THE BLOG
11/05/2012 12:32 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Obama in the Storm

There is a photograph of President Obama which for me sums up his first four years in office. He is standing in darkness on the White House lawn, his navy blue coat glistening with rain. But he is not scampering for shelter. He is looking ahead.

Four years ago, Obama came to office in another storm, a financial cataclysm brought on by the policies of his predecessor.

The devastation our country faced then was not smashed buildings and flooded streets. But it could have wrecked our country just as surely as Hurricane Sandy ravaged our eastern states.

Obama faced the financial meltdown calmly, seeking advice from all, not caring which party it came from.

He listened, consulted, thought and prayed about it -- and then he went ahead.

He dealt with the meltdown. Then he tackled health care -- a problem which had eluded every president since our country began.

Once more he reached across the aisle, and again, many of the ideas he chose were Republican ideas, some he openly credited to Mitt Romney. But Romney essentially disavowed his own program, so desperate was he to not be seen helping the president.

But Obama prevailed. Today, no one can be denied medical coverage for a pre-existing condition. That matters to my family, because my son, Roman, is paralyzed. If he lost his insurance, and Obamacare was not there, I do not know how we would handle his endless medical needs.

To its shame, the Republican party continued its "don't help the president" policy.

Most of them signed a pledge to never raise taxes on the rich -- apparently their promise to Grover Norquist took precedence over their pledge to uphold the Constitution.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell actually said "our top priority" should be that Barack Obama would have only a one-term presidency. That was more important to him than all the problems afflicting our country.

Shamefully, this attitude prevailed among the party once led by Abraham Lincoln.

But Obama went ahead, doing what he could on his own, with almost no help from what should have been the "loyal opposition."

He fulfilled a campaign promise to reverse the crippling anti-stem-cell policies of his predecessor; today America is moving forward on the path to alleviate financially ruinous diseases and disabilities, which blast our economy even as they blight our families.

Bush began the trillion-dollar Iraq war (under false pretenses, the non-existent weapons of mass destruction); Obama ended it.

Wherever there was trouble, the president was there.

He stood by the American auto industry in its hour of greatest need, despite the "Let Detroit go Bankrupt" advice from Mitt Romney -- and today the car company is strong again.

And then, the storm called Sandy. Everyone has family or friends on the East Coast -- and to see places we had visited, neighborhoods and cities -- blasted, gone.

I remembered how endlessly long it took President Bush to respond to Hurricane Katrina... like he was peeking between his fingers, hoping somebody else would take care of the problem for him.

But Obama was there.

And who met him at the airport when it set down in the rain? Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, keynote speaker at the Republican convention. Just days ago, he had been saying the most devastating remarks about the president.

But when they met, all that was gone.

They were two warriors on the same side.

In the helicopter, the president asked Governor Christie what he needed, and used his cellphone on the spot to instantly authorize help.

And when Chris Christie said honestly what a tremendous help our president had been, I had to blink back tears. I did not know why at first; I never liked the New Jersey governor before. But Governor Christie was fighting for the people of his state. And the president was making sure he did not fight alone.

What blazed between the two leaders was what has been missing in our nation's capital -- here, at last, was the spirit of cooperation. And Mayor Bloomberg, a political independent, who did not previously endorse Obama? After he saw the president in combat against Sandy, the mayor measured Obama against Romney, saying:

"One candidate sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet, ...one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics," he said, giving his endorsement to the president.

Perhaps he remembered the mockery of Mitt Romney, criticizing Obama for "trying to slow the rise of the ocean." According to Jena McGregor's piece in The Washington Post, "One (candidate) believes a woman's rights should be protected... one does not. One recognizes marriage equality as consistent with the march of freedom; one does not. I want our President to be on the right side of history."

In the next four years, it is my belief that President Barack Obama will get the job done -- with Republican cooperation or without it. But I hope America will take note if the McConnell policy of total non-cooperation continues. Anyone who abides by such a policy should be fired in the next election.

As for Nov. 6, 2012, there is only one man for the job of president, to guide our country through the storms of today into the sunshine of tomorrow. Barack Obama will be there for all of us.

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