In the fall of 2008 John McCain made a judgment call that in many peoples’ eyes cost him the election. He chose to suspend his campaign to go back to Washington and attempt to fix the financial crisis that the country found itself in the middle of. According to Barrons, “As a result of his impolitic gamble, McCain lost the lead and then some. He now trails nationally by four to eight points, depending on the poll — and by much larger margins in some key swing states.”
Big crises cost elections.
The question is, will that be the case for Mitt Romney?
During a Republican presidential primary debate Romney essentially said spending on things like disaster relief was “immoral”. What’s Mitt Romney’s response to federal disaster relief? Privatization.
But according to an article in Politics USA the Romney/Ryan plan has some very severe real world consequences; it “will mean that your ability to survive or recover from a natural disaster will be based on where you live, the severity of the event, and whether or not your state decided to budget for disaster relief. The federal government won’t be there to help, because FEMA will have been privatized. Thus the private companies handling disaster relief will be afraid of cutting into their profit margin, so they will avoid disasters that are too expensive, and will generally do disaster relief on the cheap. If the federal government does step in, the cost of federal aid will have to be offset by cutting things like veterans’ benefits and the VA.”
With Sandy currently ravaging the northeast these comments are coming back to hurt him. These plans to privatize FEMA and his opposition of federal disaster relief aid are making voters question his judgment. And in response, it seems as though the Romney campaign is going silent on this topic. In fact, there has been a form of media blackout in the Romney camp; 22 days have gone by without one word to the press.
But that’s not the only problem that arises with crises like these. There’s the problem of the other candidate. In 2008, Obama stuck with it on the campaign trail, erasing the small deficit he had and building a sizable lead on his opponent. And now Obama has scored another victory in a crisis situation. His handling of Sandy has caused a staunch Republican, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, to come out in support of the president’s reaction to the storm. Christie’s new feelings towards the president were mentioned in a Washington Post article, “Christie thanked the president for their “great working relationship” and said Obama had “sprung into action immediately.”
This will be the second time that the president has come out shining from a crisis, whereas his opponent has been hurt in the public eye. So the question remains, how will this effect Romney in the polls? We’ll find out on Tuesday.