Politicians script just about everything these days, but the weather is out of their league.
That poses great risk – political, that is – for just about everyone holding major executive office.
Recall that Chris Christie’s first hiccup after becoming governor was in December of 2010 when both he and lieutenant governor Kim Guadagno were out of state during a blizzard. That made Senate President Steve Sweeney the acting governor, which was something that wasn’t supposed to happen after the LG’s post was created.
Phil Murphy had his baptism in this regard 10 months after taking office in 2017 when a freak, November ice and snow storm hit the state, forcing motorists to spend hours on clogged roads. One of those who publicly complained about the harrowing experience was Christie. Go figure.
Since then, Murphy, a quick learner, has declared a “state of emergency” just about every time the forecast called for snow.
He did so again Wednesday night – and rightly so – as torrential rain and even a tornado battered New Jersey.
On Thursday morning, the governor inspected the tornado damage in Gloucester County along with Sweeney, Rep. Donald Norcross and others.
Murphy called it a “tragic and historic” 24 hours.
Norcross supplied the history.
“We never had tornadoes of this nature when we grew up,” he said. Norcross was born in 1958.
In addition to fighting climate change, which has contributed to massive forest fires in the west, the governor also put in a plug for the federal infrastructure bill now before Congress. He said his hope is that the state gets money to shore up its roads and bridges.
As we said, storms can be politically problematic for office holders, but there really isn’t all that much they can do about them.
Just about the only thing you can do is what Murphy and others did today – look at the damage first-hand, show sympathy to residents and work with the appropriate federal agencies to get people assistance.
Still, coping with storms is risky business. It takes luck to come out of them unscathed and in a sense, Murphy has had some.
This storm could have hit a few weeks ago when the governor was vacationing in Italy.