In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the contrast is striking. On the one hand, we have a President who’s cancelled campaign stops, and who’s calling on donations to the American Red Cross instead of his campaign. As reported by the Huffington Post: “On the campaign side, Obama halted his flood of fundraising emails on Sunday, and the campaign is now using its Twitter, Facebook and campaign pages to instead urge donations to the Red Cross storm relief. He also sent out a campaign email on Monday urging supporters to heed advice from local authorities and extending an early thank you to first responders.”
On the one hand, we have a leader in President Obama.
And then we have Mitt Romney, who’s “collecting storm relief supplies” in (oh, what a coincidence) four swing states, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire – hoping, of course, for an opportunity to be photographed with an armful of blankets. Wonder if he’ll make fun of the rain slickers disaster victims are wearing.
While President Obama is casting politics to the literal winds as he aids the disaster victims, Mitt Romney is continuing to run ads that are blatantly lying about Jeep outsourcing jobs to China – despite harsh criticism from GM and Chrysler that the ads are dishonest. As GM spokesman Greg Martin commented, “We’ve clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days . . . 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.”
There he is, this nation’s would-be leader – rebuked by the industry he retroactively attempts to claim credit for saving.
While President Obama is otherwise occupied saving this nation’s people, Mitt Romney has resurrected the completely dishonest welfare ad which falsely accuses President Obama of gutting the work requirement. While President Obama’s back is turned, while he’s assuming the mantle of leadership that we entrusted to him, while he’s ignoring politics to focus on the plight of Americans, Mitt Romney is gleefully taking cheap shots.
And then there’s the disaster relief itself, in the form of FEMA. Although Mitt Romney in the past advocated turning over the responsibility of FEMA to the states and private sector, since Sandy hit he’s ignored no less than 14 questions about that stance. During the GOP primary, Romney was very clear when asked specifically about disaster relief: “We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.” Now, Romney’s camp – but not Romney himself – is assuring wary voters that, of course, Romney absolutely adores FEMA, and of course he’d never dream of chopping it up and block-granting it to the states.
Watching Mitt Romney during the past months of campaigning, one can easily see in the man the prep school boy who held down a classmate and cut his hair. One can easily see the man who casually strapped his dog to the roof of his car for a long car trip. One can easily see the man who coldly shut down plants and decimated lives in pursuit of corporate profits.
Even New Jersey Governor Chris Christie found the notion of Romney campaigning in New Jersey, under the guise of assisting disaster victims, distasteful. On Fox & Friends, Christie denied the trio on the curvy couch an opportunity to slam President Obama over his crisis leadership. When asked whether Romney would be stopping by New Jersey to say hey, Christie bluntly stated, “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I have got a job to do here in New Jersey that is much bigger than presidential politics. And I could care less about any of that stuff.”
In fact, Christie went even further than that, praising President Obama for his crisis leadership (something Mitt Romney has yet to do, nor will ever do): “I spoke to the president three times yesterday. He called me for the last time at midnight last night asking what he could do. I said, ‘If you could expedite designating New Jersey as a major disaster area that that would help us to get federal money and resources in here as quickly as possible to help clean up the damage here.’ The president was great last night. He said he would get it done. At 2 a.m., I got a call from FEMA to answer a couple of final questions and then he signed the declaration this morning. So I have to give the president great credit. He’s been on the phone with me three times in the last 24 hours. He has been very attentive, and anything that I’ve asked for, he’s gotten to me. So, I thank the president publicly for that. He has done—as far as I’m concerned—a great job for New Jersey.” (Emphasis added).
As Republicans everywhere invoke Reagan, as Mitt Romney, himself, invokes Reagan, David Stockman, Reagan’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget, calls Romney out as the fraud that he is. And the leader he’ll never be.