Tuesday, September 13, 2005


That's what President Bush should have begun asking himself, rather than simply tapping one of the most charming and well-liked former presidents to help in the wake of the 2004 tsunami and Hurricane Katrina:

What would Clinton do?

Don't get me wrong - this isn't a sarcastic attack on the failures and petty triumphs of the 42nd President; I appreciate the bond that's developed among the Bush presidents and Clinton. It redeems Clinton to the extent he can be redeemed by employing his greatest asset: His charm and warmth, which made everyone he came into contact with feel like he understood and cared, and would be able to help.

I'm serious. Bush needs to set aside his reserve, and let the warmth that shone with the victims and the hurting families of the Sept. 11 attacks beam forth some much-needed healing. It's not that he hasn't failed; he has. That's no excuse not to pick yourself up and resume the job you were hired to do.

And there's a lot that needs to be healed: a broken land, a raft of refugees, and Bush's own growing aversion to the attacks of the media and political rivals. He needed to hold people's hands during the hurricane and be there in a very tangible way shortly afterward.

He needs to be a more vocal and visible arbiter now, not simply acting as referee between Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco behind the closed doors of Air Force One, or reassigning FEMA, two weeks after the worst of the hurricane's force has passed.

He needs to revamp his "faith-based initiatives," turning them into Community-based Initiatives, helping to organize and make effective the superior efforts of the hundreds of charities and millions of citizens who are reaching out with money and practical help right now. Bush can make the appropriate branches of government available to these efforts in order to streamline them without co-opting them, and he can give the governors and mayors an example to follow.

He needs to begin a month of town-hall meetings in each region of the country to develop a plan that comes out of the communities - and not the taxpayers' pockets - to respond with the money, goods, and teams to help with the rebuilding and relief. Then he needs to share these findings publicly, acknowledging the people who contributed and the people they hope to serve.

And finally, Bush has to do the one thing Clinton never did: He has to lead.

Update: From other WWCD? posters - XB234C at The Viceroy's Fuguestate, and for those jonesin' for some Cindy, Sweetness & Light has a knockout WWCD? .

Cross-posted at Guide to Midwestern Culture and the Badger Blog Alliance. I liked it that much!


At 2:04 PM, Blogger KJ said...

Great post.

Among Democrats, I think Clinton is more popular than Jesus, so it is a good slogan to use.


Post a Comment

<< Home