I know I risk having Kos folk jump down my throat for even hinting that some will play politics with what is shaping up to be a nasty natural disaster, but I am 100% sure that both the Obama and Romney campaigns are busy doing their political calculus of how this October surprise will affect the race, and how they should calibrate their actions.
President Obama, aka "The Federal Government", also faces the much greater burden of actually preparing and mobilizing the country for this disaster during the home stretch of his campaign, whereas Romney will be free to snipe and second-guess from the sidelines, as he did with Benghazi, and with our friends in foreign countries on his disastrous "diplomacy" tour.
Follow me below the Orange Cloud for my thoughts on why Hurricane Sandy will swing momentum towards Obama in the last week before voting day:
1. Trumping all else is the natural human inclination to rally around our trusted leaders in times of crisis. Remember all the fake "terror alerts" BushCo pulled during the eight years post-911? Obama has proven unequivocally that he is a calm and sober captain in a storm, and most of you will remember that the 2008 polling broke sharply towards Obama during the financial crisis in the final days of the campaign. A rapid, coordinated response to Hurricane Sandy will revitalize that latent positive image.
2. Similarly, recent Republicans have been notoriously inept at handling hurricanes - both Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. paid a heavy political price for their aloof response to Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina respectively. Sandy will help remind the undecided electorate that Romney represents a sharp U-turn back to Bush-era laissez-faire policies.
3. Natural disasters tend to bring out the best in us. Hurricane Sandy relief efforts will help underscore the primary plank of the Democratic platform - namely, we're in this together. Compare and contrast with Romney's primary mission of destroying most public agencies, services and safety nets. This lack of empathy will be amplified if Obama suspends his campaign and Romney doesn't.
4. The media will focus their attention on the hurricane, effectively "freeze-drying" the campaign dynamics where it stands today. Most polls indicate that Obama's support is holding up well in the states that matter, so anything that mutes the fake reporting to the contrary (yes, Chuck Todd, I'm talking to you...) will be useful.
I am fervently hoping that Sandy will be an over-hyped fizzle, but assuming it's not, I can't help but think it will create a moment of pause and reflection on the real-world implications of what this election is about i.e. do we want a government and a President that seeks to make a positive impact in the lives of everyday citizens, or a plutocrat that seeks only to help the rich get richer?