In contrast, Mitt Romney received vilificaton by MSNBC’s Martin Bashir and Andrea Mitchell. Both accused him of using relief efforts to disguise a campaign rally.
They made no such accusations of President Obama, even though his responses to disasters have become markedly more visible the closer he has come to Election Day. Photos and video footage show a president literally sprinting in a bomber jacket. But such images are quite a change from the glowing presentations of a glamorous host of parties in 2009, even as millions were devastated by an ice storm.
In the final week of this election season, in the midst of an ongoing recession and surrounded by a foreign policy failure that at least one commentator has called treason, Obama was eager to show his command of the situation. He held a press conference before the storm had even landed, gaining the criticism of former FEMA director Michael Brown. The White House released a photo of the situation room, prompting the Drudge Report to imply through a headline that no such activity was displayed in a situation room on the night of the Benghazi attack.
Yet, residents of the New York area devastated by the hurricane have reportedly been scavenging in dumpsters for food. Looting and violence are reported. While there seemed to be opportune time for President Obama’s photo ops in the “situation room,” FEMA could not seem to get it together enough to gather supplies, like water, for residents.
Although Obama threw the words “we won” in the faces of Republicans seeking to negotiate in 2009, in 2012 Obama showed bipartisan love for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, with an hour-long helicopter ride over the devastated areas, inspiring some to term the new bipartisanship a “bromance.” The over-the-top praise coming from Christie was reciprocated by Obama.
Back in early 2009, when reelection was far off in the distance, as a devastating ice storm hit Kentucky and Tennessee, Obama’s reaction was quite different. This headline in PJ Media says it all: “Ice Storms Strike the Heartland: Where’s Obama?” The president was attending the black tie Alfalfa Club dinner and a Super Bowl party. Fifty-five people died in that storm. Obama allies have used the latest weather crisis to remind voters of Romney’s remarks during the primary, shortly after a tornado hit Joplin, Missouri. They wrongly claimed that Romney wanted to eliminate FEMA entirely. In reality, Romney had proposed transferring some of the relief responsibilities to the states. But back in 2009, as Michelle Malkin noted, Obama was quite happy to let the states send out the National Guard and their own volunteers and personnel. There were no presidential helicopter rides or visits with governors. The President sat in a 77-degree Oval Office after lecturing Americans to turn down their thermostats.
Back in the heady days of 2009, Obama was more concerned with cultivating the Kennedy-esque image of “Camelot” to satisfy the fawning media, who gushed about the glamour in the White House, the parties with $100/pound wagyu steak. This came after a record-breaking expensive inauguration party, at a time when, as the president likes to remind us, we were in the greatest economic recession since the Great Depression. Then in March 2009, the Obama’s had a “date night,” just ahead of the GM bankruptcy filing. Taxpayers shelled out an estimated $250,000 for them to see a Broadway show. The Mrs.’s and kids’ trip to Spain ended up costing nearly half-a-million alone, but it was only one of the First Family’s 17 vacations.
Since those early days of his presidency Obama has morphed from being a host of parties, with a First Lady admired for her fashion sense and toned arms, to a champion of the “middle class.” In the mainstream press, Obama’s delayed response to the disastrous Gulf Oil spill in 2010 is all but forgotten. After dallying while oil gushed, Obama used the spill to declare a ban on drilling in new areas.
In May of 2011, Obama did tour the aftermath of the tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri. He came back on the one-year anniversary, as campaign season geared up, to deliver a commencement address at Joplin High School.
In the final week of the campaign, Obama has been photographed in a “situation room,” holding press conferences, touring a storm-ravaged state with a Republican governor, shaking hands with first-responders, and giving speeches in front of the governor and officials.
The tuxedo has been replaced by the bomber jacket on the campaign tour.
But the New York Times reports that those living in the less affluent boroughs suffer in the cold and dark as they look at the lights of Manhattan.
Obama has displayed his true colors by his reactions to storms and disasters. Voters should remember this recent history of the last four years. Voters should heed his words carefully. Five days before his election in 2008, Obama told us about “fundamentally transforming” America. We have learned that this was not just a rhetorical flourish.
Five days before Election Day in 2012, Obama told supporters to get “revenge” at the voting booth. In 2012, Obama’s goal is to get revenge on his enemies, namely those he disparaged to wealthy San Francisco supporters in 2008.
These enemies were called “bitter” gun-and-Bible “clingers.”
I wrote about it in 2008, in a column titled, “Yes, Barack Obama, We Are Bitter.” The gun-and-Bible clingers are the patriotic middle class Americans. We are also the children of exiles and refugees from communist countries. We have heard the stories.
Shortly after Obama’s election, I remember conversations with those who had escaped communist regimes. They wondered and despaired at the gullibility of a free people who would elect such a president.
On this Election Day we should heed the warnings of those who have experienced the outcomes of egotistical leaders who want to “transform” their countries and who rile up the masses with talk about revenge. I met such an exile this weekend, Hubert Poetschke. You can read his column here, as well as his book about growing up in occupied Poland.
We should beware a president who “transforms” himself in less than four years. Don’t let the emperor’s clothes fool you.