In early December of 2005 I attended the annual holiday gathering of the Monmouth Ocean Development Council. This particular party stands out in my memory of the hundreds of such parties I’ve attended over the years because of the entertainment. A jazz band from New Orleans was touring the country to raise money for the Katrina recovery efforts. Their music was fabulous. Their plea for help is what stuck with me. It was deep, personal and profound. The wreckage seen on television four months earlier was a distant memory for me, until I felt a little of the pain in that band’s plea.
The difference between hearing about and watching news accounts of a devastating hurricance and living through the aftermath of such a catostrophic event is like the difference between watching porn and having sex, though not nearly as fun. It’s not fun at all.
As someone who has witnessed the destruction of my hometown and the devastation Sandy wrecked upon the lives of so many people I care about, I really don’t care if the partnership that Governor Chris Christie forged with President Barack Obama contributed to Obama’s reelection.
As I embraced my dear friend while we were standing in the wreckage of what used to be her mother’s home while she was crying, “she’s going to die,” the last thing I cared about was politics.
For over a week I’ve witness my neighbors’ possessions be piled into a garbage transfer station that used to be a parking lot and then be loaded into trailers be be trucked away. Soon many of those neighbors will be living in trailers in a park while someone else decides when, how and if their homes can be rebuilt.
I won’t complain that I haven’t slept in my own bed and there is no power at my house. I still have a house. My friends don’t. My friend, the mayor, his wife and three young children are sleeping on cots in a gymnasium.
I could care less that Christie wept when Bruce Springsteen called him a friend. I care even less that Obama facilitated the friendship.
I am comforted that Chris Christie is doing his job and doing it well. I am comforted that he assembled such a competent team to form his administration three years ago and that they work so well together.
I can’t imagine Jon Corzine, Richard Cody, Jim McGreevey, Christie Whitman, Jim Florio, Tom Kean or Brendan Byrne being as hands on or as competent as Christie has been in this crisis. I also can’t imagine Cory Booker doing the job that Christie has done or assembling as good a team to do it.
Chris Christie is doing his job and doing it well. He’s witnessed far more of the devastation to New Jersey than I have. I’m pleased that for the last weeks he hasn’t cared about politics either.
Pundits on both sides of the aisle are saying that if not for Hurricane Sandy, Obama may not have been reelected. That could be true. But given Obama’s record, the state of the world and the economy, the election should not have been close heading into the last weekend in October.
Obama said he will be a better president as a result of the campaign. He said he heard those who opposed him and his policies. I hope that proves to be true. We’ll know soon enough.
I don’t think Chris Christie will be a better governor because he has Obama’s cell number. I think it is more likely that Obama will be a better president because he has Chrisite’s number.
By popular demand (from Matt Rooney and a Democratic operative who doesn’t want people to know he/she talks to me) your favorite blogger is shifting his focus away from the Sandy Aftermath and back to politics on this election eve.
Rooney said, “Let’s hear your projection, Gallagher.” My response: “The power will be off at my house for the rest of the week.”
It’s been nearly a week since Hurricane Sandy made landfall, but no one can yet gauge how this calamity has affected the national psyche, and the outcome of a major election. Here is what I think…
When you see your fellow citizens struggling in horribly devastated communities and preyed upon by looters after dark, you begin to wonder if perhaps we have taken too much for granted in this country. When you consider our shocking inability to turn the lights back on, you wonder what the government is actually doing with your money. Perhaps it begins to dawn on folks that the politicians have pampered us with a false sense of entitlement, but when the wind starts howling, you are on your own. Perhaps we will re-learn that the central function of government is the safety and welfare of its citizens. And government cannot perform that function well if our finances are saddled with the cost of bloated past promises. Perhaps we will cherish anew the value of thrift and hard work and never again take our good fortune for granted. For only a prosperous country can be charitable in the support of its citizens. America needs a new direction.
There’s a serious flaw in all of the polls which is misrepresenting the current state of the presidential race. As Dick Morris has pointed out, the pollsters all assume the demographic turnout will be the same as it was in 2008. There are many reasons why this is simply not going to happen. Many African-American preachers have already indicated that Obama hasn’t done anything for black people and that his views on gay marriage do not match their own. They will not be lining up the busses to take their parishioners to the polls.
Let’s see what this means. At this point, it is fairly well predicted that if Romney takes Pennsylvania, he takes the election.
This seems clear from looking at RealClearPolitics’ current calculations. Giving Romney Colorado, North Carolina, Iowa, and Florida, which is not unreasonable, Romney needs only 26 more electoral votes. If you give him Virginia, where he is slightly ahead, he needs 13. He can do this with Ohio. He can do this with Wisconsin and New Hampshire. He can do this with Pennsylvania. Few people believe he will win Pennsylvania, where he is trailing by 5% in some polls. (Susquehanna Polling — which is very accurate in Pennsylvania — did a poll October 18 showing Romney up by 4%. For some reason, RealClearPolitics is using its October 4 poll showing Obama ahead by 2%.) In 2008, in Philadelphia, the mother lode for Democratic votes and a city with a majority-African-American population, approximately 688,000 people voted in the 2008 election. Of these, 574,930 voted for Obama. In 2010, however, when the Republicans swept to power in the House — due to disenchantment with Obama, primarily — only 422,283 people voted in Philadelphia.
Granted, there are always fewer votes in a senatorial/gubernatorial election than in a presidential election, but this is a dramatic drop-off. To begin with, I should point out that Republican Tom Corbett won the gubernatorial race, garnering 54.49% of the vote statewide. In their final polls, no pollster had the Republican above 52%. In other words, they all underestimated him by nearly 2.5%.