"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Some Thoughts on Hurricane Sandy's Political Impact II

As I said below, we don't yet know what the political impact of Sandy will be.   If headlines like this continue, Obama's narrative of being a "steady leader in a crisis" will look less and less positive for him:

Despair sets in for some Coney Island residents as living conditions deteriorate rapidly in Sandy’s wake

And Obama can't like this kind of reporting:

"We are scavenging for food like animals," said another tenant Jeffery Francis. "We are in a crisis and no one will help us. Look at us. We are misery. Everyone cares about Manhattan. No one is looking out for us. Nothing. We are Katrina."

Some of this is inevitable.  We live in an extraordinarily interdependent world, where the delivery of food and water and basic services is dependent on complex systems, computers (which run on electricity), networks, organizations, communications, transportation.   When those systems are disrupted, a degree of chaos is going to happen no matter who is in the White House or the Governor's Mansion or the Mayor's office.   And when it happens to an area of the country that has an aging infrastructure and an extraordinarily dense urban environment, the chaos is multiplied exponentially.  

But Obama made a show of being "in charge" for political purposes.   So he owns the aftermath of Sandy.   Blaming him for it wouldn't be fair, not really, but then again it wasn't fair to blame Bush for the aftermath of Katrina.  

No comments:

Post a Comment