So Hurricane Sandy (now a post-tropical storm) has devastated the northeastern portion of the United States, inflicting massive damage via wind, rain and snow. New York is a mess, New Jersey is an official emergency state, and places like Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky have seen as much as a foot of snow (and are likely to see more). Seventeen have been confirmed dead so far, and millions are without power or basic services.
Naturally, this is the perfect time to talk politics.
- How big of an advantage will President Obama gain by overseeing the storm's aftermath? He's going to be working feverishly, I'm sure, to guarantee that the people most affected by Sandy's wrath are given every type of assistance possible. Will people see that as him being presidential, thus giving him an upswing? Or might some people see it as him leveraging a national crisis by potentially buying votes with public funds?
- Will the storm affect voter turnout in the New York/New Jersey area? Honestly, most people have a hard time getting off work to go vote in the best of circumstances. Will people who are trying to put their lives back together really feel that compelled to drag themselves to the polls to cast a ballot? Will Sandy produce a "Big Picture" malaise that might turn the election?
- Only a moron would try campaigning during a time of national crisis, and both campaigns have called off events in the damaged areas and gone dormant for a bit. Of course, the president's campaign isn't completely inactive because he is busy being the president, which means his name and his actions are being seen and heard by anyone watching the news. But how will this affect Mitt Romney's campaign? He risks a steep tumble in the polls if he's perceived as trying to capitalize on a national emergency; how will a temporary stop in his overall campaign affect his overall numbers?
- And lastly, after months of rhetoric, hyperbole, spin, and good old fashioned mud-flinging, we're reminded that the fate of our nation is always tied to the fate of her people. After seeing the destructive power of nature on our shores, are we as the American people really going to be able to stomach two men claiming that if elected they will be able to solve our national problems, when quite clearly there is always more at stake in our world than any one man can control?
Just some thoughts for a Pot-Stirring Tuesday. Of course, the biggest Pot-Stir will be the fact that I even wrote about politics while so many of our fellow citizens struggle to find their footing this morning. For that, I offer my sincerest apologies.
May those affected by Sandy be found safe, secure and well-cared for.