Orkan Sandy je najboljša kampanja za zmago Obame

Orkan Sandy, ki je predvčerajšnjim pustošil po vzhodni obali ZDA, se je – paradoksalno – preobrnil v najboljšo kampanjo za predsednika Obamo. Obama je šest dni pred volitvami odpovedal vse predvolilne nastope in se raje napotil v New Jersey, da bi na samem kraju naravne katastrofe spremljal in usmerjal ukrepe za odpravo njenih posledic. Pri tem mu je, še en paradoks, dal javno podporo guverner Chris Christie, eden najvidnejših republikancev in podpornikov konkurenta Mitta Romneya.

“I have to give the president credit,” said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a top backer of Republican candidate Mitt Romney. “He’s done, as far as I’m concerned, a great job for New Jersey.”

Christie’s outpouring of praise seemed to find no end on Tuesday on TV talk shows and Twitter — the whole morning after the catastrophe. His message? “I don’t give a damn about Election Day after what happened here.” Christie, a major political force, is well-liked in America.

Asked by Fox News on Tuesday if Romney might tour the disaster zone, Christie brushed the question aside by noting that 2.4 million were without electricity in his state and saying, “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested,” he said. “I’ve got a job here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics, and I could care less about any of that stuff.” The subtext of his messages seemed to be that Romney would only be getting in the way if he came.

Obama, for his part, has cancelled all of his election campaign appearances scheduled for Wednesday so that he can concentrate fully on the victims of the super storm, acting as the country’s Commander in Chief rather than a man in the final leg of an election campaign. Even so, what Christie is doing to boost Obama’s image on Tuesday and Wednesday is better than anything a stump speech could do for his languishing campaign.

Spiegel, 31.10.2012

Po neuspešnem prvem TV soočenju, ki je vrnila Romneya nazaj v igro, se zdaj zdi predsedniška tekma skorajda odločena. Obama se je, za razliko od Busha ml. v primeru orkana Katrina, ki je opustošila New Orleans in razgalila brezdušnost vladne administracije, izkazal kot pravi krizni menedžer. Pri tem pa ne smemo spregledati pomembnega dejstva. Ena izmed prvih stvari, ki jih je Obama naredil na začetku mandata, je bilo povečanje vloge Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), ki ima trenutno $7.8 milijard sredstev za odpravljanje posledic naravnih nesreč. Še enkrat toliko pa jih lahko dobi v primeru potreb iz proračuna.

Na drugi strani pa je Romney zašel v težave z branjenjem svoje pozicije iz lanskega leta, ko je zagovarjal, da bi morali zmanjšati zvezne izdatke za odpravljanje posledic naravnih nesreč in dati večjo vlogo posameznim državam ter zasebnemu sektorju.

This week, Romney dodged a reporter’s question about whether he would eliminate FEMA, but reporters at a number of publications, including the New Yorker and the New York Times, have interpreted Romney’s previous statements as meaning he thought FEMA should be eliminated.

If anything, the current disaster, which has directly or indirectly affected the around 60 million Americans who live on the East Coast and has caused the deaths of at least 40 people, shows that the “big government” that is so vilified by many Republicans actually makes a lot of sense — if it operates effectively.

After all, Sandy is a painful reminder of what can happen to a country if too much is left to free market forces. Due to the lack of public investment, America’s infrastructure has become so vulnerable that millions can lose access to electricity for days at a time, countless streets and railway tracks are unable to withstand the forces of nature, communications networks collapse, an aging nuclear power plant has difficulty coping with rising water levels and others have to be shut down. In an editorial, the New York Times on Tuesday commented, “A big storm requires big government.”

Spiegel, 31.10.2012

Kakorkoli, dogajanja v ZDA se zdijo, da gredo gredo v pravo smer. Prav tovrstne boleče preizkušnje kažejo, da vsaka država potrebuje dobro in učinkovito organizirano javno infrastrukturo v najširšem pomenu besede. In Barack Obama se zdi trenutno edini, ki je ZDA sposoben vrniti delček te socialne in javne dimenzije.

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