- Let's face it: Despite the greeting-card companies' efforts to convince us otherwise, February is the absolute armpit of the calendar year. But if you're sitting underneath your happy lamp, swathed in layers of post-Christmas fat and long underwear, and thinking that things couldn't get any worse, take heart—at least you're not a politician in Georgia this week.
- Late last month, normally temperate Atlanta was brought to its knees by a couple of inches of snow, a k a Winter Storm Leon. A massive traffic jam left commuters in their cars for hours and hours (almost a full day in some cases) and children were forced to sleep at school—not your run-of-the-mill weather inconveniences. And the state's politicians got caught with their snow pants down; according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Governor Nathan Deal's office began asking questions about the storm 24 hours in advance, but nothing came of the inquiries. Whoops.
- This week, when the weather oracles started predicting that Winter Storm Pax would be pummeling Georgia and other parts of the South starting Wednesday, Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed took the proactive approach, holding a press conference, declaring a state of emergency in 88 counties, and urging residents to telecommute. But who knows if it's too late for the mayor and governor's political careers—happy-go-lucky Al Roker basically called Deal and Reed cheap incompetants on the Today Show for not taking precautions with the roads, and The New Yorker predicted that Reed, a rising political star, would take a tumble. Deal, who is up for re-election this year, could take a hit as well; the Democratic Governors Association has already made a commercial gutting Deal for his handling of the storm. They wouldn't be the first pols to be unmade by snow.
- Chicago mayors know all too well what a fumble on winter weather can do to a career. In 1979, a blizzard dropped almost 19 inches of snow on the city. Mayor Michael Bilandic wasn't up to the task of clearing the roads—he went on to lose his primary challenge to an upstart candidate.
- Newly elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio of Sandanista-supporting fame did little to endear himself to Upper East Siders, who were perhaps naturally suspicious of the Brooklyn-proud mayor, when he left the neighborhood with less-than-adequate snow-removal support. De Blasio later apologized.
- In late 2010, then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took some flack for very likely being at his vacation home in Bermuda during a wing-dinger of a snowstorm. Already into his third and last term as mayor and richer than sin, it did not seem to matter very much to Mike.
- But when Denver was hit by huge blizzard that shut the city down for days in 1982, it mattered to Mayor Bill McNichols. He took the blame for the city's blizzard blunder and lost his 1983 re-election bid.
- Former Washington, D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty's handling of the "Snowpocolypse" of 2010 may have played some role in his primary-election loss, though lack of attention to snow details didn't seem to derail one of his predecessors, Marion Barry—he had other problems to deal with.
- What seems certain is that during winter storm season, politicians along with the rest of us plebes are screaming to the heavens, "Jesus, make it warm!"
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