The Katrina Test

In 2000, many reporters covering the Presidential race applied a standard that seems staggeringly naive and trite six years later: Who would you rather have a beer with?

On this anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Bush's failed Katrina response -- and ongoing failure to make timely progress rebuilding -- only highlight the importance of who actually occupies the Oval Office.

Few on this site would disagree that Bush's handling of Katrina was a disaster, but looking forward, which candidate eyeing '08 do you think would best lead the country in a similar disaster? Why?

Comments

  • lw (unverified)
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    Why don't you include the governor and mayor?

  • JB Eads (unverified)
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    Unless you live in New Orleans -- which you don't -- you don't get to vote on the Governor and Mayor.

    This was a question about the '08 Presidential race, not Bush's ongoing failings.

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    I think you have to make a strong case that there are two qualities -- empathy to understand the depths of the crisis, and experience "running things" to manage the logistics of the crisis. I think you'd probably want to include some evidence that the person has the capacity for quickly and creatively thinking through difficult and original challenges.

    Bush, of course, completely failed to have any empathy, any creative thinking, and having been a governor of a notoriously weak-governor state (where the railroads commissioner has more power), the makings of disaster were obvious. Worst of all, Bush's first (and sometimes only) instinct is a political one; rather than recognizing that if you do the right things, the politics eventually takes care of itself.

    On my list? In no particular order: John Edwards, Evan Bayh, and Bill Richardson.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Fine, lw.

    Would you rather have Ted who has his problems but has actually served in 3 branches of government?

    Or would you rather have Ron "it is time for a change so it doesn't matter that I never talk specifics and my only government experience is school board" Saxton.

    I think Gov. Blanco of Louisina handled Katrina better than Saxton would have handled a natural disaster.

    Look at it this way: Gulliani made mistakes. He has been criticized for putting the emergency command post that close to a bldg (World Trade Center) which has been bombed in 1993. But he did a superhuman job in the days right after 9/11. And it was interesting in his book that he had a chapter titled "weddings are optional, funerals are mandatory". How many funerals did that man attend? That alone deserves respect.

    I just can't imagine Ron Saxton having that much gumption--he'd have to be respectful, say something to try to make people feel better (not worse) and not make any snide remarks about unions or about people who disagree with him. My sense of Saxton is that he's more concerned that emergency planners have 401k retirement instead of PERS and why would anyone in government want to join a union? rather than the sort of emergency drills and procedures Gulliani had in place before Sept. of 2001.

    Thank back to the Spring Break Quake (over a decade ago) or farther back to the eruption of Mt. St. Helens.

    My sense is that the current Gov. and the current Mayor of Portland (who have the military/ law enforcement training many in government don't have) would have more of a sense of emergency preparedness than most small town mayors or Saxton the school board member. When he was on the school board, did the board adopt emergency preparedness procedures, or wasn't that important?

    And I seem to recall that awhile back a chunk of coastal highway just slid (not to mention those Hwy 35 closures due to fire this summer). Nothing in there about public retirement or the need to have better priorities. A problem has to be solved. What concrete problems has Saxton solved? Or is he all rhetoric?

    I seem to recall reading a history of decades ago when there was a really dry fall and the Gov. had to cancel hunting season because the forests were tinder dry. The history suggested some hunters were so angry they voted for the Gov. challenger that year.

    Certainly sounds more intelligent than Saxton saying "can't think of any of Ted's accomplishments? vote for change--vote for me".

    People who run that kind of campaign don't seem to realize that if they were asked "In case of a natural or man-made disaster, what would be your first 3 actions?", they would have to answer 3 specific items. "What my opponent has done wrong is..." would not be a responsive answer, no matter what campaign consultants might believe.

  • JB Eads (unverified)
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    two qualities -- empathy to understand the depths of the crisis, and experience "running things"...

    Exactly. It's a test of both competence and compassion -- and real compassion, not just phony, poll-tested Bush-like sloganeering.

