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Hurricane Sandy, Surprise Endorsements and the Election

Yesterday we mentioned that hurricane Sandy was going to bring the climate change debate further forward and impact the presidential election. Before the sun had set, New York City Mayor and former Republican Michael Bloomberg was endorsing Barrack Obama.

“In just 14 months, two hurricanes have forced us to evacuate neighborhoods — something our city government had never done before. If this is a trend, it is simply not sustainable.

Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”

Center for American Progress / CC BY-ND 2.0

Leadership Needed

Mayor Bloomberg praised President Obama for taking steps such as higher fuel efficiency standards to reduce US carbon consumption.

“His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.”

Bloomberg criticized Mitt Romney for changing course and reversing his previous policy stances on tackling climate change.

“This issue is too important. We need determined leadership at the national level to move the nation and the world forward.”

Bloomberg’s comments came in an opinion piece published on Bloomberg View. They weren’t without criticism for Obama and climate change and Sandy were not the only issues.  The opening lines of the piece, however, clearly show the pivotal role Sandy played in bringing Bloomberg off the fence and into the Obama camp:

“The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast — in lost lives, lost homes and lost business — brought the stakes of Tuesday’s presidential election into sharp relief.”

Obama’s handling of the crisis so far has brought praise from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Praise that has drawn an angry reaction from some quarters of the republican base. Governor Christie had this to say on twitter:

“When it comes to getting things done, I don’t care what party someone is in. The responsibility I have is much bigger than politics.”

Surely this is exactly the standard we should expect of our electoral representatives in a major crisis. With an election 4 days away, however, some people don’t see it that way.

Hurricane Sandy was always going to have an effect on this election (although so will the latest jobs numbers).

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