Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sandy, Global Warming, The Election and The Long Run

“Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.” – Robert F. Kennedy

This is a day for observation, reflection and prediction. And the first observation is that The Big One finally hit The Big Apple. It was going to happen. Not IF, but WHEN. Just like New Orleans was due for a big one, the NY-NJ metro area was due for a big one. Eventually the Big One Earthquake will hit the West Coast. Eventually, a major city in tornado alley will take a direct hit from an EF5. These are not just predictions, they are inevitabilities. The big question is how will we deal with these natural disasters? What should we be doing now to prepare? New Orleans was not prepared for Katrina. The Northeast appears to be only somewhat better prepared to deal with Sandy. But there will be questions and second guessing a plenty. And more natural disasters to come.

The second observation is that Sandy will become the poster child for global warming. If there was ever a single event that shouted “case closed, global warming is for real”; it was Sandy. Sandy this year and Irene last year may indeed be coincidental. It may be that 100-year or 500-year events just happen when they happen and sometimes it’s in consecutive years. And it may be that global warming doesn’t have much to do with it. But, I do think global warming is for real. I’m not sure how much of it is caused by human activity or just natural cycles. But a lot of smart people have studied it and the overwhelming consensus of opinion is that human activity is the primary cause. Now we have the news media and financial capital of the world experiencing catastrophic weather events. Don’t be surprised if Al Gore is the Grand Marshal of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The third observation is that Sandy delivered a late round knock out punch to Mitt Romney. I’ve predicted all along that Obama would get a second term. But I actually began to have second thoughts after the first debate and the Benghazi cover up. Then Sandy comes along and the President gets to be Chris Christie’s new BFF and hug a little old lady. Game over. Only a few days ago, I suggested that Romney might win the popular vote, but come up short on the electoral count. Now I don’t think there’s a chance of that happening. Obama easily wins the electoral vote and probably ends up with 53% of the popular vote. At the end of the day, Presidents are elected on likability. And at this point, Obama is so much more likable than Romney. Just ask Chris Christie or some little old lady.

The final observation is that cancelling “The Long Run”, aka the NYC Marathon was the right thing to do. I was shocked when Mayor Bloomberg first announced that it would still be run. It was going to be the subject of this week’s blog post. Seriously, you just cannot divert resources for an event like that at a time like this. The fact that it was even considered reflects a total disconnect between New York City’s rich and powerful and the less rich and powerful who were most impacted by Sandy. My guess is that Mayor Bloomberg’s surprising public endorsement of Obama is part of his personal brand recovery strategy. Another unintended benefit for Obama in the wake of Sandy.

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