    I've been thinking about it some today, and while I still want to learn more about other candidates, I think Edwards would arguably be the strongest. I think he would best connect with victims, coordinate an effective response, and understand and address the deeper issues of poverty and fairness the storm exposed.

    Gore's my personal favorite (if he runs), and think he would excel at the technical and policy side, but the ability to connect with people during something like this, I honestly don't know.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Good comments, Kari and JB!

    I am disappointed with Gore having supported him in 1988 and watched him ever since then. He seems to give better speeches when not running for president than when he is. He might make a better Cabinet official than a president. He seems to slow on the uptake--not energetic like Edwards.

    I like what I have seen of Edwards. He has the modest upbringing and knows what people (like those on the Gulf Coast) are going through without an advisor having to tell him.

    Mainstream Media Watch: Has anyone else noticed how many times national figures say "But Lieberman was the VP nominee in 2000!" but don't speak of Edwards as "John Edwards, the 2004 VP nominee, said today..."? Maybe they are all enthralled with the (rather silly notion)of Hillary (not Sen. Clinton, but Hillary) that before the 2006 elections they already know she is the "frontrunner" for 2008 and the only thing that can stop her is the "anti-Hillary candidate".

    Lots of other things can stop her, starting with making no better a showing in the 2008 race than Pat Schroder or Elizabeth Dole (both better known in their own right longer than the former First Lady) made when they ran.

    Just like Al Haig thought he could run for president until ordinary Iowans started asking questions he didn't expect of the "We saw you and C-SPAN and want you to explain your statement that..." variety. Not to mention that scene in the press room when Reagan was shot--he thought he could re-write the presidential succession order?

    Come to think of it, add grace under fire and appropriate humor to the list of qualities. Reagan's "forgot to duck" comment as he was being wheeled into the operating room impressed people who may never have voted for him. Here was someone who could think well enough under stress to make such a quip. That takes a strong personality.

  • Levon (unverified)
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    Winston Wolfe - because he's competent, effective, and knows how to clean up real good.

    Besides, WolfePac would be a great name for a Political Action Committee.

    This question deserves a sarcastic answer. It barely rises above the beer buddy question in terms of legitimate criteria for choosing a president.

    How about a president with the ability to choose a competent FEMA Director?

    The best of the lot is Russ Feingold......although he's unelectable in this country at this point in history.

  • josh reynolds (unverified)
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    Bill Richardson and Rudy Giulani

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)
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    Few on this site would disagree that Bush's handling of Katrina was a disaster, but looking forward, which candidate eyeing '08 do you think would best lead the country in a similar disaster? Why?

    The answer is obvious: Ray Nagin, Jr. and/or Kathleen Babineaux Blanco for their heroic and fantastic job in protecting, saving, and now restoring New Orleans and South Louisiana into pre-Katrina condition with the Billion$ of federal tax dollars Bush the Bungler and Congress has given them.

    • Wes
  • Frank Carper (unverified)
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    Damn right Bush is a bungler, and speaking of federal funds, where's the money FEMA promised for Oregon's share of Katrina assistance?

  • BOHICA (unverified)
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    empathy to understand the depths of the crisis, and experience "running things" to manage the logistics of the crisis

    There is only one person who has ALL the qualifications, General Wesley K. Clark.

    Empathy- During the Rwanda genocide, Clark was in the Pentagon asking "where's the plan?"

