Obama v. Romney: better leader?

Obama, hypocrite in chief at the National Prayer Breakfast, and orchestrator of a bodyguard of lies
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As Hurricane Sandy comes near and grows stronger, the pundit class speculates on whom the storm might help more (or hurt worse): Barack Obama or his challenger, Mitt Romney. They talk about whether polls will be open or closed, and whether those who have not voted yet will bother to vote. (They also haul out the old chestnut about rain clouds helping Republicans.) But if anyone is telling you that both campaigns are suspended, don’t believe that. Both campaigns sent out e-mails to their subscribers. And their tone speaks volumes about which candidate (three guesses) is truly acting like a leader.

Obama: send me money!

Barack Obama. Still campaigning, even in a storm.

Barack H. Obama. Photo: Pete Souza, January 13, 2009

Barack Obama’s surrogates sent out at least three e-mails overnight. One, under Michelle Obama’s by-line, complains that Mitt Romney is out-fund-raising Barack Obama.

After all Barack has done in office, and after all you have done to build this campaign, we can’t afford to watch everything slip away on Election Night.

But the other side has outraised us — our opponents have $45 million more than we do for the final stretch. And none of us has ever seen what a barrage of money like that will do.

That’s why we need to do everything we can in these last days, and why we need you to join in the effort.

She goes on to raffle off front-row seats at Obama’s victory party.

A second e-mail under a generic by-line includes a video embed of Bill Clinton “explaining…what Mitt Romney’s $5 trillion tax cut would mean for middle-class families.”

And Mitch Stewart, “Battleground States Director,” is recruiting volunteers to travel to those “battleground States” to knock on doors, call people on the telephone, or otherwise herd “their” people to the polls. Never mind that Hurricane Sandy might have people seeking high ground, or protecting their homes from possible looters.

Amazing. In a world where people are squaring off and boxing over dwindling equipment and supplies in food and hardware stores, the Obama campaign is in full swing, talking about one thing: re-electing Barack Obama.

Mitt Romney: take care of yourselves!

In sharp contrast, Mitt Romney sent out one e-mail. In it he offered his prayers, and some practical advice:

I hope that if you can, you’ll reach out to your neighbors who may need help getting ready for the storm — especially your elderly neighbors. And if you can give of your resources or time, please consider supporting your local Red Cross organization — visit www.redcross.org to get involved.

This second piece of advice covers one thing that most people would never think of:

For safety’s sake, as you and your family prepare for the storm, please be sure to bring any yard signs inside. In high winds they can be dangerous, and cause damage to homes and property.

Imagine that! While Barack Obama tries desperately to squeeze out the last campaign gift, and the last vote, Mitt Romney is telling people to cooperate with the local Red Cross. He even tells people to take their campaign yard signs in, so they will not turn into deadly missiles!

Now there’s a thought. If one of those emblazoned missiles crashes through your window, read it and ask yourself what message that sends. (And CNAV wishes to reinforce Mitt Romney’s message: take those yard signs down! They can turn into missiles in a 75-knot gust. That is no joke!)

What this shows

Mitt Romney. In the Sandy storm, Romney shows better leadership than Obama.

Former Governor Mitt Romney at a townhall in Sun Lakes, Arizona. Photo: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic License

The behavior of the Obama and Romney campaigns shows what kinds of men want your vote. And it’s all of a piece with other things each man has done. The three Obama campaign e-mails come ultimately from the same man who watched the Benghazi Attack happen in real time and almost surely gave orders to stand down. (And even, so we now learn, relieved his theater commander in the region minutes before he would have sent troops to rescue Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.)

And the Romney e-mail came from the same man who shut down his business and came to New York City to set up a command center to find an employee’s lost daughter.

Now ask yourselves: who is the better leader? Obama? Or Romney?

Addendum: The Obama campaign sent out another e-mail under Barack Obama’s by-line. It mentions FEMA and government emergency first responders, and gives the link for the government Web site Ready.gov.

And then it tells the reader how to give to the Red Cross. Only instead of referring people directly to the Red Cross, it refers people to the Barack Obama campaign Web page that itself has the link to the Red Cross. Can Barack Obama never do anybody any favors without hogging the credit for it? We all know what Jesus said of such play-acting.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

14 Responses to Obama v. Romney: better leader?

  1. JT says:

    Firstly, I hope you made it through the storms ok.

