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Thursday, 01 November 2012

Hurricane Sandy and the 2012 Election

category_bug_politics.gif How does a 65-year-old American, especially one who was governor of a state for four years, not know that in a major disaster – of which there have been many in recent years – food donations are not helpful?

Long before Hurricane Sandy finished unleashing its havoc on Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney mindlessly asked supporters at what he said was a non-political event in Ohio to bring canned food for storm victims as their admission ticket.

Then, while ostentatiously loading the unneeded/unwanted packaged goods onto a truck for the cameras, Romney refused to answer 13 questions about his primary-season declaration that it is immoral to spend federal (FEMA) money on disaster relief.

It gets worse: it turns out that Romney campaign operatives, worried that there would not be enough food to look good on television, staged the giving by purchasing $5,000 worth of granola bars and other groceries the night before the Tuesday event.

But that's just pathetic, petty cravenness, small potatoes compared to the lies in Romney's latest campaign videos and radio spots.

If you are not stuck without power in the storm track, you undoubtedly have heard about Romney's false claims that Chrysler is moving local jobs to China and that the federal rescue of GM encouraged the company to outsource jobs.

So blatantly untrue are these claims that executives from both auto companies felt compelled to publicly expose the lies:

“We’ve clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days,” said GM spokesman Greg Martin. “No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country.”

And further:

“At this stage, we’re looking at a Hubble telescope-length distances between campaign ads and reality...GM’s creating jobs in the US and repatriating profits back to this country should be a source of bipartisan pride.”

Nevertheless, without an iota of shame from Romney and his surrogates, the commercials continue to be broadcast which leads me to believe their August statement that the campaign would ignore fact checkers is the one true thing we've heard from them.

These, of course, are not the only instances of Romney's untruths – they are legion, and I have been trying to work out the real-world consequences of having a president - the leader of both the nation and the world - who lies as easily and, apparently, as reflexively as pulling on his pants in the morning.

You're free to ponder that in the comments but that's not what I'm here for today – I just wanted to mention it because it is no small concern. But it is not the most imminent question.

Take a look at this map I lifted yesterday from Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight Blog at The New York Times:

538 political map

Check this: of the 15 states and District of Columbia affected by Hurricane Sandy, 13 are safely blue – that is, expected to vote Democratic. Well, Ohio is still wobbly so make it 12. Either way, my point doesn't change:

You've seen the devastation in the photos and the videos along with the despair and/or brave front on the faces of storm victims. Some have lost everything. For many, it will be months, even years before their lives are set right again.

The immediate problem is that of the eight-plus million without power, light and heat, those necessities will be a long time returning. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of cars are wrecked beyond use too. And public transportation is, so far, sporadic and crowded.

In the wake of all this, how many do you think are concerned about voting on Tuesday? How many do you think have a means to get to a polling place? How many polling places and voting machines do you think still exist or are operable?

Early voting has been suspended for a period in some of the affected states. Many polling stations in schools and other public buildings are flooded. Particularly in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, power may not be restored by election day. Is there time to arrange for alternative balloting – paper? - if machines aren't working? Probably not.

And so, dear readers, for the first time in our adult lives, polling and surveys are useless this year in predicting the outcome of the election. It's almost a relief to have what might be called a "natural" election without the influence of media and polls.

But it's not quite natural either as voting patterns of those 15 states and District of Columbia have been knocked off kilter, and if the election is close, it will be debated forever what might have been without Hurricane Sandy.


Another little note for you at The Elder Storytelling Place today. New stories will return next week.


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

I told my husband Monday night that the storm would wreak havoc on the election in those areas.
Too bad we can't postpone it until NJ and NY are ready.

I'm also worried about what will happen to voting in those areas. I've been through a tornado, and know if we'd been voting, I probably wouldn't have shown up. The conditions under which they are voting...is really daunting. I thought the vote should have been postponed, but then I think I heard "congress" has to do that...and you know how that would have turned out. Sad times indeed.

