The four-day reprieve from election coverage that focused on Superstorm Sandy was perfect timing for President Obama. His steady decrease in the polls since April has had him neck-and-neck with Mitt Romney, and the constant polling has driven many Americans to plug their ears and turn off their TVs. But earlier in the week, we all had a reason to turn on CNN again, and for the first time in a year, the conversation was not an in-depth analysis of the political rhetoric-du-jour.
The Superstorm gave the president the opportunity to act presidential, while forcing Mitt Romney to stay mum for fear of politicizing a horrible disaster. While being glued to our computers we saw Obama getting along swimmingly with New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie, who sang his praises effusively, and we could almost forget about Mitt Romney for a full 48 hours. Now that New York City is recovering and Romney has once again been unmuted, his continued push to describe the president’s lack of accomplishments seems childish. After all, there is nothing like watching a great city go through hell to remind us that there is more to being American than listening to incessant arguments over the future of our country.
While both candidates are back on the campaign trail, there is a different feeling as the campaign wraps up and as the conversation shifts away from the fear of the hurricane and the deaths of those who perished in the storm. The rhetoric that we have been tuning out for the last many months seems outdated, which is to the president’s advantage for the obvious reason that he is the president.
While Obama can step forward and say that politics do not belong amid conversation of personal plight, Romney still has to campaign. While the battling must continue, the Superstorm provided us with collective perspective. The election will take place on Tuesday, but at least the last few days will be accented with an important reminder that there are issues that transcend the political divides of partisan politics. Obama has shown in the last week that in times of crisis, he cannot only work across the aisle, but that there are times when one can forget that the aisle exists altogether.