In its effort to politicize superstorm Sandy to Obama’s advantage, an AP story on the storm Wednesday begins, “There’s nothing like a natural disaster to test the depth of politicians’ preference for small government.”
“‘Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions,’ [Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda] Henneberg said. ‘As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most.'”
The AP went on to report that the Obama administration was “heavily involved in getting federal funds to those in trouble,” but somehow (because of the constraints of space, perhaps?) omitted what the President said while speaking at the Red Cross Tuesday: “It is very important for the public to continue to monitor the situation in your local community. Listen to your state and local officials. Follow instructions…The better prepared individual families are for the situation, the easier it is going to be for us to deal with it.”
Also in Obama’s remarks were the words, “My message to the federal government [is]: No bureaucracy. No red tape. Get resources where they’re needed as fast as possible.”
Leaving aside the obvious—that the federal government is held together by red tape—the President, in the waning days of the campaign, is sounding more and more like his opponent. In a recent interview on MSNBC, for example, he reiterated an earlier call for streamlining government smartly by creating a department of business.
“Smart” government, of course, is oxymoronic, and we’ve seen recently what happens when Washington makes business decisions. But it’s the language that matters here. Having seen his double-digit lead among women and independents vanish, someone in Obama’s strategy room, (based on past performances, it probably isn’t David Axelrod or Stephanie Cutter,) has decided to stop talking about birth control and start extolling—again, in rhetoric only—the virtues of individualism, and, by vague extension, markets.
Things were going quite well for the incumbent until the first debate, despite the horrific economy. The narrative was that unfettered capitalism, left over—still—from the Bush years, was crippling us, and President Obama, given four more years, could turn things around. His challenger, in the words of Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, was “an emblem for the resiliency of the entire sociopathic Wall Street set” that created the catastrophe.
But then that first debate happened, and Mitt the greedy, arrogant, cancer-patient killer didn’t show up. Instead, Obama faced an affable, respectful opponent, fiercely prepared. “The President,” Romney declared, “has a view very similar to the view he had when he ran four years ago: that a bigger government spending more, taxing more, regulating more—if you will, trickle down government—would work.” The facts, known well by troubled Americans watching that night, contradicted Obama’s solutions for what works, and forced the President at one point during the debate to change the subject,saying with a straight face that “The first role of the federal government is to keep the American people safe, and as commander in chief, that is something that I have worked on and thought about every single day that I have been in the Oval Office.”
That declaration was uttered three weeks and a day after the terrorist attacks in Benghazi. We still haven’t been told why it was that the federal government on Obama’s watch was unwilling to do what it took to keep four brave Americans safe.
If superstorm Sandy has relieved the President of the immediate need to answer questions about Benghazi, it hasn’t succeeded in erasing the notion in the minds of voters that Romney is an honorable man whose prescriptions for what works on the foreign and domestic front trump anything that’s been tried for the last four years.
By: Will Anderson
The World According to Will
The Will Anderson Show M-F 6pm-8pm on 800 and 1230AM and 106.5FM WBHP