A colleague, who has kin in Vermont, pointed out this morning that President Barack Obama isn’t touring Vermont when he makes the traditional presidential “I care” visit that accompanies national disasters. Obama will tour Patterson, New Jersey on Sunday, which has been particularly hard hit in the wake of Irene.
But so has Vermont. About 13 towns remained cut off after the roads were washed away, and the National Guard was bringing in supplies of food and water, in some cases by helicopter.
Truth be told, presidential visits have no real value other than maybe giving a morale boost to people and certainly providing some favorable political footage on the nightly news. The administration has already sent various underlings in emergency management agencies to all of the states affected.
But Obama has never visited Vermont as president (his wife did last spring). And George Bush missed one state in all of his years in office. Guess which one?
The state didn’t exactly put the welcome mat out for the guy.
Brattleboro, the poster community for this latest disaster, is famously weird and could make for uncomfortable questions for a visiting president. In two towns on town meeting day years ago, residents approved resolutions calling for the indictment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney for violating the Constitution. One of the towns? Brattleboro.
The last time a sitting president visited Vermont was 1995 when President Bill Clinton had no choice. He wanted to speak to the National Governor’s Association and it was holding its gathering in Vermont? Why? Howard Dean chaired the NGA. He was also the governor of Vermont.