The essence of Americanism -- community responsibility preserving individual liberty -- is in the eye of Frankenstorm Sandy and in the center of the election. Who we are is entwined with how we take care of our own.
Hence voters look to political leaders, starting with President Obama and incumbent governors, to harness government effectively and save as many lives as possible. Like the American frontier barn raising days of old, people will come together to pull each other through the storms, with government employees serving as storm trackers, emergency responders and economic rebuilders so that individuals can survive and thrive.
Mitt Romney has a big political risk with Sandy because he already told a global warming joke during the last hurricane and has said he does not see a federal role for disaster relief, calling emergency aid debt "immoral."
To most Americans in Sandy's wake, global warming is not a joke and emergency aid debt is not "immoral." Americans know we can and we must take care of our own because doing so is integral to our character.
President Obama must beware the slightest mistake -- it will be used as a case against government in general, federal disaster relief in particular and Democrats in the election. Strong and steady leadership that saves lives, rebuilds communities and preserves liberties is the best policy and the best politics.