The superstorm Sandy offered an October surprise for President Barack Obama — the chance to act presidential just a week before Election Day. He took full advantage, although we suppose most Oklahomans will see his performance as just that.
As Sandy approached, Obama warned residents in the path of the storm to get out. On Tuesday, after the Northeast had been battered and swamped, he said he had told federal agencies, “I want you to cut through red tape, I want you to cut through bureaucracy; there's no excuse for inaction at this point.” Stirring stuff. But why not cut through red tape all the time instead of just in times of crisis? And whose administration has created so much more red tape these past four years?
Sandy really was the perfect storm for Obama because his challenger, Republican Mitt Romney, has talked in the past about cutting the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The media has pounced on that, providing a contrast between the icy would-be budget cutter and the benevolent president.
Yet voters next week are sure to recall that the tactics the president employed to get Obamacare rammed through Congress weren't very presidential. Nor was his grand apology tour of Europe in 2009, or his withdrawal of missile defense systems in Eastern Europe. His continued cold shoulder toward Israel, our most important ally in the Middle East, isn't very presidential. Nor was his “you didn't build that” crack.
And Obama most certainly didn't act very presidential in September when our ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans, were killed by terrorists who stormed the consulate in Benghazi. The next day he jetted off to Las Vegas for a re-election fundraiser.
Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass writes that the media's quizzing of Romney about FEMA is legitimate. “Yet why weren't such questions asked, in a similar manner, relentlessly, about Obama and Benghazi? Why this and not that?”
Those questions are legitimate, too.