TribLIVE

| Home

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Sandy saves Obama from himself

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
The Scranton Times-Tribune

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Jonah Goldberg
Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, 9:03 p.m.
 

If President Obama had the time for some introspection on the campaign trail, he might take offense at all the media speculation (and, in many cases, wishful thinking gussied up as speculation) that his response to Hurricane Sandy will give him the edge on Election Day.

In effect, people are saying: “Obama is doing the minimum requirements of his job; what a game-changer!”

Now, one could quibble about whether he's really doing what a president should. He's handing out a bunch of checks, which is warranted, but he has staff to do that. Moreover, presidential photo ops at disaster sites aren't all that helpful. In his remarks Wednesday, the president thanked some local politicians and told people to visit the FEMA website if they have electricity. The imperative for him to be the one delivering that message is no doubt obvious to all.

Still, the conventional wisdom is probably right that acting presidential during a crisis helps Obama politically. And it's probably true that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's praise of Obama is helping at the margins, too. Though it's probably helping most in New Jersey, where Obama would win anyway — and with the D.C. press corps, which loves both stories of bipartisanship and stories that help Obama.

But if this tragic natural disaster is boosting the president in any meaningful way, it's not because of any of that. It's because the storm saved Obama from himself.

During the weeks leading up to the storm, the president, vice president and the Obama campaign were being, to use a family-friendly term, jerks.

The president in particular was acting like he was auditioning for Keith Olbermann's old time slot at MSNBC.

In the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney said he didn't think it made sense to borrow millions from China to subsidize public television, including the immensely profitable outfit that owns Big Bird.

Obama's response was to mock Romney for his war on Big Bird, insinuating in ads and condescending rants (often punctuated by Obama laughing at his own jokes) that Romney thinks Big Bird is the source of all of our problems. Anyone who watched the debate knew that Obama was being both petty and dishonest.

At the end of an interview with Rolling Stone, an editor there told Obama that his 6-year-old daughter had a message for the president: “Tell him: You can do it.” Instead of replying with an aw-shucks thank you, Obama immediately snapped back with a remark about how little kids can tell Romney's a “bull(expletive).”

I know what you're thinking: Classy. Presidential. High-minded.

The irony is that the president was projecting a label better applied to himself and voters were catching on to it in ways they hadn't before, even when he promised to make the oceans heel to his command. I still expect the president to fail in his bid to be re-elected. But if he squeaks by, it just might be because he was saved from himself — by the very oceans he failed to conquer.

Jonah Goldberg, editor at large of National Review Online, is the author of “The Tyranny of Clichés.”

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Rossi: Looking at the next great Steeler
  2. Steelers swap draft pick for Eagles cornerback
  3. After early criticism, Haley has Steelers offense poised to be even better
  4. McCullers’, McLendon’s prowess in clogging trenches crucial to Steelers defense
  5. Shell shovels millions into proposed Beaver County plant site
  6. EPA diktats: Pushing back
  7. Penguins not alone in top-heavy approach to salary cap
  8. Starting 9: Examining Pirates’ deadline decisions
  9. Pirates notebook: New acquisition Happ more than happy to fill spot in rotation
  10. Steelers notebook: Injuries finally become issue at training camp
  11. McCandless woman 1st in region with implant aimed at halting seizures