A front-page article in today’s Washington Post criticizes President Bush for not being President Clinton, reporting "complaints that the vacationing President Bush has been insensitive to a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions." While Bill Clinton was in the BBC’s limelight, telling us he feels the world’s pain, the President was vacationing in Crawford and quietly mobilizing massive relief efforts.
For some in the chattering classes, for whom the only reality consists in chatter, this wasn’t good enough. Here’s Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations: "When that many human beings die -- at the hands of terrorists or nature -- you’ve got to show that this matters to you, that you care." Deeds aren’t enough; a epic tragedy requires the verbal poetry of a Clinton.
And then there’s Jan Egeland, the Norwegian head of U.N. relief efforts, who yesterday criticized the relief efforts of the developed nations as "stingy." Relying heavily on figures that count only "official development assistance," not relief that comes out of other governmental budgets, relief that comes in other forms (freeing people from murderous despots, for example), or charitable giving, Egeland shows that he’s part of the chattering chorus. I’ll say no more, but point you to
Jim Geraghty’s devastating riposte at NRO, which relies in part on this post at Powerline.