As Hurricane Gustav draws a bead on the Gulf Coast, Barack Obama is offering his assistance.
First, the Democratic presidential nominee decided against an early trip to areas that will be affected by the storm. In our estimate, that is the correct choice. A political swing through New Orleans (at this point) would be unseemly, and divert attention away from on-going preparations.
Senator Obama has also offered to activate his e-mail list and solicit donations from campaign contributors. Again, we can't disagree with that choice, although a comparison of donations should be interesting. Studies have shown that liberals give less than conservatives, so we wonder how Obama's supporters would actually donate.
The candidate also suggested that he could mobilize "thousands" of volunteers to "travel down there if it becomes necessary." That strikes us as a bad and potentially dangerous idea; responding to a disaster is a job for professionals, and plenty of civilian and military experts have been mobilized for this operation. We're not sure what the Obama volunteers could contribute, other than scoring a few political points.
Senator Obama refused to directly criticize John McCain's visit to Mississippi today but he did take an indirect swipe, wondering if "security requirements" pull resources away from the local mission.
For the record, Senator McCain and his running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin paid a brief visit to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency command post near Jackson, at the invitation of Haley Barbour. It's difficult to see how their stopover might have impeded operations at the command center, or the evacuation of residents from coastal regions.
At one point today, Mr. Obama also expressed hope that evacuation buses would arrive "before the storm," and not "after," as they did during Katrina. Apparently, someone forgot to tell the Oracle of Invesco Field that the overland evacuation had already been underway for more than 24 hours, and the last trains and buses for points north left New Orleans at mid-afternoon.
Send your money, Senator Obama, but hold off on those volunteers, and don't worry about the buses. The adults are in charge and doing just fine, thank you.
From glee the Republicans would have their convention coverage overshadowed by Gustav, Democrats are now seeing Republicans are getting excellent exposure handling things competently. Bobby Jindal, in particular is a shining light with the press oohing and aahing over him. Haley Barbour is getting great exposure also. There are nothing but Republican governors in the war zone and they are inviting McCain to get on camera. Whoopee!
Obama is trying to play big boy and looks like a twerp. Well he is.
Next, the Troofers will be saying, it's all a set up. Bush arranged the hurricane and aimed it at New Orleans to gain positive exposure for the party. We all know he did the same thing three years ago to displace blacks to swing the state Republican.
So, if Senator Obama does not want to visit Louisiana because the visit would be too disruptive to the work going on, does that mean that as President he would not make such visits for the same reason?
Is that not the same reason why President Bush did not immediately visit the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina? For which he was excoriated by the press and the Democrats?
Would this mean that the Senator is now in agreement with the Bush decision to not visit New Orleans? And that the Press should be as critical of the Senator as it was of the President?
Good post and great comments. It's sad that the state of acrimony in today's politics is such that we can't even seem to work together to get ready for, and respond to, a natural disaster. Instead, the political parties are using it to try to gain points. What happened to America working for Americans?
America is working for Americans, politicians are working for politicians (as usual).
After 9/11 I wasn't able to help because I was untrained - and they had more then enough untrained do-gooders, so I went I got some training.
I've been a member of CERT (Community Energency Response Team) since 2002, CERT Teams are currently supporting the Gustav evacuation by setting up and manning Shelters and inprocessing points.
Untrained political wanna-be hacks are NOT welcome.
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