Tuesday, January 04, 2005


President Bush asked me to lead the fundraising efforts to help the victims of the tsunami. I agreed. I'm working together with George Bush Sr.

President Bush was caught off guard in this situation. And to be honest I think he almost fell off the horse. When the tsunami struck it took him 3 days to come back from his vacation and the first aid the administration was willing to give was 15 million dollars.

I don't blame him. Nobody, not even the local governments knew the extent of the destruction and loss of life in the first few days.

What caught the president off guard too was the huge outpouring of grief and compassion for the victims and the widespread and in depth media coverage. Americans cared. There are many catastrophies all over the world, but this one seems to have struck Americans and indeed the world right in the heart.

Maybe it's the fact that it was a natural disaster and not a man-made one. No one can sit back and sarcasticly say, are they beating each other's brains out again. No one is to blame. That is probably the reason for the massive international and national effort to help.

Though president Bush was caught off guard, he jumped back on the horse pretty fast.

First of all nobody should doubt George Bush's political acumen. He is a first class politician.

He did show his hand though. He appointed his brother, the governor of Florida Jeb Bush to accompany secretary Powell on his trip to Asia.

Governor Bush is very popular in Florida. He won reelection with a wide margin. It is now pretty clear to me that Jeb Bush will run for president in 2008.

Jeb Bush has a lot of experience dealing with national issues. What he lacks, as did George Bush when he first ran in 2000, is international experience. The governor is filling in that gap in his resume right now under the wings of Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice.

George Bush giving his brother some international exposure is a smart move. Asking me to join him in the relief effort was a smart move too.

President Bush knew he was under attack by Democrats for his late and initially small contribution to the relief efforts. By appointing me he deflects a lot of the criticism.

Why did I say yes to president Bush's request? Because I want to help the victims.