What Leadership Looks Like

WASHINGTON – There is much being said and written about the interaction between Governor Chris Christie and President Obama after they toured the New Jersey devastation left in Sandy’s wake. However, it boils down to what’s required in an emergency situation when two people have a job to do and they put people first. We’ve just not seen an example of this in so long too many forgot what it looked like.

Between Jeffrey Goldberg asking why Christie is “subverting” Mitt Romney, and Andrew Sullivan asking why Christie has “embraced” Obama, you get an example of the worst of media missing the story unfolding right before their eyes.

It’s incredible to me professionals whose job it is to analyze politics can’t factor in the human element in a moment of epic tragedy that wipes everything else away.

Governor Christie is allying himself with President Obama because the people of his state need him to work with the federal government in every way to recover from a storm that destroyed New Jersey as we’ve always known it.

The Washington Post:

“Obviously, the top priority right now is to get the power back on,” Obama told residents at a community center being used as a shelter in Brigantine, N.J., with Christie (R) at his side. “And as soon as we get power back on … then obviously there is going to be some cleanup and there are going to be some expenses…. I just want you to know that we’re going to be here for the long haul.”

[...] “It’s really important to have the president of the United States acknowledge all the suffering that’s going on here in New Jersey, and I appreciate it very much,” Christie said. “We’re going to work together to make sure we get ourselves through this crisis and get everything back to normal.”

… He said Christie “has put his heart and soul into making sure that the people of New Jersey bounce back even stronger than before.” Thanks to good preparations, “the loss of life was kept lower than it might have been,” Obama said. “But for those individual families, obviously their world has been torn apart.”

President Obama and Governor Chris Christie did what they had to do in a situation that required men to step up and get down to business. It’s stunning we’re in such bad shape in this country that we can’t recognize leadership on the federal and state level for exactly what it is and actually be grateful for the anomaly.

We witnessed the best of America in what happened for a few brief moments between Obama and Christie. It was a sight for weary eyes, because none of us had seen something like this in a very long time.


Taylor Marsh, a veteran political analyst and former Huffington Post contributor, is the author of The Hillary Effect, available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon. Her new-media blog www.taylormarsh.com covers national politics, women and power.

         

14 Comments

  1. thanks for writing this.

  2. Very nice write-up, really speaks to the other side of the “our government is broken” narrative…that our culture is pretty broken too, and there has to be some responsibility taken that a democratic government is a reflection of the culture that elected it.

    I’ll call it the reality show effect…why aren’t they trying to win the competition, advance to the next round? Because politics isn’t some TV show with a million dollar cash giveaway at the end of the season…it’s our our society working for the indefinite future.

  3. Great post Taylor. That’;s the way it’s supposed to work – the fact that some are upset just goes to show how screwed up our tribal society is.

  4. Ok, I hate to get partisan about this, but what exceptional thing is happening here? Is Obama doing anything unusual? Not really. He’s going about things in his typical style. What is unusual here is that a republican isn’t being a jackass about having to work with Obama. The situation is extreme which is what it takes i guess, and I give much praise to Christie in handling this catastrophe that has befallen his state. But seriously, the only thing that is unusual here is that a major GOP player isn’t putting obstruction ahead of the interest of the citizens he represents. And we haven’t seen that in so long that the media is reporting on it like the breaking of a new dawn in America. The fact its news at all speaks volumes.

  5. I deeply agree…could care less what the motives are or what the pundits opinion on this one is….this is the right way…

    thanks for seeing a glimpse of light TM…

  6. Great article, Taylor. You’re right. This is the way things should be, not only when a natural disaster strikes but whenever the nation faces major problems of any nature. If there is disagreement on how to address the problem then work on ironing out those differences, don’t just refuse to work with the other side.

  7. @slamfu
    Obamama is doing it correctly. Just compare this to Katrina and “Heck of a Job” Brownie.

  8. My kudos, too, Taylor.

    But, also, agree with Slamfu that Obama is not doing anything unusual, that what Christie is doing should be the norm, rather than the exception for Republicans.
    How much better off our country would be!

    And you are so right: “We’ve just not seen an example of this in so long too many forgot what it looked like.”

    Let’s hope this example is the first of many more instances to come.

  9. Bush compares unfavorably to Obama vis a vis the Katrina:Sandy comparison, but Blanco: Christie is unfavorable too.the two situations weren’t completely alike though because the entire resoonse needed to be federalized after Katrina and Blanco resisted that. Governors would tend to have that resistance, but in her case it was a grave error that held things up ( one of many, many failures at all levels.)

  10. Did anyone see “Brownie’s” quote about Obama reacting too early to the storm? I would imagine that guy would hide in a hole anytime we had a storm related disaster pending. Turns out not only does he not hide, he pipes up with suggestions about how to manage it.

    http://www.politico.com/news/s.....83076.html

  11. I saw that slam. It only confirms that brown is a monstrously incompetent douche bag .

  12. Now that I have power again, I can actually reply to this!
    As a native, lifelong resident of the Garden State, I was beyond surprised and quite frankly delighted that our governor did the right thing in embracing our President and the leadership that came with him. It was a badly needed lesson for not only Christie, but the rest of the hyperpartisan wingnuts who have taken over the GOP.
    Believe me, I am no fan of Chris Christie or his policies here in NJ, but his stock rose a few points with me over the past three days in the way he has handled this catastrophe that we are now dealing with here.

  13. Leaders’ response to emergencies and competence at handling them does make a difference in whether they hold onto their office. Jane Byrne famously won the Chicago Democratic Primary race for mayor when Chicago was dumped with 100 inches of snow and the incumbent mayor couldn’t get it removed fast enough for the citizens.

    Here is a report about how weather affects election both in turnout and by party.

    A 2007 study from political scientists Brad Gomez, Thomas Hansford and George Krause looked at the weather on Election Day in over 3,000 counties for the 14 presidential elections going back to 1948. They found that every inch of rain depresses turnout by just under 1 percent, and that depressed turnout tends to favor Republicans. With this massive data set of 43,000 cases, they were able to game out some counterfactuals of how elections would have gone if the weather had been different. In only two cases would it have changed the outcome, according to their models. 1960 was a very dry election, helping John F. Kennedy get enough Democrats to the polls to eke out a win. But 2000 was an unusually wet election, especially in parts of Florida. “If it had been a totally dry day in Florida, Gore would have won,” Hansford told Salon. Of course, there a lot of things this could be said for, Hansford quickly noted, from butterfly ballots to potential voter suppression.

    http://www.salon.com/2012/10/3.....elections/

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