The New York Times: ‘Obama Will Tap Bush and Clinton for Haiti Efforts’
President Obama is asking his two immediate predecessors – George W. Bush and Bill Clinton – to come together to lead the nation’s humanitarian and relief efforts to Haiti in the wake of the earthquake that has ravaged the Caribbean island.
The partnership is expected to be announced by the White House in the coming days, after officials have a better handle on the full scope of the devastation. Mr. Obama called Mr. Bush on Wednesday, aides to both men said, and Mr. Bush agreed to do whatever he could to help.
Besides being the right thing to do for those affected by the earthquake in Haiti–considering the ability George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will have in raising money and awareness alike–this is actually a brilliant political move by Barack Obama. Having George W. Bush as the personal face of Haiti relief will allow Obama to demonstrate the difference between the response of the American federal government to natural disaster–Hurricane Katrina–on our own shores, and will undoubtedly cause the disparity to be tied with Bush. Plus, it’s not like Bush can (or would) refuse.
The thing that will be lost in all of this was that New Orleans had the infrastructure and the forewarning that Haiti did not. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, however, chose to play the fiddle while hundreds of unused school buses flooded and the people of the Big Easy remained in the balance. There was plenty of opportunity for government at the state and local level to act in the best interests of its population, but instead both chose to embrace this entitlement society and anxiously await a response from the federal government.
Did Bush bungle Katrina? Absolutely, but he never should have been given the chance to do so. Will Obama bungle the relief effort in Haiti? I certainly hope not.
In the meantime, please continue to pray for those affected by this disaster.