Yesterday, Barack Obama announced that George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were going to be appointed to head up a major fundraising effort for Haiti. Bush and Clinton appeared together on Face the Nation after. Cute presidential hijinks ensued.
Most notable is the fun of George W. Bush calling Bill Clinton his "fourth brother," the way former presidents do (or don't) call each other, and the strange sentimentality evoked by seeing Dubya and Clinton getting buddy-buddy. Bush, for the most part, is suspiciously coherent and on-message, and if you forget the way he left the country after his presidency, his dumb Texas charm kind of works, in this situation, next to Bubba's classic Presidential Drawl. The common ground is, really, that these two could probably have Barrel-of-Monkeys-level fun if they got together. It remains to be seen, though: Are seeing these three together enough to unite Americans to set aside their political differences and care about Haiti? And eventually: Is the kind of massive outpouring for Haiti sustainable? Given the state of our own economy, and that one out of every eight people in this country are using food stamps, and that Haiti doesn't have the glamor or previously higher-profile cause campaigning that, say, the entire continent of Africa does (Vanity Fair covers, Bono endorsements, etc), it's easy to go ahead and prognosticate: "No."
Bringing relief and sending money into Haiti will eventually go from the top of the news cycle, to a lukewarm cause, to a politically unpopular concentration of efforts. Needless to say, it'll be interesting to see where our politicians and political party figureheads stand then.
For now, though: this'll do.