    It was a chaos he had a chance to observe and experience firsthand. In 1994, he got a job as J-5 at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a job that put him in charge of strategic planning—writing war plans—for the Army. "On the third day that I was in the office, the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were killed. Three days later, on a Friday evening, [I was told], ‘There has been an invasion of Rwanda. There was fighting in the streets of Kigali.' I said, ‘Get me a map.' And so the guys produced a map, and people ran around in my office and said, ‘Sir, there is a tribal conflict. There are these two groups. It's the Hutus and the Tutsis. No, wait a minute, let me go check that. It may be the Tutus and the Hutsis. . . .' The next morning, on Saturday morning, I went to a meeting with Secretary of Defense William Perry in his office. We were preparing for a trip to Korea. There was a little bit of urgency in that because it turned out that we were on the brink of going to war with North Korea. It seemed like they had a couple of atomic weapons, or might have them, and the president had said that wouldn't be permitted on the Korean Peninsula. . . . On Monday—this is actually my seventh day in the job as J-5—a guy came into my office, he tugged on my sleeve, and he said, ‘Sir, I'm not supposed to tell you this, but I want you to know that there's a secret war plan being developed for Haiti.' I said, ‘We're going to invade Haiti?' " The United States invaded Haiti. The United States, however, wouldn't invade Rwanda, although Clark pushed his mentor, General John Shalikashvili, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to push for an intervention. Shalikashvili declined after Clark told him twenty thousand troops would be required, and as Clark says now, "I watched as we stood by as eight hundred thousand people were hacked to death by machete." Esquire magazine August 2003
    There was no plan and he never forgot it. When members of the Dayton Peace Accord team were killed on the Mount Ingram road, he went down the side of the cliff, under fire by the way, to try and rescue them. They were all dead by the time he got there. One of the most touching things he did was bring the wedding ring of one of the victims back to his widow.

    During a town hall meeting in NH, a women veteran brought up the effects of sexual harrassment in the military and that she had been a victim. Clark apologized to her explaining that since he was part of the leadership it was his failure too. He met with her after the meeting to try and get her help.

    Experience- Here's his bio NAME: Wesley Kanne Clark.

    AGE-BIRTH DATE: 58, Dec. 23, 1944, Chicago.

    EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree, West Point, 1966; Oxford, masters in philosophy, politics and economics, 1968; U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, masters in military science, 1975.

    EXPERIENCE: Infantry officer and company commander, Vietnam, 1969-70; social science instructor and assistant professor, West Point, 1971-74; White House fellow, Office of Management and Budget, 1975-76; Army operations officer in Europe, 1976-78; assistant executive officer to the Supreme Allied Commander, Brussels, 1978-79; battalion commander, Fort Carson, Colo., 1980-82; chief of Army studies group, office of the chief of staff, 1983-84; commander at the National Training Center and 4th Infantry Division, 1984-88; director, battle command training program, 1988-89; commanding general, National Training Center, 1989-91; deputy chief of staff at U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 1991-92; commanding general, 1st Cavalry Division, Ford Hood, Texas, 1992-94; director for strategic plans and policy, Joint Staff, 1994-96; commander, Southern Command, 1996-97; Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, 1997-2000; managing director of the brokerage firm Stephens Group Inc. in Little Rock, Ark., 2000-2002; military analyst, CNN, 2002; chairman and CEO, Wesley K. Clark & Associates, 2002-present.

    FAMILY: Wife, Gertrude; son Wesley.

    QUOTE: "I'm concerned about the direction of the country. The policies need serious work. I just don't see the strategy. I just don't see the vision."

    "You will determine whether rage or reason guides the United States in the struggle to come. You will choose whether we are known for revenge or compassion. You will choose whether we, too, will kill in the name of God, or whether in His name, we can find a higher civilization and a better means of settling our differences." - Wes Clark (Seton Hall Graduation Speech, May 13, 2002)
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    I'm with BOHICA...General Wes Clark.

    I see him as qualified to dig us out of the Middle East, an expert at diplomacy given his tenure as head of NATO, with proven ability in handling a disaster like Katrina with the crook of his little finger. He also isn't strongly tied to "beltway think" or "establishment Democratic Party think."

    In Oregon, only Ted Kulongoski, former Marine, friend of the National Guard, ties to every small town emergency plan, with personal courage above politics, could handle a Katrina type disaster.

  • Chris (unverified)
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    "but looking forward, which candidate eyeing '08 do you think would best lead the country in a similar disaster? Why?"

    Former Maine Senator George J. Mitchell. One word, 'Ireland'.

