KELLY: Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy victims is a national disgrace

Will you remember the victims of Hurricane Sandy on Election Day? President Obama seems to have forgotten them. Photo: AP

CHICAGO, November 5, 2012 – Managing the aftermath of a natural disaster has become a benchmark for political leadership: It can make or break a presidential re-election effort.

Yes, President Obama visited New Jersey’s ravaged coast two days after the storm made landfall. President Bush’s detractors counted four days before he visited New Orleans after Katrina.  

But is this any real measure of leadership? Is a president’s mettle determined by how quickly he can snare a photo opp with Gov. Chris Christie?  

Sandy’s victims are not amused, Mr. President.  

Now seven days later, nearly 2 million people in New York and New Jersey are still without power. A cold snap has moved in, plunging temperatures down to the low 30s, adding to the misery of the thousands upon thousands of East Coast residents without heat or electricity.  

According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, more than 30,000 - 40,000 people in New York alone will need to be relocated but to where?  

And another powerful storm is set to hit the coast mid-week.

This isn’t rural New Orleans – these are metropolitan and suburban areas with significant infrastructure.  There is simply no excuse for what is happening to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.   

This isn’t some desolate, poverty-stricken third world country. This is supposed to be America, the wealthiest, most powerful country on Earth and the most power city in the country. 

In the dark shadow of the presidential election, there is real humanitarian crisis afoot; one that calls into question the federal government’s basic competency in times of crisis.

It also calls into question President Obama’s competency.  

New York emergency workers are still finding more dead bodies as they go door-to-door in Staten Island, where angry residents charge they have been ‘forgotten about.’ 

Looting is widespread. Gas shortages are firing tempers.   No one is providing answers or solutions.  

Along the Coast, victims are struggling to find basic necessities and to avoid hypothermia as the power outrage continues.  “The power just came on today,” says Jesus Alaniz, an Illinois resident with friends on Long Island. “Basic necessities including food, water and blankets are still a problem. People are being told to go on line for FEMA assistance but they have no Internet connections.”  

Another victim, who lives in New Jersey and contacted me via Facebook, says she is worried about the looting and freezing temperatures.  

“I’m scared of so many things. The nor’eastern coming, above ground wires, the trees around our house, the looting going on, lack of order, of why certain areas never lost power, some did, how the grids work, and how will they cope when winter comes,” said the woman, a resident of Howell Township, New Jersey.

She also worries about the food supply shortage. “Our house has been freezing cold especially at night. It got down to the low 30s. Our grocery stores are so limited on food and water. Can’t buy anything around here that is dairy or frozen since everything spoiled.”  

The woman forwarded me an email notice sent to residents Saturday from Howell Township Mayor Robert J. Walsh. It reveals the frustration and powerlessness of victims:  

We still have over 10,000 Howell Township residents without power. We have, and continue to work aggressively, pressuring JCPL to provide us with estimated times for restoration. They are not providing any information with regards to timelines or specific neighborhoods. We continue to actively pursue all avenues to get accurate information and will inform you once it is obtained. We share in everyone’s frustration as most of us enter day 6 with no power.  

So what does President Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy say about his leadership to date?  

It says that the President does not know how to lead or manage or govern. It says that he is more cynical than he lets on; that he is more concerned about the artifice of caring but not what it embodies.

It says that his focus is on his re-election effort while Sandy’s huddled masses go without, forgotten and abandoned.

President Obama has been campaigning in the battleground states. But Sandy’s victims are fighting a battleground of the federal government’s making – a battleground of indifference, red tape, and preening politicians.

President Obama has failed the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

But his Bigger Government has failed them too.    

William J. Kelly is an Emmy award-winning TV producer and conservative columnist. He is also a contributor to the American Spectator and Breitbart.com. He is a native from Chicago’s Southside.

Email questions to him at williamjkelly@gmail.com. Find him on Facebook/Williamjpkelly 

Read more of Bill Kelly’s Truth Squad in The Communities at the Washington Times

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William Kelly

 

Conservative commentator, satirist, and radio talk show host William J. Kelly pens the “Kelly Truth Squad” and “The Tea Party Report” for the Washington Times Communities and is a contributor to the American Spectator and Breitbart.com. Kelly is also a producer of Emmy award-winning TV and received an Emmy nomination himself for outstanding achievement on-camera. He was previously the Executive Director of the National Taxpayers United of Illinois, a taxpayer watchdog group. He is a native of Chicago’s South side. For more information, visit www.kellytruthsquad.com.

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