Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One Thing Is For Certain


(CBS/AP) NEW ORLEANS - Hurricane Isaac knocked out power, flooded Gulf-front roads and pushed water over the top of an 18-mile section of a rural Louisiana levee before dawn Wednesday as it began a slow, wet slog across the state with a newly fortified New Orleans in its path.

Wind gusts and sheets of rain pelted the nearly empty streets of New Orleans, where people watched the incoming Isaac from behind levees that were strengthened after the much stronger Hurricane Katrina hit seven years ago to the day.

Water pushed by the large and powerful storm flooded over an 18-mile stretch of one levee in Plaquemines Parish south of New Orleans, flooding some homes in a thinly populated area. No injuries were reported.

"When this is over, I think we need to check the wind speeds because I lost a good portion of my roof, my fence is down, and water is blowing through the sockets in my house from the back wall," Parish President Billy Nungesser said in a phone call to CBS New Orleans affiliate WWL. "That only happened in Katrina."

If ever there was a divine warning to hubris and calumny, it is this: that Isaac devastated the same coastline and regions that Katrina did, just seven years ago.

I don't need to tell you, the reader, of the exposure to the Bush management style that created: bungling patricianism, arms-length leadership, and a blatant disregard for the suffering of working class Americans (oh, happy birthday, Senator McCain!).

This is happening at the precipice of a change in Republican party politics. That party is at a crossroads: will they capitulate to the haranguing Teabaggers or begin to pull away from them? If I was asked that a month ago, I'd say they're all in, but in the past week, there have been many pieces, some from unusual sources, saying "Basta!"

Perhaps they aren't clarion calls for a party purge-- which would make for great television, since that's what the Teabaggers want, too-- but they are an acknowledgement that things have gone south..literally...for the party born of rebellion against the Whigs.

Naturally, the interjection of Isaac will dampen down the proceedings, and distract the viewing audience from the message the RNC has crafted. Imagine flooding on the scale of Katrina, juxtaposed with all those bright, shining faces in Tampa. The memories of 2005 loom large. The RNC would not want to be seen as smiling through a tragedy.
Too, Mitt's message on the economy, which he will have to craft carefully-- devoted family man who's destroyed millions of American families to add another dollar to his Cayman bank account will somehow find jobs for twenty million Americans-- is a difficult enough message for most Americans when they don't have the tragic spectacle of people surviving on rooftops to switch over to the instant he loses their attention.
And, of course, President Obama will have no choice but to fly down to the Gulf coast to inspect the damage and look all Presidential in doing so.
For his part, Obama has played this summer nearly perfectly but in fairness, he's had to do practically nothing: an agreement with Israel there, buying up surplus agricultural products from drought-ravaged farmers here, and just generally keep the focus on Mitt's myriad faux pas.
When your adversary is drowning, don't throw him a life preserver. Good political advice.
Mark Halperin, who usually talks out of his ass (and in this instance, mostly did) posted one piece of cogent advice in Time Magazine this week:

With Mitt Romney locked in a tough fight for the White House, Republican strategists inside and outside his campaign are mentally composing a long to-do list for the former Massachusetts governor to bolster his chances on Election Day ...

Foremost on that list: Make an impression. Romney must introduce himself to the wider electorate during the convention in Tampa with a killer acceptance speech that keeps voters and the press talking all the way through his rival's oration in Charlotte, N.C.

As noted, that's going to be next to impossible with Isaac churning up the levees of New Orleans and environs. Even if Romney was capable of a "killer acceptance speech," with teleprompter, no doubt, it will get lost in translation.

One more thing: Romney may have gotten lucky with the storm in one respect. The introduction speech by Ann Romney contained this gem.

He will take us to a better place, just as he took me home safely from that dance.

Talking about when she and Mitt met. So her raison d'etre for a Romney Presidency is, she didn't get date-raped? Wow. Simply wow.