Presidential regret and atonementTwo articles today:
Clinton Makes Up for Lost Time in Battling AIDS and
Bush Visits Gulf Coast, Stressing Progress.
The gist of the first is that former president Clinton, regretting his failure to address genocide in Rwanda in 1994, has embarked on a surprisingly successful campaign to mitigate AIDS across Africa. Though his financial support is meager compared to the Gateses' (and even President Bush's), his name carries those dollars much farther with generic drug manufactures and hesitant African presidents. He matches his profuse apologies for inaction with action now.
Will President Bush eventually do the same in New Orleans? On this anniversary of Katrina, the president speaks only ungrammatical platitudes, like "houses will begat jobs, jobs will begat houses." It's unclear whether he has even visited the Ninth Ward. But he expresses an understanding that the devastation spared nobody: "Trent Lott had a fantastic house overlooking the bay. I know because I sat in it with he and his wife. And now it's completely obliterated. There's nothing." Yes, but Trent Lott didn't have to swim through downed power lines to the Superdome, and he isn't currently living in a car in Biloxi with his extended family. I hope the current president will follow the lead of his predecessor and one day make amends for his inaction.