Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Obama, Republicans, Isaac and Optics

As I drove to work this morning, I heard a report on the radio that discussed President Obama’s plans during the first few days of this week, as the Republican National Convention (RNC) takes place. The reporter said that Obama had remained low key yesterday, but today would be in a couple locations on the campaign trail.

Isn’t there a bit of a longstanding tradition in presidential politics, in which one party allows the other to take center stage during their convention? …The Los Angeles Times says so.

When George W. Bush was president, and the destruction in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina became more apparent, blame was instantly assigned by the media. Bush was said to be not only at fault for the government’s inability to assist the people of New Orleans, but he was also said to be completely uncompassionate.

If I remember correctly, there was an issue of skin color discussed a lot, and how Bush simply didn’t care about Black people. That discussion was held more prominently in far-left circles like Huffington Post and MSNBC... oh, and celebrity music mogul Kanye West may have mentioned it, but that's okay because we all know conservatives are racist, right?

But I digress.

And the “mainstream media” certainly did not look at the irresponsibility of New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, who had fleets of school buses at his disposal and let them sit there and be destroyed with the rest of his “Chocolate City.”

After all there was a Republican to be destroyed, and Mayor Nagin led the charge. Mistakes by local authorities were readily passed off on the federal government, and the media was as happy as could be to write that narrative loud and clear.

So.. please help me understand, because I’m just not seeing ‘fairness’ here. We know a monstrous hurricane is headed directly toward the mouth of the Mississippi. We know people in charge need to be completely at the ready, and since there is likely to be need for federal assistance I might say that could include President Obama. After all, isn’t Obama the President who is asking us to put our faith in him and the government to always be there for us?

Reports are surfacing that New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu has decided not to order mandatory evacuations. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has cautioned that “this storm will present its own unique set of challenges.”

My question is simple. As we pray for the best, what will happen if all goes wrong and disaster strikes New Orleans? Who do you think will get the blame? Your choices are Democrat Mayor Landrieu, Republican Governor Jindal, and President Obama. I'm going out on a limb, and I'm going to say Bobby Jindal will receive the lion’s share of the media directed responsibility for any and all failures. President Obama, not so much to blame in the eyes of the mainstream media.

We know that during Katrina, George W. Bush was a horrible manager, because that’s what the media told us. The fact that FEMA was completely unprepared for the calamity they were handed wasn’t so much about the size of the storm as it was about Bush’s unpreparedness and inability to lead. Bush was unprepared, incompetent, uncaring… and dare I say racist.

George W. Bush made an optical and logistical mistake by taking Air force One and the Presidential caravan to the middle of a disaster, but it is my belief that just like September 11, 2001 he wanted to be there for the people who needed their leader most.

I don’t expect President Obama to fly to New Orleans, but seriously… our President will be out on the campaign trail while people may suffer along the gulf coast? Media, are you paying attention???

And shall we discuss the media already having to debate the optics of the Republicans continuing to hold their convention? For the Republicans, it could be an optical disaster, I have heard said in more than one place. How dare they have their party for Romney while people are suffering the threat and aftermath of a hurricane?

But the business of campaigning for Obama’s reelection must go on, so our President will hit the stump and we should not question.

Perhaps while he is out campaigning, President Obama can talk about the memory of Katrina, and how he is so concerned about the folks in that region. I guess that will be good enough… because there’s nothing quite like drumming up an old George W. Bush memory, telling people you care, and having a fawning media report your narrative for you, and not even raise one question about the optics of the situation.

And hey, media – I apologize in advance if I am wrong about you, but let’s be honest… you don’t have a very good track record of providing equal coverage to both sides of the political aisle.


jay son said...

"...our president will be out on the campaign trail while people are suffering..."

how is this any different than the 18-20 vacations, 70 plus golf outings and white house concert series this guy has enjoyed over the last three and a half years, while all of AMERICA suffers?

when somebody else is paying, it's easy to party like a rock star.

Soloman said...

jay, you way underestimate the number of golf outings. on Father's Day it was reported that he hit the 100 round milestone.

and certainly i agree with you in principle.. i was being very specific for the obvious reason of the counter-argument to the media meme about Bush in 2005 and Romney/RNC this year.

but you knew that, i'm guessing. thanks for saying hi... hope all's well with you.