truly make them a disaster.   

  2. Boymoose

    Let me get this straight,

    God takes his good time and energy to send the biggest storm in 200 years down the middle of the largest liberal voting block a few days before the election ( with the added benefit of derailing Washington DC for a few days) and you think it’s going to help The President.

    Do you know how many SEIU voters they are going to have to bus in from Ohio to cover New York?

     With Chris Christie batting cleanup, the press will have a very hard time with spin.

  3. KarlUB

    This line of argument is indeed already being made.

    I derailed one such thread on Facebook by pointing out certain evil instances of private contractors working for the government, like Medicare.

    But I’m only one man, and my liberal friends are kind of rational.

  4. Palaeologus

    Andrew, this argument only works if Obama “fixes” the Hurricane.

    Do you really think these non-political types are going to see anything that makes Obama look so competent in the coming days that they will worry themselves over a counter-factual Romney disaster response?

    It seems unlikely to me that our Sea Leveller in Chief will be able to spin Hurricane Sandy as such a success.

  5. iWc

    The Hurricane was overblown. It was much less destructive in Maryland than was the derecho over the summer.

    Besides, the only states really hit are blue anyway.

    I think this becomes a “meh” event within 2 days. No net impact.

  6. Pseudodionysius

    Its all George W Bush’s fault anyway. Move along. Nothing to see here.

  7. Howellis

    Romney’s counter-argument has to be that it’s the states and localities that are actually helping, and they are the ones who need the resources.  He was correct to take that position, and the hurricane only proves it.

  8. Shane McGuire

    He promised the seas would roll back, and yet the tide has overtaken Manhattan.

  9. Fjordhopper

    Having lived through the flood in Minot, ND in June and July of 2011 which saw 11,000 people evacuated (c. 1/4 of the population) and 4,100 homes flooded, and a about a third of the city underwater, I know the idea of government assistance is attractive…

    But then a comes the reality… bureaucracy, paperwork, finding out that flood insurance doesn’t cover much, that FEMA is slow (it took them till December to get housing figured out for evacuees).

    I share your  worry, because people on the East Coast won’t find out until months after they vote for government help that, “Hi!  We’re from the government and we’re here to help!”  really is the scariest phrase in the world.  And, by then it’ll be too late.

    (Oh, and unlike Sandy our flood was actually the result of government mismanagement both by the Canadians, and the Corps of Engineers, and since they got us into this mess, they’ve not been real great at getting us out of it…).

  10. Kim K.

    The president could use this to his advantage – IF he were seen as a kind of “I feel your pain” president.  However, a president who refers to American deaths as bumps in the road will have a hard time  convincing  the public that he’s the kind of guy who will roll up his sleeves and do the work to get it done. I can imagine a scenario where blame is placed on local officials, utilities, maybe even God.  

    Can you imagine a photo-op of Obama and Chris Christie, arms draped over each other’s shoulders, pledging to work together to alleviate the situation?  Me neither.

  11. ParisParamus

    I think your theory fails scrutiny, easily, and not just because the states hardest hit are blue states.

  12. katievs

    In the light of Benghazi, pictures of Obama in the Situation Room, monitoring the hurricane, make him look completely absurd.

    No one believes him anymore.

  13. A42NT1
    ParisParamus: I think your theory fails scrutiny, easily, and not just because the states hardest hit are blue states. · 3 minutes ago

    I’ll echo Paris’ perspective. Electoral college votes are all-or-nothing, so what difference will shifting some “independent” votes in NY, NJ, or CT make? I’ll wager that there’s not a motivated Republican out there who suddenly wants to vote O because of the storm. If anything, this storm may suppress the “unmotivated” voter turnout.

  14. DrewInWisconsin

    The only thing that’s giving me pause, re: the Election, is the tiny little fear that the President might use a declared emergency to push back or extend election day.

    Question:  “Jay, some of the utilities are saying that the power is going to be out in some areas for up to ten days.  That would obviously include Election Day.  Is there any contingency planning to alter the Election Day schedule because of this?” 

    Jay Carney: “I think that is not something I’m able to address.” 

    Question:  “Would the president have the power to adjust Election Day?” 

    Mr. Carney:  “I don’t know the answer to that question.  I think you’re getting way ahead of yourself here.”

  15. MBF
    Zafar: Small Government is great, unless you actually need an action or a service from the Government.  Surely it’s an issue that people who are pro reducing the size and role of Govt should be ready to answer in precisely this kind of situation.

    Most conservatives are in favor of moving the responsibility from the federal government to the state and local governments.

    Zafar: Similarly with the popular aspects of Obamacare.  If you have a pre-existing condition and need insurance, precisely why is Obamacare bad for you and the country? 

    You can’t buy “insurance” after an event occurs. You can’t buy homeowners insurance after a storm sends a tree branch through your roof. What you’re asking for is charity.

    You are asking the government to force responsible citizens to subsidize the results of irresponsible and unlucky citizens. The problem most of us have is that the federal government is way past the point of bothering to sort out the difference between unlucky and irresponsible. Local governments and charities are far more effective at identifying the truly needy.

  16. Aaron Miller

    Romney should focus his public thanks and praise on governors, mayors and the inevitable deluge of private charity from all around the country.

    It’s up to local governments, with the help of charitable contractors from other states, to restore power, douse fires and address other major concerns. But most challenges caused by big storms, from providing food and temporary shelter to rebuilding homes, can and have been overcome by non-officials donating their time and resources.

    It’s in times like this that we witness the best of the American spirit.

  17. Copperfield

    This is an interesting hypothesis and could well accrue to the President’s advantage, but perhaps only marginally in those blue NE states.  I was asked by a colleague this morning what effect I thought Sandy might have on the election.  My response was perhaps a bit of effect on turnout in those bluest of blue NE states, hence perhaps some effect on the popular vote, but the President will win most of those states by double digit margins anyway, so not much effect on the electoral college.  Republicans/conservatives/libertarians have a greater sense of civic duty than Democrats/liberals/progressives, so, if anything, it may widen the margin of Romney’s victory in NC.  Incidentally, this is also why the GOP has an enthusiasm advantage this year and why GOTV efforts have to be more intensive for Democrats. 

    Thanks for the post, Andrew. 

  18. Copperfield

    Of course, his serial unseriousness could come back to haunt him as well… as in this, a pre-taped interview from last Saturday, played yesterday on radio stations in Ohio that features the President talking about what’s on his iPod.  That has to be a bit disconcerting to voters, to hear their President prattling on about his eclectic musical taste as a natural disaster is imminent… and it is being reported by ABC News, no less.  We’ll see. 

    Thanks again, Andrew… interesting thread.

  19. Pig Man

    Anything that suppresses voter turnout helps the GOP, this storm won’t help Obama.   

  20. Pig Man
    katievs: In the light of Benghazi, pictures of Obama in the Situation Room, monitoring the hurricane, make him look completely absurd.

    No one believes him anymore. · 1 hour ago

    This shows how many of you are in an alternate universe.  Sure no one in the Fox-centric universe believes Obama, but those in the main stream universe sure do.  

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