I have never been a big fan of New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie, and if I lived in that state I would never consider voting for him. But having said that, I must also say that I admire the way he is handling the disaster caused by Hurricane Sandy. He has been on the spot with state aid to those who needed it, and he has been willing to work with anyone (regardless of their political affiliation) to get additional aid. And he has appeared with the president in the affected areas to assure the victims of the disaster that there is a unified effort to help them.
In short, he has put politics on the shelf and made the citizens of New Jersey his number one priority -- and that is exactly what any governor should do in a disaster (regardless of political party). And President Obama has done the same thing. Their interaction has been an excellent example of bipartisanship -- of putting the needs of the people above political ambition. That is really refreshing to see. Far too often these days we see politicians refusing to cooperate and putting their political ideology above the needs of the people they are supposed to serve.
Not surprisingly, there have been some on the right (like Rush Limbaugh) who have been badmouthing Governor Christie for cooperating with the president to get aid to the victims in his state. They think he should have put the presidential campaign first, and the needs of the people of New Jersey second, to help Willard Mitt Romney get elected. That is not just ridiculous, it is asinine But it is also nothing new. It is just par for the course with teabagger Republican politicians, who have viewed bipartisanship as something evil for the past few years, and refused to help the president improve the economy or create jobs. Fortunately for the people of New Jersey, Governor Christie has chosen to rise above that kind of sick behavior.
But while Governor Christie and the president chose to put the people first, Willard Mitt Romney chose a different path. He decided to use the Hurricane Sandy disaster as a photo opportunity to advance his political campaign. His campaign told the media they were turning a political rally into a disaster relief effort. They asked those coming to hear the Republican nominee to bring food and other items to donate to the Red Cross relief effort -- and when they got afraid that not enough items would be collected from supporters, they went out and bought $5,000 worth of stuff to make sure it looked good for the cameras.
The crazy part of all this is that the Red Cross could have used that $5,000 if it had been donated in cash, but cannot use (and doesn't want) the kind of donations that Willard "collected". This is not a new thing. The Red Cross has made this clear in past disasters, and even states this on their website. The kind of things Willard collected just takes Red Cross employees away from their primary task of disaster relief, and much of it is probably not needed anyway.
But Willard's campaign knew this. They just didn't care. They weren't trying to aid the disaster victims. They were orchestrating a photo opportunity to try and make their candidate look good. Unfortunately for them, it has had the opposite effect. It makes it look as though he is so callous as to try and turn a disaster affecting millions into a campaign gimmick to further his own ambitions. I guess this shouldn't surprise us, since he has repeatedly shown throughout his campaign that he doesn't really care for most Americans -- only himself and his rich friends.
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