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    I was pondering this last night listening to NPR, and it seems like Bush has always been interested in ruling, but governing--not so much. I've watched as the lies have washed over the country and incompetence was followed up with jaw-dropping incompetence, and wondered how it is that Bush still enjoys support from even a third of the population. I think it's because citizens have a twin desire to see their leaders as people who can govern (in emergencies) but also who can rule.

    I recall at the 50th anniversary of Stalin's death, Moscovites flooded into Red Square and mourned his loss. Surely it was his rulership, his strength and the reflected respect that shone on the country, that they mourned the loss of. Bush has none of his steel or cunning, but he does have that Caligula-like imprimatur of hereditary rulership, and perhaps this is enough for some folks.

    Anyway, as the to the question, I think Al Gore might be the best person for the job. This is shocking to say, because not only did I vote Nader, but I did so while aiming venom at Gush and Bore. But watching how Al has handled himself since 2000, seeing him take up important causes and speak from a sense of mission, not vainglory, he really seems like a guy who's ready to govern.

    Russ Feingold ain't a bad two man.

  • Former Salem Staffer (unverified)
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    Wes Clark, hands down. I had actually registered as a Democrat in California simply for the sake of voting for Clark in the primary. Of course, people in states that went to Bush picked John Kerry before any of us on the West Coast had any say in the matter. Tragic. Clark has the national security credentials to avoid being portrayed as weak on defense. He also has the ability to appeal to moderate Republicans (like myself) who would never vote for Hillary Clinton or John Kerry. My second choice would be Rudy Guiliani, though I think he's too socially liberal to make it through a GOP primary. But he demonstrated tremendous leadership in New York before and after Sept. 11. Ray Nagin could have learned a lot from his example, but chose not to.

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    I'm going to second Kari's recommendation of Bill Richardson. He is my home state's governor, so I have a little bias, but I have never met anyone more skilled to lead than that man. He gains more confidence because of his ability to reach between racial lines and is comfortable diving into discussions on race, class and poverty. Those discussions are still missing from the "aftermath" and have only been brought up on secondary levels, never right in front of an American audience. Another person, Madeline Albright - self explanatory.

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    Of course, people in states that went to Bush picked John Kerry before any of us on the West Coast had any say in the matter.

    I dislike the primacy of the New Hampshire primary as much as any Western Democrat, but it should be noted that NH went for Kerry in the general election.

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    Albright, though cool and very thoughtful, was born in Prague. But maybe Al would like her as his Veep.

    ;-)

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    Which candidate eyeing '08 do you think would best lead the country in a similar disaster? Why?

    Anyone would do better. Unfortunately, that means both Democrats and Republicants.

  • Former Salem Staffer (unverified)
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    Kari-

    I was referring more to Iowa, South Carolina, etc.

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    Bill Richardson would definitely be on my list. Feingold as well. And I do love Al Gore now... if only that Gore had run in 2000 (with a different VP).

    John Edwards would not.

    I did not like him during the 2004 election, and I like him even less now.

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    Wes Clark would be my choice.

    He's got the smarts. He's got the admin experience. He gets real life.

  • James Caird (unverified)
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    Notice that no one has mentioned Hillary Clinton! Do you think that's because people believe she's not the right leader for this specific situation, or because they don't support her as Democratic nominee in general?

    I'd give my nod to John Edwards for empathy and Wesley Clark for logistics and planning.

  • JB Eads (unverified)
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    Some great comments here. Wes Clark was a pretty glaring omission on my earlier comment -- you could make a strong case that he's the best suited to oversee the logistics and execution of a response.

    And I think Gore wouldn't necessarily be unable to connect to real people, a larger question really is how the media filter covers and/or undermines him. Seems like they've made peace with the guy (mostly).

    James is right to point out how Hillary isn't really the first name to jump off your lips. I don't think that's because of her politics necessarily, but more a vague sense that's she's not up to this level of leadership. For what it's worth, I think she's a born legislator but not ready to lead during something like this.

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    I'd like to mention Hillary Clinton, because of you JB :)

    Leaders are often unproven, proof is usually in the intention, intelligence, and charisma. No one thought Rudy Guilini was good for anything aside from cleaning up Time Square for a long, long time.

