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Sandy and the Vote by Frank Kaufmann

Sandy and the Vote by Frank Kaufmann

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Published by: Frank Kaufmann on Nov 03, 2012
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Sandy and the Vote
Frank Kaufmann11/02/12
 The very things forbidden to “play politics” with, natural disasters, attacks on thehomeland, the murder of diplomats left exposed to militant assaults, in fact are just the opposite, bloated lode stones of politics just waiting to happen.In the thickest part of the horrors visited upon New Jersey, October 30, during theChris Christie 72 hour marathon, an off-camera journalist asked about reportsthat the GOP nominee might visit New Jersey to tour damage left in the wake of Sandy.Christie snapped back in his signature temper, "I have no idea nor am I the leastbit concerned or interested... I've got 2.4 million people out of power. I've gotdevastation on the shore. I've got floods in the northern part of my state. If youthink right now I give a damn about presidential politics then you don't know me."(http://bit.ly/PjEsLD)Fair enough. I saw that with my own eyes, snapped my head up from half payingattention. A moment. It looked real to me. That's not
 playing
politics. That
is
politics.Peggy Noonan, an important political voice, ever the lady yet fist in glove, did ALLher election day politickingin the damp wreckage of Sandy's wet and dark. Heranalysis of the big ticket endorsers (Christie, Bloomberg, and Cuomo) was doneentirely in the afterglow of assessing their Sandy performance. “Gov. ChrisChristie of New Jersey,” oozed Noonan “was his usual compelling self... This is aman knows a levee from a berm.” Yes? And? She goes on immediately toanalyze “his hearty embrace of President Obama just days before the election?”Noonan's conclusion? “Keep your friends close and your president closer.“ Andwhat thinks Ms. Noonan of Mayor Small Soda leading New Yorkers next door?“New York's mayor, Mike Bloomberg,” she says, “was sterling—a solid, unruffledgiver of information.” But the mayor had not had his bizarre epiphany at the timeof her writing. Though too late to appear in Ms. Noonan's important piece
HowFar Obama Has Fallen, t 
he Mayor did come to a decision. How?RaymondHernandez reports“Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said Thursday that HurricaneSandy had reshaped his thinking about the presidential campaign and that as aresult, he was endorsing President Obama.”Huh? We all know that New York City republicans are democrats. That's fine. I'veno problem with political sleight of hand. The good mayor can place his betswherever he likes. But he's endorsing Obama because Sandy changed his mindabout global warming? Only the enduring tragedy and great burdens still sufferedby Sandy victims prevent me from parodying this plain folly any further. At anyrate, it should be quite clear that the ban on “playing politics” with natural
Sandy and the Vote, by Frank Kaufmann, 11/02/12 page 1
 
disasters is quite truly anything but.Politicians doing and saying silly things is not news anyway.But there is a deeply serious, political matter related to Sandy. One that issobering, and which requires our determined, collective resolve to prepare forseriously.We know that Presidential elections are times that threaten the cohesion of ournational family. Much is at stake. Even in the best and most ideal votingconditions, we are in danger to fall into real tests of our process and our politicalstability.But we do not have ideal voting conditions. Sandy has shredded our chances foreven OK voting conditions. CNN's Allison Brennan opensher important report on these matters this way, “When Sandy slammed into the East Coast on Monday,it set into motion a tight time line for election officials: one week to ensure thatvoters in states from Virginia to New Hampshire would be able cast their ballotson Election Day.”Her careful and extensive analysisis a must read, showing that “power outages,flooding and snow left in the storm's wake could make [voting] impossible forvoters in some of the hardest-hit states.“Fire stations, schools, community centers and other venues were flooded ordamaged.“In other polling spots … election officials are gambling that power will berestored by Tuesday.It is beyond the purview of this brief commentary to cover the systematically laid-out implications, legal precedents, and near sure impact of Sandy's destructionwill have during this deadly serious, upcoming election.Devoted citizens whose patriotism exceeds and is more exquisite than commonpartisan obsessions need to study and review of the range of eventualitiesSandy's rage and devastation have put before us in terms of election day voting.One need think back only as recently as the Bush-Gore elections of 2000 to seehorrible cracks of intransigence and division, not healed even to this day. I recalllooking in horror to see live on my television a bunch of Florida officials runninginto a room with boxes of ballots, and locking themselves in as an angry mob of opposite side officials stood pounding and screaming outside the locked door. TheUnited States was mocked then as countries like Argentina and Iran offered tosend monitors to help protect the US voting process.
Sandy and the Vote, by Frank Kaufmann, 11/02/12 page 2

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