Hurricane Sandy may be gone. But she left behind more than a path of death and destruction. She also left behind a powerful message: Beware of Mitt Romney!

Indeed, more than anything else, the impact of Hurricane Sandy illustrates the central issue of this presidential campaign and the fundamental difference between Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTop nuclear policy appointee removed from Pentagon post: report Prosecutors face legal challenges over obstruction charge in Capitol riot cases Biden makes early gains eroding Trump's environmental legacy MORE and Mitt Romney.

It boils down to this: Obama believes there’s an important role for the federal government. Romney hates the federal government and believes everything is better handled by the states or private business.

On Medicaid, says Romney, give it to the states. Medicare? Give it to private insurance companies. Auto manufacturers? No federal help, let them go under. Roe v. Wade? Turn it back to the states. Healthcare, too. Let states decide. Some will offer it, some won’t. So what?

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Now, here’s where Hurricane Sandy comes in. Believe it or not, Romney says the same thing about disaster relief. There’d be no more need for FEMA in Romney’s world. He’d turn emergency response to natural disasters over to states, to be handled 50 different ways. Imagine what a total disaster that would be. And, besides, what state could possibly afford it?

Hurricane Sandy provides the perfect ending to this presidential campaign, because nothing better illustrates how wrong the Tea Party and Mitt Romney are in their hatred for the federal government. And not just wrong. But dangerous.