Helping v. grandstanding

Guess which Presidential candidate has decided to burden the folks preparing for Gus with his august presence?

If you’re working around the clock to get ready for a major natural disaster, what’s the thing you most want from politicians? You want them to tell people to listen to you about evacuation, and you want them to stay the hell out of your way so you can get as much as possible of the job done before the storm hits.

The people working to protect the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Gustav are getting that. From one of the Presidential candidates. Not from the other, who seems to think this is a good time for a grandstand play.

Guess which?

Awwww … you peeked, didn’t you?

Of course there’s nothing to be done now about the fact that the levees in New Orleans are weaker than they were before Katrina, or that homes were rebuilt below sea level, or that thousands of people are still living in FEMA trailers. Just another failure BushCo needs to own. Add it to the list.

But for John McCain to even think about using the storm as the backdrop for his acceptance speech further lowers him in my esteem. I wouldn’t have thought that possible.

Update And if Obama, in addition to staying out of the way, can really use his email list to rally effective help, that woul be game, set match.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: