Obama and the campaign sleaze factor

President Obama was completely predictable in his handling of the hurricane and the campaign. The photo-op seemed to work, but the aftermath may bite him. Photo: Associated Press

CHARLOTTENovember 2, 2012 — They say that timing – and maybe perception – is everything.

As the 2012 presidential campaign sprints to the finish, the ultimate outcome of the election may boil  down to image.

It our 24/7 news cycle world, where opinions and attitudes can change in mere seconds, the devastating effects of Sandy could be old news by the time election day rolls around.

In fairness, there is really little Barack Obama can do to relieve the catastrophic damage of the hurricane, either physically or emotionally, in the northeast. He made the obligatory photo-op appearance in New Jersey with Governor Chris Christie. He listened to the horror stories of victims who lost everything. He offered to make Washington as available and bureaucracy-free as possible.

Beyond that, a president can only offer support and comfort to grieving people who have seen their lives forever changed in such a situation. In fact, the best thing a president can do is to get out of the way and let the clean-up process move forward as efficiently as humanly possible.

The president did all of the above. He “acted” presidential. He responded. He made his appearance for the cameras, and then he got the hell out of dodge.

Obama loves to boast about the transparency of his presidency, and the events leading up to the hurricane and beyond were glaringly transparent. It was clear from the moment the storm began to surge toward the coast that the president would sequester himself until it was time to make a pronouncement to the nation the following day.

Then came the photo-op with Christie and, finally, as expected, he was jetting off to four campaign events to do what was really foremost in his mind, getting re-elected.

Sandy was devastating. Its damage is incremental with each passing day. In a densely populated region where millions of people have been affected, it is only natural for them to want relief as quickly as possible. But the logistics of that task are monumental. Overwhelming.

Sadly we live in an age where we expect immediate solutions. It is natural to focus upon the extremely personal nature of such devastation, and the least bit of assistance offered to one individual can be immediately misinterpreted as preferential treatment by another.

Residents of the northeast live in the media hub on the country, if not the world. That microscope of attention magnifies the situation through radio, television and newspapers. Five days after the storm, current victims of Sandy have forgotten about the trauma in the south from Katrina and the weeks those people went without basic necessities of life. They understandably want immediate satisfaction, but they fail to recall how fellow Americans suffered in the past for a considerably longer period of time.

In the aftermath of the destruction, perhaps President Obama would, in hindsight, have been wiser to remain at the White House for at least a day, maybe two, longer rather than hightail it aboard Air Force One to additional campaign events.

Away from the devastation in Sandy’s wake, the rest of America is getting on with life as usual. We hear the stories. We see the reports. We know the anger is growing. We understand why the frustration is at a boiling point.  

Those images. Those perceptions are what much of America is witnessing, and it does not bode well for the president. He can say that he cares as much as he wants, but his actions say something else.

Over the weekend many of Obama’s liberal entertainment industry friends will be doing a hurricane relief telethon. Amazingly the concert was organized less than a week after the hurricane. Amazingly it will be done just days before the election.

Why don’t Obama’s millionaire entertainer friends just write checks themselves to bring relief to the victims? After all, shouldn’t the rich pay just a little bit more? Wouldn’t that be faster and less cumbersome than going to all the trouble to do a “show” to make everyone feel better?

The answer is no, because simply writing a check is nowhere near as sexy or public or as much of a visible expression of compassion as doing a show. The operative word being “visible.” Let’s make sure everyone knows how much they care and, oh, by the way, vote for Obama on Tuesday too. It’s the American way.

Transparency. Image. Perception.

We have become cynical for good reason.

Keep that marathon in New York on the schedule, says Mayor Bloomberg. Oust the hurricane victims from their hotels so the runners will have places to stay and the city will generate much needed revenues.

Transparency. Image. Perception.

Voters in New York, New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania and Connecticut may not be as concerned about the election as they were just a week ago. They have other things on their minds.

But the rest of the country can see right through Obama’s transparent efforts to remain in the White House another four years.

Timing is everything. So is perception. This time it may bite him in ways he never anticipated.

Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in Charlotte, NC. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club, which creates, and escorts customized tours to Switzerland, France and Italy for groups of 12 or more. Inquiries for groups can be made at Peabod@aol.com Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others. As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 70 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte.







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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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