Here is Roger Kimball, ruefully reflecting on Hurricane Sandy. For Kimball, the meteorological just got very personal:
Well, it was grim, Hurricane Sandy. We were prepared for something bad, but this storm, as we were warned, turned out to be like nothing I had ever seen.
Like nothing I’ve ever seen, that’s for sure. Little old England is a hurricane backwater, thank goodness.
We went back to our neighborhood this morning – it was a circuitous route, given all the downed trees and power lines. It was a devastating scene. Many houses were simply bashed in, crushed by the power of the waves. Even more (like ours, alas) were seriously flooded.
I’m sure there’s a moral here somewhere, probably having to do with hubris, nemesis, or some other unpleasant Greek offering. Or maybe it has to do with that old quip, Do you want to make the gods laugh? Tell them your plans.
Now for the Big Cleanup!
A few thoughts.
Casualties seem, given the scale of the storm, to have been mercifully light. If so, that proves that the best defence against this kind of thing is to be as rich as you can before disaster strikes. Rich people are able to see what’s coming, to duck and weave, to tell each other what to do, and then to look after each other. Natural disaster is not followed by epidemic disease, the way it is liable to be among very poor people.
Samizdata has lots of American readers, including, presumably quite a few who have suffered directly from this storm. Commiserations from all of us, and here’s hoping you pull through in decent shape. If you have been seriously mucked about by this storm, you might want to ignore the rest of this and if you did I would entirely understand.
But I have to ask. What effect might all this have on the election? The BBC are saying – as they would – that in his handling of this disaster, Obama is looking very good, very Presidential, and much better than Bush did during Katrina. Is that how it looks in America?
Just as war is the health of the state, so too is natural disaster.
As I noted in this posting at my personal blog, the BBC are saying, or were last weekend, that the election is now a dead heat. And I suppose it might be at that. But from what I have been reading (e.g. the pre-Sandy ruminations of one Roger Kimball), Romney has been pulling steadily ahead. Has this storm caused people to forget about Benghazi, or is the contrast between how seriously Obama takes the storm, compared to how unseriously he has been taking Benghazi, only making him look worse? A bit of both?
Ever since the first debate, so disastrous for Obama and so invigorating for Romney, a snatch of Shakespeare has been rattling around in my head to describe what it must have felt like ever since then to be Obama. “How all occasions do inform against me.” (I had assumed these to be the words of one of those doomed tyrants, like Macbeth, or Richard II or III, but I just googled it and it’s Hamlet.) Everything that has happened since the first Obama-Romney debate seems only to have made Obama look that much worse.
So, might Obama now make himself look seriously worse, by, at some point around now, letting slip that he is actually glad that a hurricane has struck New York and surrounding parts, thereby giving him a chance to look Presidential rather than like the surly and bad-tempered loser he had been looking like in recent weeks? Or, by everybody just thinking this anyway, perhaps because of ill-judged blurtings from Obama supporters? If that were to happen, it might be the final nail in Obama’s electoral coffin rather than the death bed recovery he surely now dreams of.
Maybe it depends what you already think of the guy. In which case, I presume that very little changes.