Hurricane hurts Romney presidential push

As the US comes to terms with the fallout from Hurricane Sandy, Republican candidate Mitt Romney may also struggle to pick up the pieces of his US presidential election campaign.

This was the view of Professor John Kane at Griffith University’s School of Government and International Relations who believes President Obama has plotted almost the perfect path in the wake of this week’s natural disaster.

“I think it was an interesting challenge for both men,” Professor Kane said.

“On the surface it would seem to advantage Obama who gets the chance to be the president rather than the campaigner while Romney becomes somewhat irrelevant.”

Professor Kane highlighted the potential dangers to President Obama’s campaign that lay in the New York and New Jersey debris.

“With the lesson of George Bush and Katrina in view, he had to look immediately engaged, concerned and helpful without looking too obviously that he was using the crisis to promote his election chances.

“He had to BE a president without seeming to PLAY the president.”

Professor Kane also stressed the importance for President Obama of the Federal Emergency Management Agency doing its job efficiently, which was not necessarily guaranteed.

“He would have copped the blame for any administrative failures, for which he probably couldn’t really be responsible. So far it seems to have worked well for him.”

Another setback to the Romney campaign came when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and other Republican governors expressed their gratitude for the Federal help in the wake of the Hurricane.

“This was an unexpected bonus and, I think, a serious blow for Romney who had Christie speak at his rally in Florida,” Professor Kane said.

“Romney is struggling to overcome his irrelevance while showing proper non-partisan concern for victims.”

Professor Kane is an authority in the area of US foreign policy and is the co-author of The Democratic Leader: How Democracy Defines, Empowers and Limits Its Leaders.