Yes, I saw Mitt Romney pretending to run a "Benefit" for flood victims.

What does he think the Red Cross is going to do with 10 Granola bars and 3 cans of peas? And how many babies can he really help with 20 packages of Pampers?

He would have been more helpful drying the dishes for Paul Ryan the other day at HIS phony "benefit".

They spent $5,000 at Wal Mart buying the Granola bars and Pampers. If they had any brains at all, they would have gotten the $5,000 broken into Twenties and handed them out to the attendees to put in a big jar as they came into the "Benefit".

That would have given people the idea that the Red Cross needs MONEY, not canned goods..

They should have had a banner across the bottom of the screen with this address:

www.redcross.org/hurricane aid

Imagine that pair running the Country. All I can say is that Romney and Ryan are doing the work of two men:
LAUREL AND HARDY

They give me a pain. It's supposed to show that good old American volunteerism is the way to go and we don't need the government standing in the way.
It's a way of not caring about people but having a clear conscience about it.

SCARY dangerous liars. And SCARY dangerous vast voting apparatus either underwater, malfunctioning, or inaccessible.

If the vote count is really, really close, I wonder if all those teams of lawyers are going to start filing suits, demanding recounts or new elections, etc., based on the storm. After what happened in 2000, does anyone really think an election as close as this one isn't going to be as bad or worse than 2000?

With over 6 million people with no power, I don't think their first priority is going to be voting even if there was a polling place to go to.
I wonder what we will do abut that.

I cannot fathom why anyone outside of business/corporate type would have any reason to vote for Romney. even the very wealthy don't have a compelling reason to vote for him.

For me it is about my granddaughters, whose lives may be profoundly affected by a President Romney.

Thank goodness we still have FEMA!

"I have been trying to work out the real-world consequences of having a president - the leader of both the nation and the world - who lies as easily and, apparently, as reflexively as pulling on his pants in the morning."

Romney puts his own pants on? I dunno Ronni. I thought that would be Ann's job considering Romney's old fashioned ideas about women.

The whole situation is so unprecedented that I am fearful of the outcome. This clearly shows the danger in relying on electronic voting machines.

It's too bad that the states most affected are blue.

I will be so glad when this election is over.

I agree with everything Ronni said. However, a Romney supporter could write a similar blog about Obama.

This election is a choice between the lesser of two evils.

Regarding the issue of voter turnout in the northeast - it should be equally difficult for Republicans as for Democrats to get to the polls. Voter turnout may be low, but the electoral votes will remain unchanged.

Here's a bit of humor that reflects on the intelligence level we are all dealing with: http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2012/10/29/conspiracy-theorists-say-obama-engineered-hurricane-sandy

I pray for those in harms way-still. And i pray that this election NOT be influenced by Sandy.
But I want to point out that there have been distressing statements and bad advertizing by both political camps. This election has been dirty no matter which side you may favor. I think this is a choice between two flawed candidates.
Personally, I worry most about the long term impact of the rapidly growing national debt. I am not happy that one-third of my Social Security check is being borrowed from China. That nation with it's enormous "loaning" power is going to own my grandchildren!
PLEASE GET EVERYONE TO THE POLES. We will decide this round of presidency there. If one doesn't work, we'll have to vote in another!

It really is like an old fashion movie:
Hero loses his last buck to a con-man.
The bank's gonna foreclose on the mortgage when (Ta DA!) Hero's kid finds a box buried in the ground and when they dig it up - it's full of gold coins.
The family gets in the truck to take the gold to the bank that was gonna foreclose on the family farm but on the way, they're stopped by outlaws who take the gold. And- (to be continued...)

Good grief! Now the myth monsters say "one-third of a social security check is borrowed from China?" Truth is China holds about eight percent of U.S. bonds. Buying a U.S. bond gives no one control over anything. It matters not one bit who holds a government's debt instruments.

Thanks for posting Nate Silver's blog. Even though the uncertainty re the storm abounds, it did my heart good to see Silver's projection from yesterday.

