OpinionTop of the Ticket

Chris Christie and Hurricane Sandy give Obama a timely boost

ElectionsPoliticsHurricanes and Tropical StormsChris ChristieBarack ObamaHurricane Sandy (2012)Tampa

On his Comedy Central show Wednesday night, Stephen Colbert charged that hurricanes have a liberal bias -- and who can disagree? Katrina sank President George W. Bush, Isaac knocked a day off the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., and now Sandy may be messing with Mitt.

Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, one of the Romney campaign's top surrogates has been standing before microphones and going on TV to rain praise on President Obama. Yes, Chris Christie, New Jersey's Republican governor, the guy who gave the keynote address in Tampa, has suddenly gotten all nonpartisan merely because his state has been devastated by a super storm. Where are his priorities?

Christie and the president toured the disaster scene together, looking and talking like a mutual admiration society and giving the distinct impression that they believe a national emergency is far more important than a presidential campaign. What’s a guy like Romney supposed to do with that with less than a week to go before election day?

What he did do was cancel a "victory rally" in Ohio -- although it really was not canceled; it was just rebranded as a gathering to support the storm relief effort. Oddly enough, the event still featured a Romney campaign video from the GOP convention. Even more odd was the fact that Romney’s staff reportedly bought $5,000 worth of granola bars and canned goods at a nearby Wal-Mart, which they parceled out to attendees at the rally with instructions to hand the items to Romney as the TV cameras captured the moment.

Romney said the supplies would be trucked to someplace in New Jersey, even though the Red Cross says random shipments of food create a logistical headache for relief workers. Maybe they can dump them at Christie’s house after he is done hanging out with Obama.

In the course of this presidential campaign we have learned that Romney does one thing really well -- he can debate like a champ. Beyond that, though, he is often the embodiment of awkward. Trying to disguise a campaign rally as a hurricane relief event is just a big reminder of pre-debate Romney, the fellow who nearly scuttled his own campaign in September with one misstep after another.

Meanwhile, Obama is getting the chance to appear compassionate, effective and, thanks to Christie, above politics. Looking presidential may only sway a few votes his way, but in a race that is going to the wire, just a few can make all the difference. 

In every election, political junkies watch for an October surprise that might alter the dynamics of the election. This year, the surprise may have come in the form of a massively destructive storm. Pat Robertson and the religious right seem to find messages from God in every hurricane. If this one boosts Obama, they will have to do a serious reassessment of that idea. They may deduce that, like hurricanes, God has a liberal bias.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
ElectionsPoliticsHurricanes and Tropical StormsChris ChristieBarack ObamaHurricane Sandy (2012)Tampa
  • Romney victory would vindicate right-wing smears of Obama
    Romney victory would vindicate right-wing smears of Obama

    It is impossible to know if Mitt Romney would turn out to be a good, bad or a mediocre president, but one certain downside of a Romney victory is that it would reward the most venal forces in American politics.

  • Mitt Romney chokes on Richard Mourdock's rape comment
    Mitt Romney chokes on Richard Mourdock's rape comment

    Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, the tea party usurper who took down Sen. Richard Lugar in the Republican primary, created the biggest political buzz of the week by uttering the following sentence in a televised debate: “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of...

  • Alarcon prosecution sends the right message to other politicians, DAs
    Alarcon prosecution sends the right message to other politicians, DAs

    Former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon was convicted Wednesday on four counts of voter fraud and perjury for lying about where he lived when he ran for office in 2007 and 2009. He was acquitted of 12 other related charges. The mixed verdict should not obscure the larger issue,...

  • Erin Auerbach got it wrong; all pets die too soon for us humans
    Erin Auerbach got it wrong; all pets die too soon for us humans

    I feel for Erin Auerbach, the Los Angeles writer who spent much of a 13-year period nursing three dogs -- all of them from shelters -- through serious and ultimately fatal illnesses until the last one died in November. I have only respect and admiration for people who devote themselves to...

  • Indonesia's Jokowi needs world's backing
    Indonesia's Jokowi needs world's backing

    Democracy prevailed in Indonesia this week. Now leaders there and around the world must quickly get behind the country's president-elect.

  • GOP focused on wrong set of children
    GOP focused on wrong set of children

    Republicans are focused on the wrong set of children — and on the wrong set of voters. Instead of raising a hue and cry over the “threat” represented by thousands of unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. from Central America, they should be mindful of the millions of children already here...

Comments
Loading