I said yesterday in one of the Hurricane threads that, while I detest the politics of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) otherwise, I find his response and handling of disasters to be spot on. His assholish schtick is exactly what is needed during these disasters, for there are always idiots who stay behind, ignore warnings, and then get in trouble requiring rescue, risking even more lives. These assholes who never listen to authorities need to be treated, publicly, like assholes, and Chris Christie does that, early and often. And I like it.
Since his state has been ground zero for the landfall of Hurricane Superstorm Sandy, Governor Christie has been all over the national media last night and today. He just spoke to Matt Lauer this morning, and when Lauer asked about the competence and efficiency of the federal response, Christie said it’s been “great,” noting that he spoke directly to President Obama at midnight and FEMA again this morning. Christie said Obama “has been outstanding.” On CBS, Christie said “cooperation from the president of the United States has been outstanding. He deserves great credit.”
Yesterday, on our local news out of Philadelphia, during a news conference in the late afternoon, Christie had this to say: “[The President] told me that if, at any point over the next 48 hours, I was not getting something from the federal government that I should call him directly at the White House and that he was going to be there. And I should just not worry about dealing with anybody else, call him. So I appreciate that call from the president. It was very proactive. And I appreciate that type of leadership.”
Lawrence O’Donnell said yesterday on MSNBC after the President’s press statement that the campaign for the White House has effectively ended a week early, given that news of this disaster, and especially the news out of New York this morning, will dominate the coverage for the rest of the week. Both candidates are going to be hard pressed to be political. For one candidate, it is because to do so would be unseemly and craven. For the other, it is because he has more important issues to attend to, like handling this crisis and coordinating disaster response among the various states affected. It really does put Romney, the former candidate I was talking about, in a difficult situation, especially when a popular Republican and nationally known Governor is offering spontaneous and effusive praise for the President in his handling of this situation.