As a New York City resident, I’m taken aback by the devastation that Hurricane Sandy has had on the city. No, this is not Katrina (because George Bush "doesn’t care about black people") and the people here are getting assistance almost instantaneously from what I have seen. One of Romney’s biggest backers, New Jersey Governor Christie, stated that President Obama has done a great job handling the situation and put politics in the basement to focus on humans helping humans (regardless of skin color, ideology, tax rate, or coffee preference). Imagine that.
Several days later, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg came out and endorsed President Obama, openly admitting that how the president handled the situation affected his decision about endorsing him. The pundits were quick to deem this a huge win for President Obama but I think many of them missed the big picture. Barack Obama is one of the most pragmatic leaders that this country has ever seen. And what do pragmatic leaders do? They turn their enemies into their closest friends.
Two of Obama’s critics and opponents during his 2008 bid are now sitting as two of his most important underlings: Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. This was not an accident, ladies and gents. President Obama knew that his foreign policy credentials were nowhere near impressive, so what did he do? He went out and got two of the best in the game to ride with him to the White House while he drove. And I think it’s safe to say that no one will question Obama when it comes to the nitty-gritty of foreign policy with those two at his side as opposed to before he asked them to be his Vice President and Secretary of State.
The country, whether they want to admit it or not, is paying close attention to how Obama is handling the situation and yes, it is going to affect voters. But more importantly, voters are wondering (some sub-consciously) what would happen to New York C (or 47% of it) if Mitt Romney were the Commander-in-Chief. Republicans are pulling their hair out because Governor Christie complimented President Obama because, God forbid, the people in need are actually getting assistance. You have to wonder what would occur if FEMA, the very entity that Romney has said he wants to privatize, was not able to lend assistance to those New York City residents in need after they lost power, water, heat, and in some cases, homes and loved ones.
Being the President of the United States means that the nation feels proud to have you at the helm in times of disaster. When John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his VP running mate, the thought in the back of everyone’s minds was: "Oh my goodness, if McCain dies on us, that lady is going to be calling the shots?" George W. Bush responded very poorly to Katrina and that was years after we all made fun of the way he looked on 9/11 when he was told about what was happening.
We as Americans are very self-conscious and that is why it leads me to believe that Bloomberg’s endorsement of President Obama is a pocket ace for the election. When Bloomberg endorsed Obama, he was really saying this: "I know that I don’t exactly love this guy but he can get the job done and I’m witnessing it firsthand. The other guy, I’m not sure and I’d rather not take a chance because people’s lives are at stake here." That is a colossal statement a week before Election Day. If the man managing the crisis of a hurricane on America’s most vibrant metropolis is convinced that President Obama deserves another four years, it’s hard to argue with him and say that he does not.
As much as Romney deserves a fair fight, he is not going to get one. He didn’t get the nomination in 2008 and Obama has been trailblazing ever since for opportunities to win endorsements such as Mayor Bloomberg's. The rare qualities of a pragmatic leader are on display in the White House and they will continue to be for the next four years.