Pandering in Ohio

Once again Mitt Romney demonstrates his political ineptitude with his handling of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.

Romney’s campaign was holding a “victory” rally in Ohio, a premature event calculated to show that he would win the state. With its arrogant presumption of success, it demonstrates how out of touch he is with reality. While campaigning, you can show strength of character, optimism and a sense of the future, but arrogant audacity is unbecoming for a presidential candidate and shows the candidate as reckless and not presidential.

Romney used the hurricane to his advantage by transforming his victory event into a food drive for the victims of the hurricane. It is all very well to collect food and supplies, but has he planned the logistics of the event. Does he know, for instance, what supplies people in the affected areas require? Does he know how the supplies are going to get to the affected areas? Who is going to transport the supplies, distribute them, and see that they get into the right hands? This shows clearly how unsuited Romney is for national office.

It is blatantly obvious that Romney has thought through none of this. The drive that his campaign organized is ostensibly to offer supplies to the Red Cross. The Red Cross has a policy when it comes to disasters such as this, and it is clear on their website. There are a few ways in which you can help the organization. Firstly, they are always in need of funds, so donations are the first line of defense. Next, they need blood, which is always in short supply, and especially during a crisis. Lastly, they need volunteers to help them organize their supplies.

Instead of creating a logistical nightmare for the Red Cross by handing them large quantities of supplies, why not organize a blood drive, or a donation center through which donations route to the organization. Romney could have inquired of the organization how he could use his campaign headquarters to help. Instead, he acted rather like Captain Tornado, whirling off in all directions and creating little but chaos.

This is the man who claims that he will work across the aisle with Democrats and Republicans to create needed legislation. What he has demonstrated is his authoritarian position on almost everything. Instead of trying to determine what it is that people need and fulfill that need, he goes full tilt in all directions before speaking to people. This is not the demeanor of a leader.

In addition, the victory event he held was in an important swing state, to show the people of that state what an incredible leader he is. Ohio was barely affected by the storm. Why did Romney not organize his event close to the storm damage? Does he have any idea how difficult it will be to get supplies to the affected areas. If he takes all the supplies that he has collected and gives them to the Red Cross, they have to categorize the supplies, put them on trucks, get those trucks to the destination, distribute the supplies to people who need them.

What Romney has done is to place a greater burden on the organization, on the roads, and on the transportation system. In other words, he has made the situation worse than it already is. The Red Cross does not have the time for this sort of thing. Why, instead, did he not donate money? He is worth several hundred million dollars. With a single check he could easily donate far more than his drive will collect even if it ran for days. He could donate millions, but he did not. He is too selfish and narcissistic for that.

Instead, Romney pandered to Ohio voters. He used this disaster as a campaign event to show Ohio what a wonderful character he is, what an upstanding citizen, how charitable. What I would like to know is, what was he doing when Katrina hit? Perhaps the Mormon Church got involved in helping, I don’t have that information at my fingertips. What was he doing with all those people trapped in the Convention Center in New Orleans? Did he organize buses, planes or boats to help those trapped in the Center?

Romney was asked today, on a dozen occasions what he planned to do about FEMA once he achieved the Presidency. He absolutely refused to answer the question. Like George W Bush, he believes that he is above the fray, and he dismisses or ignores questions from voters. We do not need another disengaged President who is aloof, supercilious and contemptuous of the people.

Compare this behavior with that of the President. President Obama immediately established a base in Washington, and started phoning the governors of the affected states, and the mayors of the affected cities. His words to them were in effect, “I am entirely available to you. Whatever you need, I will get for you. You can come directly through to me, anytime of the day or night with whatever you need.” This is leadership, the mark of a man who knows what to do and when to do it.

It is such a shame that the American people have treated this President so poorly. If they only listened to his words, saw what he has accomplished, taken in his actions as President, they would vote for him overwhelmingly. That they do not shows how disengaged the average American is in the political process. Obama is as steady as a rock, his word is his bond, what he says, he does his level best to do, and all he receives is opprobrium and disrespect, from the Republicans in the House and Senate in the form of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, to the Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer. The contempt that this President has received from these people is beyond belief, unnecessary and places the foundations of this democracy at risk.

I disagree with much that President Obama does in office, from the extrajudicial killing of American citizens, to drone strikes that kill civilians, to an over-gracious willingness to cooperate with Republicans in Congress. Despite this, as a leader, he is gracious, and well-spoken, he works with other nations to accomplish what this nation needs. He is truly one of this nations great Presidents. I do not believe that Romney will live up to this high standard once ensconced in office, as I suspect he may be.

The President has effectively suspended his political campaign to deal with this disaster, as well he should. As Chris Christie, Republican Governor of New Jersey said when asked about the effect of the storm on the presidential campaign, “I dont give a damn about the presidential campaign. I have a state to run”. I am not a fan of Chris Christie, but I must agree with him on this one. It is far more important that the president do his job, which has nothing to do with the campaign. The president is not pandering to the voters, he has no plans to visit Ohio, the most important of the battleground states any time soon. This is leadership.

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