With much of the East Coast still struggling to recover from recent storms that cut power to millions of residents during a heat wave, President Barack Obama is wrapping up a comfortable vacation in Camp David. He was not too busy to visit the scene of wildfires in swing-state Colorado–and make some fundraising calls from Air Force One en route–but he somehow could not muster the strength to address the state of emergency closer to home.
Twenty-two people have died, and residents around Washington, DC are struggling to navigate roads whose signals have not worked for days. If not for the July 4th week, the disruption would have been even worse. But President Obama has left the messy job of handling the emergency to state and local officials. Damage that has been described as “worse than some hurricanes” has not moved Obama to interrupt his air-conditioned holiday.
This dereliction of duty is not happening in distant New Orleans, but right in the heart of the nation’s media and political center. Yet the mainstream media has not bothered to comment on Obama’s absence. As for the Obama campaign itself, it hawked t-shirts to “keep cool” while the Romney campaign actually took the disaster seriously, organizing a drive for donations of basic necessities to stranded residents, such as canned food and water.
“They kind of forgot about us out here,” Falls Church, VA resident Eric Nesson said, pondering his plight. Maybe President Obama is taking the support of Northern Virginia–one of the hardest-hit areas–for granted, given its strong shift towards the Democratic Party in recent years, with an influx of federal employees. Maybe he is counting on the slavish mainstream media to continue to cover for him. But with DC out of power, and Obama on vacation, at least some locals are beginning to wonder whether it shouldn’t be the other way around.