Hurricane Sandy was serious business. As we well know here in Louisiana, even a Category 1 storm can produce quite a wallop, as when Louisiana was struck this year by Hurricane Isaac.
In Sandy, though, there’s a particular complication: She arrives in the midst of the last week of a hotly contested national election. Campaign events for both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney were canceled in Virginia — a major battleground state — and elsewhere along the East Coast.
In Washington, even hunkered down for a Sandy visit, there’s political speculation about everything, including the impact of this late-season storm. The conventional wisdom is that it favors Obama, who can be First Responder in Chief even if campaign events are scuttled for a few days.
We are very familiar in Louisiana with hurricanes, but also with hurricane response by state officials. Gov. Bobby Jindal, often at odds with Obama on many issues, has several times benefited politically from the same role as the president now gets an opportunity to play.
Not least, Obama benefits from the hard lessons that the federal government underwent in the disastrous 2005 storms in Louisiana, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
If the Rose Garden is awfully wet from the hurricane, it’s still a political strategy to work there, very visibly doing one’s job. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency and others doing the work are better-placed to help than before the disasters of Katrina and Rita.