November 3, 2012

NEW YORK –  “It’s an ill wind that blows no good,” goes an old sailor’s saying.  Meaning: some profit even from ill fortune.

Hurricane Sandy (a silly name for a monster storm that killed at least 62 people and caused $20 billion damage) ravaged coastal New Jersey and inflicted huge water and wind damage on parts of New York City.

New York is struggling to restore power systems, its subway, and airports.  Landfill areas in lower Manhattan were swamped.

There is traffic chaos and wide scale transportation misery in a city so maddeningly congested its former traffic commissioner, Samuel Schwartz, was known as “Gridlock Sam.”  As a native New York, I’m proud of the way my city rode out the storm and didn’t succumb to media induced-panic.

However much the big wind blew ill for New York and neighbor New Jersey,  it blew fair for the politicians of those states and, most of all, President Barack Obama – just days before next week’s neck-a-neck presidential election.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina inflicted biblical destruction of New Orleans and on the then bumbling president, George W. Bush.  The storm showed him up as a posturing, incompetent dummy; it also badly damaged the Republican Party.  Once a hero to many Americans, Bush has become a non-person in this election,  shunned by Republicans who pretend he never existed.

Every politician worth his salt took notice of this lesson and made sure they would appear to be on top of any and all  natural disasters.   In the case of Sandy, President Obama, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg formed a managerial troika that brought them much praise.

By contrast, Sandy blew ill for Gov. Mitt Romney. His campaign  was pretty much off TV for three days while Obama hogged center stage.

In another blow,  Romney had to eat his campaign vow to shut down the Federal emergency management agency, FEMA.  Unlike the New Orleans fiasco, FEMA is responding rapidly and effectively to Sandy’s damage, leaving Romney with much explaining to do to voters clamoring for FEMA help.

At some point in the future, voters may begin asking why the world’s richest nation can afford to spend $2 trillion waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan (never mind Yemen, Somalia,  Uganda, North Africa, and Pakistan), while it can’t build proper storm defenses for its coastal cities?

After leaving the ravaged New Jersey coast and New York City,  a much weakened Hurricane Sandy headed up into Pennsylvania and Ohio, both key battleground states in the coming election.

In recent weeks,  Romney has moved up  in the polls. They show him within a whisker of Obama.  Equally important,  Republicans in Congressional races across the nation appear to be leading Democrats in many cases, suggesting that the House could remain in Republican hands.  This might allow Republicans to block attempts by Democrats to raise taxes and cut military spending.

Romney has wisely moved to the political center.  Gone, at least for now, are his warlike drum beating,  blood brotherhood with Israel’s fire-eating Bibi Netanyahu, threats to criminalize abortion, and pandering to America’s  god, guns and gasoline-loving blue collar voters.  A kinder, gentler Romney has emerged who scares off less female voters than the old macho Mormon version.

In fact, Romney and Obama have emerged as political twins, as each has moved to the center.   Comics have been having a field day comparing the platitudes of the two – who at times seem to share the same script writer.  Increasing numbers of critics are complaining that the US has become a de facto one party state.

Which makes the current US presidential race eerily resemble China’s political structure and upcoming once–in-a–decade party congress:  an all-powerful political party with two competing factions, both obedient to the same principles.

Heretics advocating real change,  like China’s Maoist-leaning Bo Xilai, and America’s Ron Paul, are sidelined and ignored by the state or special interest-dominated media.

Americans fed up with both presidential candidates and their look-alike parties are left with little choice except to write the name of their preferred candidate for president onto the ballot or vote for some totally obscure candidates.   Many think the nation needs a political Hurricane Sandy to shake things up.



copyright  Eric S. Margolis 2012





This post is in: USA


  1. Mike Smith says:

    As dik posted the other Spiegel article, I will post this one….

    Americans Don’t Want The Truth In US Election, He Who Lies Wins

    Vote Romney video… Brilliant

  2. Most of the similarities between Obama and Romney have been manufactured by the Romney team to win over undecided voters. Maybe the US can survive a Romney/Ryan administration birthed on all their lies and deceit. But for the majority of citizens (i.e. women) either one of two things will happen: the Christian coalition will prevail and women’s rights will head back to the dark ages, or women will mobilize like they did in the 1920’s and stamp out these monstrous sexist creeps who continue to attempt to dictate terms – open field for rapists, wage discrimination, forced pregnancies and intrusive physical examinations, heck, maybe they can even rescind a woman’s right to vote. Then they can start going after the Mexicans, Muslims, and anybody else the Christian right loves to hate. They are haters with plastic phoney smiles of appeasement designed first to beguile, then to crush. Don’t be fooled by their rhetoric. Obama has his problems but he and his administration would never capitulate to this self-serving self-righteous dictatorship of sexism.

    • solum temptare possumus says:

      Watching on sunday morning “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”, I was relieved to here the predictions of the panelists. All agreed that President Obama had at least 272 Electoral Colllege votes and would retain the Presidency.
      Many of the conversation was around the suburbs of Philadelphia in a key state, Pennsylvania. One of my favorite political analysts, “Cokie Roberts” said she will be watching the Women’s Vote in these critical ridings. It may all come down to the Women! Thank God!
      Another key state is Ohio which has bled the most Industrial sector jobs of any state in the last decade. One factory that makes parts for Chrysler and GM is owned by Bain Financial, the company built by Romney. The company, told the workers that their jobs were going to China and to add insult to injury, they shipped the Chinese workers to the plant so they could be trained by the people that would lose their jobs.
      Romney has no comment but it is certain that he still has ties to Bain Capital. He is the antithesis of “Put American Workers First”.
      I for one do not Trust him and anything he says is layered in obfuscation.
      ad iudicium

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