    I'd also like to throw this out into the atmosphere...Who could do this, despite the logistical problems? Place themselves in the center of that Superdome and relate to their constituencies? I think Hillary would be front and center for the right reasons - not flying overhead in Air Force One...

  • LT (unverified)
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    No one thought Rudy Guilini was good for anything aside from cleaning up Time Square for a long, long time.

    But much of preparing for the unexpected is the unflashy stuff of logistics, planning, and drills.

    Still, even without a disaster, it is possible to look at who has done the planning, thought through the alternatives, gotten involved in the logistics.

    That is why I like John Edwards and Wes Clark. And most sitting governors have had some sort of experience with this sort of thing.

  • BOHICA (unverified)
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    I think I should point out tht most anyone posting on this blog could have done a better job than the Bushies. While you were all watching it unfold, what were your ideas of getting help into the affected areas? NOLA was just one area hit. As I saw the picture of the other coastal areas, I noticed that most of the beaches were clear, that the storm had pushed everything inland several 100 yards. All I could think about was the siege of Khe Sanh and its resupply by C-130s. They would use the Low Altitude Parachute Extraction System (LAPES)as a method for getting supllies and ammo into the base.,

    With LAPES, up to 38,000 pounds of cargo is pulled from the aircraft by large, inflated cargo parachutes while the aircraft is five to 10 feet above the ground. The load then slides to a stop within a very short distance. Efforts are underway to increase the maximum load weights for LAPES aerial delivery to 42,000 pounds.

    So I kept thinking this is the way. The beaches and the highways are perfect for LAPES. Drop in ground crews by helicopter, send in the C-130s with equipment, vehicles, food and water. I was not alone in my thinking. I received this email from one of the founding members of VFP chapter 72 (reorganized) who has since moved to Florida.