    How anybody can call Mitt “Gosh! What’s my position today?” Romney a leader is beyond me. Given the man’s record of changing his mind over the past few years, god help America should he come into power and be faced with all the special interest groups he’ll owe favours to. Especially the Koch brothers.

    Of course, given his plans to defund federal disaster relief, I’m sur you’ll be looking forward to the next major storm that hits your area. Maybe you should do a post on how Ayn Rand would do disaster relief. ‘Oh, your house is 10 feet under water. Oh… well, if you give us $400,000 we’ll be able to get a new house for you and put you up somewhere in the meantime. Will it be the same? Well, no, it’ll be a trailer, but hey! You want to live an area with weather, that’s your fault! What’s that? You don’t have $400k? Ok, guys, nothing to do here. Move on!”

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Thanks for the hospitable sentiments.

      Sarcasm aside, I never saw hide nor hair of FEMA or the vaunted FEMA Youth that graduated its first class.

      During this week, I sheltered in place. If I am at fault at all, then it is from failure to install a stand-by generator with a reliable fuel supply—that might be piped-in natural gas, or stored propane; I leave the choice of fuel up to the reader. But it wasn’t the government that came through for me. It was the power company, which had to cope with six blown-down telephone poles and two wrecked substations. All the township did for me was to send men with chainsaws to cut up a tree that fell across my street and cut it. And since the government owns that road, they were the stakeholder.

      And your own sarcasm about $400,000 trailers is woefully misplaced. Aside from “not seeing hide nor hair” this time around, that program was much-abused, and you know it.

      For the future, I plan to put in one of those stand-by generators. My neighbor had one, so I could recharge cellphones whenever I needed to. And when I have that in place, if a thing like this happens again, then this neighborhood will have a well-regulated militia, with, as like as not, myself in command. We didn’t get any government representative, and we won’t get one next time. Nor will we need one.

      • MatthewJ says:

        With the generator, you will have a well-regulated militia, with you potentially in command. Why is that not the case without the generator?

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          Because I would not have the physical resources to be an effective or respectable leader.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Because I would not have the physical resources to be an effective or respectable leader.”

            Being an effective leader isn’t down to having a generator, Terry. It’s being able to cope without one. Did Washington have a generator at Monongahela? Did Wellington have a generator at Waterloo? Did Chuikov have a generator on the bank of the Volga?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            The key is having effective intelligence. And I’d seem a poor leader if I had to rely on someone else for that intelligence. It’s one thing if leadership is established; quite another when it is not. You know as well as I do, if your military background is as you have represented it, that soldiers follow leaders who already have everything well in hand.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “The key is having effective intelligence. And I’d seem a poor leader if I had to rely on someone else for that intelligence.”

            Every successful leader in history has relied on someone else for his intelligence. That’s because they were too busy leading to collect and process information. A key to leadership is delegation.

            Soldiers follow leaders who outrank them. Anyone who has difficulty grasping that tends to get re-educated fairly early in the training process.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            In the first place, there is no rank in informal neighborhood watch. There is only the first person to say, “We need to get organized. We need a leader.” And in the second place, those OEM telephone messages, the ones I didn’t get until I got my phone service back (at which stage they no longer mattered), are a valuable signal. If I can’t guard them directly, then I’m not exactly “getting their first with the most” in the competition between myself and anyone else who might feel just as qualified to lead as I am. If I have to ask someone else to guard them, everyone else will wonder why I command instead of him.

            Would you necessarily follow the first person to try to organize your block, especially if you had better resources than he?

            Now in case you want to suggest that maybe those signals are unreliable, and the only reliable intelligence comes from direct scouting: if I sent any scouts into “downtown,” the police might misread their intent and pick them up on suspicion of attempted sabotage. That sort of thing would be bad for morale.

            Bottom line: I would have no formal rank order to rely on. The only sense in which I would be “senior” to anyone would be that I had the bright idea. I know I’ll get a lot further if I have the resources to begin to back that up. My own capacity for getting all the signals available, including telephone messages from the town OEM, will give me the abstract power and the potential performance power I would need. That’s how I plan to gain the real power—the willingness of my neighbors to follow my lead. They’ll follow me a lot more readily if I’m not constantly sponging off any of them.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “There is only the first person to say, “We need to get organized. We need a leader.””