Here in Central Jersey...We're back! After three days without power! And two without telephones!

We didn't need food...how on earth would they even get it to us? We needed gasoline to power our generators so that the food we already had in our fridges and freezers didn't rot.

The gasoline stations needed generators in order to pump the gasoline that we needed.

When they told us that we might not get our power back until next week I was worried about voting.

Ronni on your map Minnesota should be light blue. Obama and Romney are within one % point. Obama 48%, Romney 47%, and undecided 5%. I've never seen it this close. We are also voting on an amendment making same sex marriage illegal. It's already illegal here in MN but folks seem to think there needs to be an amendment to make sure it stays that way. I am stunned that the % points for that decision is also close, as is for the voter ID that will get passed. People seem to think that requiring folks to have a state ID will protect their vote. I don't get the logic of some, it just baffles me. In all my years of being politically active I've never seen a race so ugly. But the extent of Romney's blatant lies is just off the charts. The gut wrenching thing is there are people who will vote for him despite his lies.
I can't wait for November 6th to be over. I'll vote, them come home to a quiet house. I won't even watch the returns.
Lastly, I heard on the news that Gov. Christie will have National Guard trucks out in neighborhoods without power that will be out-fitted with voting equipment. I guess he's determined to make sure people can vote.

After 73-hours without power due to Hurricane Sandy, it went back on about two hours ago.

When the lights flickered off on Monday evening, we never imagined that it would be days before we would have heat or a telephone. We could hear the wind and loud noises, but had no idea what was going on.

By dawn Tuesday, we could see trees down and some damage in our yard...two houses away there was a pine tree in the corner of their house.

We had split extra firewood last weekend, so we were able to use our fireplace for some heat. As we have gas, we were able to cook on our stove top and had hot water. It was a retro-fifties kitchen with no microwave or dishwasher, but bubbling pots and a dishpan full of dishes in the sink. The biggest problem was not opening the fridge or freezer in order to keep the food cold.

We were able to get a radio going with some D batteries and heard the news that it could be 7-10 days before we got power back. Neighbors with generators pulled them out into their driveways and we ran extension cords house-to-house to just keep sump pumps and fridges and freezers going.

By Wednesday we realized that we would need gasoline to keep the generators going, so some neighbors took the empty gas cans, found some open roads, and got into blocks-long lines for hours at the few stations that had the power to run their pumps.

This evening, just as we were settling in for the night...the lights came on! We cranked up the heat, rolled up the extension cords, and got onto Time Goes By to check in with our friends!

So glad to hear from you, SusanG. What an adventure. I heard from a friend in the blacked-out portion of Manhattan who said he learned something - that you don't die without access to the internet.

Donna - what a great idea from Chris Christie about trucks with voting equipment. I hope they do something similar in New York.

BTW, an item that proved useful on many levels was our two clip-on book lights.

Aside from being able to read, you could attach them to your clothes to have a portable hands-free light for other tasks and moving around the house. Additionally, they made great night-lights.

Dear Gabby Geezer, I apologize for my "myth monster"statement. I guess China isn't all of the problem, but I stand by the problem of 1/3 of every dollar spent being borrowed. There are two facts you seem to ignore: someone loaned you and me the money…it is real debt; and second, the fastest growing part of the budget is interest payments on that debt. I would hate to see interest become a new "entitlement program." I guess you don't deal with today's banks or credit agencies, but they certainly have an effect on debt holders. Somehow borrowing from my grandchildren doesn't ride well with me. Apparently it doesn't bother you. I'm sorry to hear about your sense of values! Bea Romaine

Good for you Bea Romaine! Some
one who seems to realize just how dangerous our financial situation is and how frightening! As a life-long Democrat who are these people who don't think food donations
are needed? I have been working as a volunteer in a wealthy area of the country for over 12 years and the need has increased dramatically! And Pampers ARE
needed by destitute mothers!
Get out and volunteer for the disadvantaged and homeless and stop whining about insults referring to your age! I'm 84 and very busy and never condescended to because of my age--I do something!

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