Joan Walsh savages Mitt Romney for his craven and cynical behavior this week — and it’s only Wednesday! — all due of the conflict between a horrible, historic disaster and Mitt’s need for all the attention to be on him:
It’s become a platitude to say that no one should be playing politics with Hurricane Sandy, but that’s silly. When the performance of government suddenly becomes a literal matter of life and death to many Americans, we ought to be thinking about what kind of government we want to have, and that involves politics.
[...] Romney’s “relief” event outside of Dayton, Ohio, was surreal enough to be a campaign parody, with the candidate comparing the federal government’s hurricane relief efforts to the time he and some friends had to clean up a football field strewn with “rubbish and paper products.” It was supposed to be a parable of how Republicans handle disaster – with private charity, not government intervention – as Romney told his audience, “It’s part of the American spirit, the American way, to give to people in need.” The Republican went on to talk about the time some Hurricane Katrina survivors were rerouted from Houston to Cape Cod and the good people of Cape Cod responded by donating food and, yes, television sets.
Of course, as Alex Seitz-Wald writes, the Red Cross and other private charities are discouraging the donation of goods, preferring that kind Americans donate funds that can be used where they’re needed, not goods that must be sorted and distributed and may not even be necessary (television sets?).
Romney promised to put the goods on a truck to where they’re needed, “I think New Jersey,” he said.
That was a funny choice. Maybe it had to do with the fact that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has all but endorsed Obama in the last two days, repeatedly praising his “leadership.” He told the crew on “Morning Joe” that “It’s been very good working with the president. He and his administration have been coordinating with us. It’s been wonderful.” He told “Today” that FEMA’s response has been “excellent,” and he’s repeatedly tweeted his thanks to the president.
[...] As I write, the president is arriving at a Red Cross site to ask Americans for donations. Chris Christie, meanwhile, has rebuffed Romney’s offer to visit New Jersey’s devastated shore. (Politics aside: Really, what could Romney offer?) I can’t be sure whether or how much disaster relief will matter to swing state voters outside of the hurricane zone, but I am stranded (on a blue island) in the swing state of Wisconsin, where people are tuned in to the storm and the government response. No one can be reassured by Romney’s empty posturing. Unless there is some government-abetted or neglected further disaster, I think Obama will be reelected next Tuesday. Hurricane Sandy has reminded us what’s at stake.
Whether Romney supporters like it or not, the President is the person who is able to respond to disaster in ways that matter to people who’ve lost loved ones, homes, transportation, businesses, power, etc with federal disaster relief. If Romney-Ryan are awarded their vision next week, people might be lucky to get a bottle of Gatorade and some toilet paper. Vote your vision.
reuters: U.S. President Barack Obama hugs North Point Marina owner Donna Vanzant as he tours damage done by Hurricane Sandy in Brigantine, New Jersey, October 31, 2012. At left is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Putting aside partisan differences, Obama and Christie toured storm-stricken parts of New Jersey together on Wednesday, taking in scenes of flooded roads and burning homes in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy. REUTERS/Larry Downing