Democracy dies in a low key response?
What happens if a president does not do much to aid citizens in the middle of a weather disaster? Well, if the president is a Republican, the media condemnation would be loud and angry. But if the President is a Democrat, the reaction would be...meh. Such was the case with the Washington Post on Saturday running cover for Joe Biden over the fact that his response to the Texas winter storm has been rather underwhelming.
According to the Post, starting with the title, the biggest risk isn't so much for the underserved people of Texas but for the political future of Biden, "Biden's low-key approach to storm wins praise but courts risks."
As the Biden administration faces its first natural disaster, the president himself is taking a notably low-key approach. He has not visited the stricken region or delivered prime-time remarks; he did not mention the disaster at a recent town hall; and he is studiously avoiding the controversy over whether wind energy or fossil fuels are to blame for widespread power failures.
Nice way to translate a lack of significant response to the Texas winter storm as a "notably low-key approach."
Now watch the Post dramatically switch gears to describe a certain president who had a very much hands-on approach to natural disasters.
It's a marked contrast to former president Donald Trump's habit of making himself the often-hostile center of attention during natural disasters. He famously tossed paper towels to hurricane victims, excoriated Californians for "gross mismanagement" of forests and called Puerto Rican leaders "corrupt and incompetent" for their handling of aid money.
And now we switch gears back again to compassionate Biden coverage over his lack of action:
While Biden has won praise for his quieter, more businesslike approach, he is also running the risk that he — and the federal government — can appear almost absent. State and local officials say a big test will come in the months and years ahead, as Texans replace burst pipes in flooded homes, clear out dead crops and livestock and investigate the collapse of an electrical grid that left millions shivering in the dark.
Finally we have the Post contrast what they perceive as the low-key benevolent Ying with the hands-on evil Yang:
The storm first hit on Sunday, Feb. 14, but Biden was silent about it at a nationally televised town hall on CNN on Tuesday, first speaking publicly of the natural disaster on Thursday. He has tweeted that he and first lady Jill Biden were “keeping Texas, Oklahoma, and other impacted states in our prayers” and conferring with state leaders of both parties.
Officials say it is a marked difference from Trump, who often used natural disasters to attack political adversaries. He excoriated the California officials dealing with rampant wildfires, for example, saying their “gross mismanagement” of forest floors had led to the deadly blazes.
He similarly blasted leaders in Puerto Rico for how they managed aid money after Hurricane Maria, while a visit where he tossed paper towels to a crowd has been cited as a study in tone-deafness. At other times, Trump suggested he would withhold aid to states like California because of their political leanings.
The Biden administration has sought to showcase a more professional approach.
So Biden and his administration can be almost absent from the scene of the disaster but, hey, at least he is not the Bad Orange Man. And that is enough for Biden to earn kudos from the Washington Post.