In August at the Republican National Convention, Candidate Romney mocked President Obama when he said: “Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet” which drew groans and laughter from the Party loyals festooned in elephas regalia. While Romney followed up his mocking with a reasonable pledge to instead concern himself with the American family as opposed to the sophomoric “Drill, Baby, Drill!” chant of four years earlier, he may have offended more than Obamians and human-hating environmentalists. He may have offended Mother Nature herself who sent the ambiguously gendered climate changer hurricane Sandy to submerge Romney’s campaign in its final days.
I may be proven wrong four days from now, but after studying the numbers posted at Real Clear Politics yesterday afternoon, it appears that Obama will win reelection. There are too many ways he can win, and really no plausible pathway for Romney. What was new and somewhat startling, however, was what appears to be Sandy’s effect on Florida; a state he/she rained on but passed on his/her way to slam the Northeast. Florida, recently seen as a Romney certainty, may swing to Obama. If Obama gets those 29 electoral votes he can lose every other swing state to Romney and still be reelected.
The Sandy effect on Florida is fairly easy to understand. Floridians know a thing or two about hurricanes and are very sympathetic to their victims. Obama has received great praise for his handling of the aftermath, which has, among other things, produced a November bromance-a-trois between himself, Mayor Bloomberg, and Governor Christie. And remember, millions of Floridians either came from the Northeast or have family there today. Finally, Floridians are also aware—and were reminded again this week—that Obama appointed their former head of emergency management (a Jeb Bush man), William Fugate, as his head of FEMA who is also being (mostly) lauded for his handling of the Sandy aftermath. Obama reached across the aisle to avoid a W/Katrina/Brownie disaster.
Last Thursday in the New York Times, Timothy Egan opined, “in the election of 2012, it looks like nature votes last.” If it does, its deciding vote may leave Romney wishing that Obama had succeeded in his quest to “slow the rise of the oceans” that put the sunshine state on the tally sheet of President Obama.