            What do you need a leader for?

            “those OEM telephone messages, the ones I didn’t get until I got my phone service back (at which stage they no longer mattered), are a valuable signal.”

            They’re public information.

            “If I can’t guard them directly”

            Uh, guard them?

            “the competition between myself and anyone else who might feel just as qualified to lead as I am.”

            In the aftermath of a disaster wouldn’t you have better things to worry about?

            “Would you necessarily follow the first person to try to organize your block, especially if you had better resources than he?”

            No. I’d look on him with intense suspicion, as would the rest of my neighbours. Just the same suspicion, in fact, as everyone would direct at ME if I tried to organise them. Instead of organising a militia it would just be a case of Herr Schmidt getting his chainsaw out and starting to cut up the fallen trees, Herr Braun loading the wood into his truck, Herr Mason (if the phones had gone out – they might if there was very heavy flooding) getting in radio contact with the police and generally helping out, Frau Schickelgrüber pouring large mugs of rum-laced coffee down everybody’s necks and everyone else just generally pitching in to shovel snow/sweep up debris/whatever. We’s simply sort the problems out; we wouldn’t need to ORGANISE.

            “if I sent any scouts into “downtown,” the police might misread their intent and pick them up on suspicion of attempted sabotage.”

            Really?

            “That’s how I plan to gain the real power—the willingness of my neighbors to follow my lead.”

            What do you want power for?

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            The real power for an informal neighborhood leader is simply recognition as the leader.

            “Public information” is useless if it is not available. You don’t get it. During those 120 hours, I had no telephone service. So the OEM could never reach me. So a vital channel of signal intelligence was closed to me during that time.

            What I propose to guard, or watch, is that telephone service, so that I get those messages as soon as the OEM pushes them out, and can then act on them.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “The real power for an informal neighborhood leader is simply recognition as the leader.”

            But why do you want to be the leader anyway? Why do you NEED a leader? The plan is to clear up after a disaster, not march on Moscow.

            “So a vital channel of signal intelligence was closed to me during that time.”

            Um, I don’t think I’d go so far as to call it SIGINT. Did anyone in your neighbourhood get the messages? Did they distribute them to those who weren’t getting them? Did they, ahem, charge for this service?

            “What I propose to guard, or watch, is that telephone service…”

            Ah OK, you mean that sense of “guard.” My apologies.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            Someone has to co-ordinate that cleanup, and decide what’s safe and what’s unsafe.

            In fact, the biggest failure, in my neighborhood and in many other neighborhoods, is that this “distribution” of messages did not take place. I had a neighbor who did have a generator, and could keep his regular telephone service going. He must have gotten all those messages. He never thought to share them with me, and I never thought to ask. Maybe it never occurred to him that the OEM distributed their messages to landlines only, not cellphones.

            And to make sure those messages got out, they needed to send bullhorn vans all around to blare the messages to everyone:

            Attention! This is your Police Department! Please remain in your homes! Do not bother calling the power company! The main line and both substations are wrecked! Repair crews are on the scene!

            And so forth and so on. This did not happen.

          • Fergus Mason says:

            “Someone has to co-ordinate that cleanup, and decide what’s safe and what’s unsafe.”

            Perhaps. What qualifies you to do it?

            “I had a neighbor who did have a generator, and could keep his regular telephone service going. He must have gotten all those messages. He never thought to share them with me, and I never thought to ask. Maybe it never occurred to him that the OEM distributed their messages to landlines only, not cellphones.”

            It probably didn’t occur to him, just as I’m assuming it didn’t occur to you that if he had power he’d have a working landline. Uh, were the messages broadcast on the radio? I keep a battery operated FM set handy. Do you?

            “And to make sure those messages got out, they needed to send bullhorn vans all around to blare the messages to everyone”

            Not much use if the roads are blocked with fallen trees, though.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “this neighborhood will have a well-regulated militia, with, as like as not, myself in command.”

        I’m available to act as Chief Instructor, taking care of all your Skill at Arms, Protective Security and C3/ISTAR needs, at very competitive rates. Would you rather have me form up and train your militia before the next disaster or put me on a retainer to fly out in an emergency?

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