    From: Name removed Sent: Sunday, September 04, 2005 6:17 AM Subject: Keesler AFB Runways Open - But No Airlift??? Dear Tax-Paying Veterans-- For 25 years, I was of the belief that my USAF uniform was worn for the people who were paying me - Mr and Mrs American taxpayer. Just as you did, I watched in horror, day after day, the tax-paying citizens of New Orleans, Biloxi, Gulfport and communities in between, begging for any help they could get. BEGGING FOR THEIR LIVES. Keesler AFB was in Katrina's bullseye, taking a major hit - EXCEPT FOR THE RUNWAY. Check out the Keesler report below. * So all last week I am having flashbacks of my time in the USAF blue uniform. Between wars, I was in command and control units in the Air National Guard. MOBILITY was my middle name. Every year we practiced instant mobilizations, where we had to deploy our radar site in Air Force aircraft - get this - IN 2 DAYS from the time of notification. Before and after Desert Storm, I was in an Air Force Reserve search and rescue unit in Portland, Oregon. MOBILITY was my middle name. This was a full time mission assigned to the Air Force Reserve. Our helicopter and C-130 crews deployed on A MOMENT'S NOTICE to pluck people off mountains, out of swollen rivers, out of the forests - some injured, some not, some dead. Lives were risked to go into the blast zone to save people from the errupting Mt. St. Helens. We flew para-rescuers to Homestead, FL to save victims of Hurricane Andrew. We flew rescuers to San Francisco after the killer earthquakes in Oakland. None of these people had to asked to be saved. THIS WAS OUR JOB. We mobilized on A MOMENT'S NOTICE. That was the name of our unit's newspaper. I was the PAO that produced it and worked with the media who covered the courageous deeds of my colleagues. I spent my last 6 years working full time for the USAFR in California airlift units. MOBILITY was my middle name. The aircraft in my units flew HUMANITARIAN AIRLIFT missions. We flew water purifications systems and medical help to refugees in Rwanda. We flew water delivery systems and medical help to the refugees in Somalia. We flew canine search teams to Oklahoma City after the bombings. We airlifted and air-dropped food and supplies to North Dakota after a killer blizzard. MOBILITY was our game, and when we took off, you can be sure that help was on the way. SHOCK and AWE describes me now. I am in total SHOCK over how our Gulf Coast neighbors - TAX-PAYERS who pay for our military forces -- were left to suffer and die, day after day. What happened to MOBILITY???? What happened to HUMANITARIAN AIRLIFT???? Then there's AWE - as in "awe shit" after I received the Keesler AFB damage report from a group of former USAF radar operators and ground controllers. I went to tech school at Keesler in 1972 at the height of the Cambodian bombing raids, to be trained to tell fighter pilots where to go in the war zone. But the "awe-shit" reaction was not because of flashbacks to that other war. It was in knowing that RESCUE and MOBILITY and HUMANITARIAN AIRLIFT into and out of Keesler AFB was possible before and after Katrina. These assets could have been staged somewhere nearby, gee - like at Scott AFB in Illinois - HEADQUARTERS FOR THE USAF'S AIR MOBILITY COMMAND - and then flown in to Keesler. There could have been a MASS EVAC out of Keesler after the 'cane. The Air Force practices these every day, all over the world. Brothers and Sisters - I am too emotional to write to the folks at the Air Mobility Command or anywhere else. But I have included the string of addresses from those who were sending around the Keesler Damage Report. I urge you to write to them, to your congressional leaders, to anyone that could make a difference. Ask them what the hell they spent our Gulf Coast neighbor's tax dollars on, because we know it sure wasn't them. And tell them I sent you. Name removed, Major, USAFR, retired Vietnam, Desert Storm, Cold War VFP Chapter 119 - Tampa Bay Mom, citizen, tax-payer From: Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 10:42 AM To: Subject: Keesler AFB Meets Katrina Folks, Here's what has happened to our own USAF brethren at Keesler AFB, Gulfport MS: - Base housing was largely destroyed by a 25 foot wave - There's 4 feet of mud in Maj Gen Utterback's house (2 AF/CC) - MSG/CC house burned to the ground (gas leak caught fire) - 6000 USAF members and their families are living in shelters - The power will be out there for at least 3 weeks - The 2nd largest USAF hospital (at Keesler) is closed -- Seawater got into the generator and they have no power - Commissary/BX mostly destroyed - Runway is operational; it's the only open airfield in the area -- Day/VFR conditions only - Gulfport Airport is closed for the foreseeable future - The fence around the base is severely damaged - Keesler had looters last night -- Maxwell AFB is sending an SF detachment to reinforce the Keesler SF - Parts of I-10 are under water; at least one major bridge is down - Keesler has almost no communications (landline or cell) -- They are relying primarily on radios This is a tragedy with a capital T v/r /SIGNED/ name removed

    Impeach the bastard.

  • Megan (unverified)
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    I saw Al Gore on 20/20 last night and really like what he has done to help educate people on global warming and the environment. I think he would make an excellent president. Unfortunately, many see him as an environmentalist wacko and wouldn't vote for him. So if he doesn't run, my other choice is Biden. Really impressed with what Biden had to say when he was on Real Time with Bill Mahrer. Most presidential hopefuls don't have the guts to go on that show. For instance, don't think we'll ever see Hilary on the guest panel. She might tick off the Republican moderates she is hoping to woo in 2008.

  • Clackablog (unverified)
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    L. Neil Smith is the only sane choice; for, if folks persist in living in the path of certain disaster, they should at least get someone who will tell them, in no uncertain terms, it's their own choice, and won't pretend to have a plan to protect them.

    With the oil revenues Louisiana has reaped, there certainly is no reason why they could not have their own Cat 5 seawall. Their risk, their benefit, their cost.

    I don't expect them to buy my snow tires, my ice scraper and my parkas, and certainly don't expect them to bail me out when half of downtown Portland dissolves in the next Richter Scale 8 quake. My risk, my burden to prepare for it.

    Which I have... after I assessed the relative risks and moved here from the Gulf Coast where ah grew up with mah folks an' kin. Not all Southerners are slow, ya know... just the ones who decide they can flout death and then have everyone else pay for it.

