Most people realize there is a certain amount of photo-opping involved in being president. That should go without saying. What really matters is the action rather than the words or photos, right? That being the case, I could care less if Clinton played Hearts while flying over a tornado-ravaged area of Florida. I could also care less if Bush stayed on vacation during Katrina . . . if the victims were receiving the support and care they needed on the ground.
Presidents DON’T need to tour damaged areas to get a feel for what happened. They have TVs, just like the rest of us.
Presidents DO need to appoint competent people to run the departments responsible for responding to disasters.
Presidents DO need to property fund our country’s infrastructure so it can withstand known pending natural disasters.
Those are two MAJOR strikes against Bush, which truly effect American lives.
NetLets: “Clinton’s contrived compassion
In ‘Another flood, another FEMA’ (Commentary, Sept. 13), Ashley Shelby queries ‘Why did Grand Forks deserve a better response to a catastrophic natural event than New Orleans?’
Shelby concludes that it was not due to the magnitude of Hurricane Katrina or the more forward planning and timely response of the local and state officials but rather, ‘I think the more likely answer is that the administration in charge (that being the Clinton administration) felt, at core, a fundamental empathy for American citizens who had lost everything through no fault of their own.’
Apparently Shelby never read Lt. Col. Robert Patterson’s book ‘Dereliction of Duty.’ Patterson was one of the military aides who was in charge of the black bag or ‘nuclear football’ which must accompany the president of the United States at all times.
Patterson describes in his book how in February of 1998 President Clinton and his staff decided to visit a tornado-ravaged area of Florida where 40 people had lost their lives. The commander in charge of the helicopter flight over the area had gone to great lengths to plan the flight route so that President Clinton could get a real sense of the damage. Patterson writes, ‘The President, however, was busy playing a game of Hearts with his pals.’ He couldn’t be bothered — not even to look out of the window occasionally.
When it was time to align Marine One with the press helicopter for a picture, the president quickly peered out the window, feigning an interested and grief-stricken expression. The sole reason for the trip, in his mind, apparently was for that photograph.
So much for Shelby’s hypothesis.
Don Spartz, Baxter, Minn.”