Hurricane Sandy: Obama's Social–Worker–in–Chief moment
By Michael R. Shannon
web posted November 5, 2012
Hurricane Sandy — much like Barack Obama — turned out to be an over–hyped phenomenon that failed to deliver. Our portion of the storm in Northern Virginia was so weak the Multicultural Commissars didn't even bother to give it a Hispanic name, like last summer's "derecho" (formerly known as "severe thunderstorm").
I tried to lend a hand and come up with a culturally–sensitive name, but Spanish for "Sandy" is still "Sandy," making it tough to appear cutting edge during a TV broadcast.
"Hurricane" translates as "huracán" and the resulting "Huracán Sandy" fails to advance the cause of linguistic arrogance. It doesn't compare with changing the perfectly good name of "Bombay" to "Mumbai." All that did was confuse millions of Americans looking for a particular large city in India. (The Indians already knew where it was.)
Besides, where does one draw the line? Does the "pecan sandie" cookie become the "sandie pacana?"
There were houses smashed by downed trees in my neighborhood — certainly a disaster for the affected homeowners — but nothing to compare with the "derecho."
Even during the height of the hype, my household preparations were limited to bracing for a potential power outage. Since our family has never associated bowel movements with natural disasters, we even missed the ‘Assault on Food Lion.' Because we don't feel compelled to buy a pallet–load of toilet paper anytime it's overcast for three consecutive days.
The local paper wrote of a Dominion Power repairman that just missed being drowned by rising floodwaters. But who noticed the unsung American Disposal Services crews braving wind and rain to pick up household trash during the beginning of the blow? While government employees, enjoying the shutdown, watched from their front window.
Naturally Obama's media amen chorus and the administration itself, are doing their best to politicize the storm. There was extensive damage in New Jersey and New York. So the Washington Post proclaims, "Storm provides Obama with a commander–in–chief moment." Which only goes to show the mainstream media thinks we'll believe anything.
The attack on the consulate in Libya provided Obama with a genuine "commander–in–chief" moment where he could have affected events on the ground, which is something "commanders" do. But Obama failed miserably.
Hurricane Sandy provides him with a Social–Worker–in–Chief moment, a situation with which community organizers are much more comfortable. Obama took a helicopter tour while the wind was still blowing. Yet FBI investigators had to wait weeks before they could visit the ruined consulate in Libya, only to discover the scene hopelessly compromised by hundreds of journalists and sightseers who didn't wait for administration approval.
And to show benighted conservatives how fortunate we are to have Obama in the White House, the Washington Post adds: "Rarely, if ever, has a president had to deal with such a major disaster so close to Election Day..."
What's "rare" — in fact unprecedented — is the media allowing an administration to take a bye on a disaster like Libya so close to an election. Governors in New York and New Jersey call Obama for help and he's Johnny–on–the–spot. SEALs in Libya call for backup during an attack that kills four Americans, including the ambassador, and get an administration brush off.
If only Libya had a few more votes in the Electoral College.
The story also includes a breathless blow–by–blow of his day. During a videoconference Obama uses the MSNBC slogan as he orders the bureaucracy to "lean forward on this."
Then he holds a conference call with utility executives and "underscore(s) the urgency of restoring electricity," as if the people at PEPCO were unaware their customers depend on electric power.
This is busy work in a pathetic effort to look engaged and presidential. It compares unfavorably with Obama's trip to a Las Vegas fundraiser the evening we learned of Ambassador Stevens' death.
The New York Times editorial page weighed in with, "A Big Storm Requires Big Government," possibly indicating the NYT believes severe weather to be a recent invention.
Maybe they have a point. How could we do without FEMA officials "embedded in states' emergency operations centers" getting the latest from local police, local fire and local officials. Then trying to decide how to give tax dollars taken from the states, back to the states after Uncle Sam has taken his cut for overhead, motivational speakers and government employee awards.
How did we survive disasters before Jimmy Carter's FEMA got involved?
When I think of the abandoned buildings, the decaying harbor and the rusting trolley cars — all this could have been prevented if only Washington had helped after the San Francisco earthquake.
To say nothing of the vast desert, formerly known as Chicago, after the fire of 1871…
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.