    If you don't follow leaders and watch your parking meters you don't need a Weatherman to know which way the wind blows

    And you don't need syncophantic toadies like Mad George, or Charming Billy (who bombed the crap out of aspirin factories, certainly revving up the mad mullahs which lead to 9/11).

    Give up on expecting D.C. to fix anything without massive screwups, grow up, be responsible for yourself, your family and your community.

    Letting D.C. 'fix' things leads not only to pork and liars-in-chief, but also to expecting everyone else to fix our problems. Instead, I'll be there, as a disaster service volunteer, wherever needed; shirking community responsibility is not what I'm talking about.

  • Dan J (unverified)
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    Jeb Bush would be an excellent choice.

  • James Caird (unverified)
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    Jeb Bush would be an excellent choice ...... ...for me to poop on! (with apologies to Triumph the insult comic dog)

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    Jeff Alworth: "Albright, though cool and very thoughtful, was born in Prague." Thank God. Speaking of Rwanda, Albright was the one who enacted (and also very strongly supported) U.S. obstruction of efforts in the U.N. to call the genocide in Rwanda by its proper name, because genocide carries obligations under international law, as well as the Clinton admin policy of opposing any U.N. intervention (never mind U.S. action). They were all spooked by Somalia. She was still U.N. ambassador at that time.

    Later, as secretary of state, she opined when asked about the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians as the result of the failed policy of economic sanctions agains Hussein's government in Iraq (this was really a surreal, grotesque dance of death between the U.S. and Hussein), she opined "I think it's worth it." She sort of choked in saying it, & I think she knew she was defending the indefensible, but she was even more responsible for the continuation of that policy long after it had obviously failed than she was for the U.S. stance on Rwanda at the U.N. in '94.

    In other words, not cool at all and far too willing to bury her thoughtfulness.

    Jenny S., if you see this, I'd be very interested in more of your thoughts on Edwards.

    What does anyone think of Barack Obama?

    Biden is a slime mold, too oily by half, and played the same games in the run-up to our war of aggression against Iraq that Kerry did, only more cynically. An opportunist of the first rank.

    Gore I think said some things a while ago about not wanting it any more that he'd have to explain if he changed back. I'm glad he's raising the profile of global warming as an issue but I'm less convinced that he's got sufficient answers even to that -- it's all about individual personal behavior with him and not about institutional contexts that encourage, permit or constrain individual action, and far too little about corporate behavior. And I don't have any sense of where he is on other issues at this point. In 2000 he made some feeble populist sounds toward the end of the campaign, too late, that got him some movement, but he seemed to be mostly a creature of his handlers as far as the campaign went. Would he have greater independence and give direction himself now? What would that direction be?

    Hated Bill the Great Triangulator, don't think Senator Clinton would be much different & she is way too far into the DLC (& not to moderate it) for me.

    As may be obvious, I don't have an answer to the question. Will try to learn more on Richardson due to things people say about him here.

  • boikin123 (unverified)
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    Call Erik Sten's office and ask him to describe Portland's disaster contingency plan for earthquake, volcano, etc. That'll give you chills.

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    What a great question to help voters distinguish between a merely good campaigner and a potentially good executive.

    Clark & Richardson both have the experience leading large bureaucracies and making them work. The problems Richardson had with security issues at Los Alamos were no doubt a good learning experience for him--and he never tried to pass the buck. I like Biden and Edwards, but what can they point to by way of experience at the executive level? (Though Biden would probably be a good intelligence czar.) Obama is green, green, green--wait till 2012 and show me what you can point to (this applies to Edwards, too.) Clinton is a great speaker, and even consensus builder, but what can she point to at the executive level other than the health care plan of her husband's first adminstration? We all know how well she was able to promote her plan that time.

    <h2>Hopefully voters will ask to see the resumes in '08 and remember that executive novices, like W., can surprise us either way. Better to go with the tried and true.</h2>
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