The Advocate is the Louisiana newspaper that wrote an editorial last week encouraging President Obama to interrupt his vacation and visit the state in the wake of massive flooding. Obama did visit the state earlier this week, after his vacation was over. Today the Advocate calls on Hillary Clinton to follow Obama’s example and get herself to Louisiana:
GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump visited Louisiana to survey the damage, and Obama arrived later.
Clinton has said she’d rather wait to visit when her presence won’t be a distraction from relief efforts. But if the incumbent president of the United States can visit Louisiana without doing apparent harm to flood response operations, then surely the woman who’s a leading contender to succeed him can do the same.
Louisiana is a reliably red state with few electoral votes, and Clinton isn’t likely to flip it to her column in the coming election. But Louisiana’s crisis should be a call to conscience and compassion, not the cold calculus of electoral math.
The editorial concludes, “If she wants to be the next president, Hillary Clinton should act like one, and come to Louisiana.”
Last Friday, Clinton published a statement on Facebook saying, “My heart breaks for Louisiana, and right now, the relief effort can’t afford any distractions.” That was an excuse but it was also a swipe at Donald Trump who, along with Mike Pence, was in Louisiana distributing supplies that day. It was Clinton’s passive-aggressive way of saying Trump’s visit really didn’t matter, except possibly as a net negative.
But some observers disagreed. In addition to the Advocate, which praised Trump’s visit, former Senator and Hillary Clinton supporter Mary Landrieu said Trump’s visit helped focus attention on the disaster. Even the state’s Democratic governor said Trump’s visit had been “helpful.”
Hillary Clinton and her team of highly paid advisers miscalculated badly on this. As the Advocate suggests, Clinton seems to have been basing her response on electoral math rather than compassion. It’s not a good look for the candidate who has made “love” and opposition to “hate” the core of her campaign message.