I don't think the premise of this story is surprising or in doubt, but I do have one question about it.
When Ike redesigned the coastline, it also rearranged the political landscape in Harris County for the Nov. 4 elections.
For one thing, candidates mostly stopped howling at one another by the time the hurricane stopped howling at Houston. And it looks like the campaign trash talk will remain buried for a while.
"Any politician that gets out there right now and starts running negative ads is a damn fool," said Commissioner Steve Radack, a Republican seeking re-election against Democrat Dexter Handy. "They better have something positive to say to help this region rather than just tearing somebody down. There's been enough destruction already."
In the 7th Congressional District race on the west side, which suffered less damage, Republican incumbent John Culberson has organized a blood drive and implored the public to provide water and food to emergency workers, while Democratic challenger Michael Skelly directed his campaign volunteers to hurricane recovery work and published a list of contacts for various assistance agencies.
But Culberson also has drawn criticism, from fellow Republican Radack in addition to Skelly's campaign, after saying in several venues that the federal government failed to provide sustenance for emergency workers stationed at Tully Stadium in his district.
"It's tricky ground to say the very government you make laws in is not performing well," Radack said. "When you say you are on this committee or that committee and you don't like what's going on, some people are going to say, well, you are on that committee (and should get the government to act)."
Radack also put Democratic U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee on his list of alleged grandstranders. He said the congresswoman made several media appearances in the aftermath of Ike and that voters question whether extensive public remarks by elected officials lead to any constructive changes.
Jackson Lee campaign manager Gerald Womack said the congresswoman was part of a bipartisan lineup working hard to make sure constituents get the maximum help available from all levels of government.
Regardless, Radack said Ike was a defining moment for local politics: "This week has pretty much, in my opinion, made up people's minds as to who they want to keep in office."