Two ways to actually help the folks on the Eastern Seaboard (spoiler: Not canned goods).

Last night I found myself really worrying about the next few days in the lives of people who were in the path of Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy. I have a sense that this is the point at which supplies have run low or just plain out, people who are poor or elderly or stuck on the wrong piece of geography have been stuck and without resources for a day too long, the money has been spent and there’s no gas in the car, or no train to your job — if only where you work was up and running, but it’s not.

There’s not a whole lot that people who don’t actually live within walking distance of folks in need of help can do in these circumstances, and the next few days will be what they will be — the federal government will do all it can, the Red Cross will do all it can, neighbors will do all they can, and yet it’s not necessarily going to be very pretty.

As for the rest of us, though, there are two things we can do, one obvious, one a bit less so:

1. Go ahead and make that donation to the Red Cross. If you can only help a little, that’s fine, because a nonprofit can always do more with your $10 than you can (I always think of the fact that for $5, your local food pantry can buy a whole grocery bag’s worth of food, whereas you and I can buy four bags of spaghetti and a can of tuna). You can go to the website, or just text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10.

And if you can’t swing even $10 right now (and I’ve been there) remember that they will absolutely still need help in a month or two or six. And not incidentally: By donating to the general “Disaster Relief” fund, you’re providing money that the Red Cross can use wherever it’s needed — and the Red Cross also works in Haiti….

2.  The less obvious thing: Everyone on the Eastern seaboard will, in fact need help in a month or two or six, and they need not only a President who will have their backs and focus on things like recovery and rebuilding infrastructure (not to mention bring an honest approach to the future of climate change), they also need a Congress that will support the President.

I think that I’m not alone in feeling like, barring new surprises, President Obama is pretty likely to win re-election. But, even if that’s so (and it’s far from a foregone conclusion, so don’t get complacent), the Republican Party has shown in word and four years of deed that it is not even a little bit interested in working with this President, for any reason whatsoever. It took President Obama a little longer to figure this out than I might have liked, but he’s figured it out, and we need to figure it out too — and the actionable part of “figuring it out” is working over the next few days to get more Democrats into Congress.

If you can find a few hours to help your local Democrat canvass and/or get out the vote, if you can talk to friends and family and remind them of the importance of casting their ballot even if they don’t think they need to, please do so. If I can, I’ll be going up to Wisconsin on Tuesday to work on getting out the vote for Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin. (And if you don’t know how to go about helping, just Google the candidates’ headquarters and show up — they will be thrilled to see you and tell you when/where you would be of most use).

So, unless you’re within easy travel distance of a neighborhood that needs supplies and helping hands (and if you are, please do what you can!), here’s what you can do: Give money to the people who know how to use it, and get out the vote for the people most likely to do good recovery work.

And if you’re among those knocked around by this storm? All my prayers and best wishes for quick repair and healing, from out here in Fly Over Country. Big love, East Coasters. Hang tight.


I told you so.

Remember October 3rd? When the President of these United States had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad debate performance? And progressives and liberals and assorted Democrats were all “WE’RE DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!!1!eleven!!”

Yeah, that.

So, I knew Obama wouldn’t let that happen again. And I knew that Biden would help out. You might not believe me that I knew it, but I actually have proof that I knew it, to wit:

I also knew (even as everyone was wailing that RickPerry-NewtGingrich-RickSantorum-MicheleBachman-HermanCain is going to be the nominee!!) that the GOP would nominate Romney. (I have proof of that, too, but digging up a tweet that old would be a sign of very ill-organized priorities, I think).

I say this because I’m going to make another prediction, and I would like my bona fides in full view, you see.

So first, let me briefly explain why/how “I knew” in these other cases.

  1. Romney: Every other Republican nominee (other than Huntsman, who dropped out) was some version of unhinged. Political parties may occasionally enjoy/exploit “unhinged” in the lead-up to an election, but they (and in particular, the people who spend the money) do not like unhinged as the game gets real. Moreover, while the record shows that many within the party genuinely loathe Romney, I think that Republican big wigs have known for some time that the chances of them taking the White House this year are a little dicey, in no small part because things got a little out of hand with the Tea Party (occasionally, powerful people forget that the unhinged peons they’re exploiting are autonomous beings). So, they throw the 2012 election Mitt’s way — if he wins, huzzah! If he loses, he’s out of their hair.
  2. Biden: Joe Biden is not, contrary to urban myth, some crazy old Uncle who smiles a lot and says wacky things. He’s actually a prodigiously skilled and deeply experienced politician who owns the speaker’s podium and knows how to engage in debate in a way that drives a knife through the ribs while coming across as almost impossibly likable (who occasionally says wacky things). Paul Ryan, on the other hand, is a young, inexperienced politician who came to national prominence at a time when just saying something with real conviction was considered making an argument. Ryan is very good at stating his positions with real conviction and coming across as entirely sincere when he does it — but defending those positions against the skills of a (I believe) far more gifted man who just happens to have been getting legislation passed in the US Senate for decades? Yeah. No.
  3. Obama: Barack Obama, while neither a magic unicorn nor a perfect man, is exceptionally good at what he does (witness the fact that he got a black man elected President). When Obama makes mistakes, particularly mistakes that are entirely his fault, dude gets back up. He gets back up and brings all of his exceptional-ness to bear on the mistake, and he is righteous and furious and wholly dedicated. I knew he would shake off the unforced error, home his (I believe) genius on the facts before him, read Romney like a paperback novel, and mop the ding-dang floor. Which is precisely what he did at Hofstra — occasionally just by letting Romney be Romney (“please proceed, Governor.” Heh).

So what am I predicting this time? Let me tell you.

The next debate will not be the giddy rush that the Hofstra debate was. Romney had gotten a little cocky (I think that’s his secret, Captain — he’s always cocky) but now, and I guarantee you this: He is furious.

He was beat and beat good, and it doesn’t matter how right wing pundits are spinning it — he knows he was beat. And I believe that Romney believes pretty strongly that no one deserves to beat him. At anything. (He’s got a wee sense of entitlement, is what I’m saying here). So he is going to prepare much better, and fire whoever gave him that bad Libya talking point, and be as laser-focused as he can — which, as James Fallows points out, doesn’t always work out, but he’s sure as hell going to do his best. And he’s no slouch.

This then leads to my next prediction:

I actually remain convinced that Obama will win re-election (and not just because the prospect of a Romney presidency makes me want to shatter into tiny pieces), but I am equally convinced that it will be way, way closer than it has any right to be, for a whole host of reasons (starting with low voter turn-out, moving through party loyalty, on to whiny disappointed liberals, and not failing to stop at Racism Station).

And if he is re-elected narrowly, you can bet the farm that the down ticket won’t fare all that well.

Which means it’s on us!

I was all set to volunteer with the campaign last week when I got sick and couldn’t go, but I’m all right now, and I’mma hit the streets. Pleasepleaseplease: If you want to see this President re-elected (and while I clearly have a good record as a prognosticator, I have been known to be wrong on occasion!) and you want to see him greeted by a US Congress that will actually work with him, and not work to ruin him, do what you can.

Do an hour of phonebanking; knock on doors with your local Democrats; go to a swing state with your local Democrats; send a small check; send a large check; go out with the campaign for a few hours on election day; remind everyone you know of the incalculable importance of actually voting — and if you need help with that latter, just watch the Hank Green video after the jump (and in case you doubt my endorsement of said video, bear in mind that the Obama campaign posted it on their very own tumblr).

Trust me on this! I have a good track record. Get Out The Vote!