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Vote For Captain Courageous in 2008

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Vote For Captain Courageous in 2008

Vote For Captain Courageous in 2008

Vote For Captain Courageous in 2008

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Presidential hopefuls have begun lining up for their 2008 election bids. But our own slightly askew correspondent Brian Unger says he's found the perfect candidate — Capt. Scott Burke, who piloted a crippled JetBlue aircraft to safety last week. The nation, says Unger, needs a cool, capable pilot at the wheel — and Burke is that man...

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Finally today, we recall a hairy moment from last week. On Wednesday, millions of Americans watched anxiously on live TV as a JetBlue airplane with crippled front wheels landed safely at Los Angeles International Airport. In that moment, our Brian Unger saw the future, and here's today's Unger Report.

BRIAN UNGER reporting:

In times of crisis, peril and threats to the well-being and safety of Americans, we look to someone who can lead us with courage, quiet fortitude, humility, but above all, competence. Amidst catastrophe, fear and hopelessness, we seek someone who has calculated every outcome and, with skill, vision and wisdom, executes a plan with the trust of the people behind him. Surely, someone with these qualities would make a good president. That's why in 2008, I'm throwing my support behind JetBlue Captain Scott Burke for president of the United States. In fact--and I know this is a long shot--but I propose an all red, white and JetBlue administration. More on that in a moment. But first, Captain Scott Burke: Captain America.

(Soundbite of "Hail to the Chief")

Unidentified Group: (Singing in unison) Hail to the chief we have chosen for the nation. Hail to the chief! We salute him, one and all.

UNGER: Last week, just minutes after his Airbus A320 took off from Burbank, California, the wheels on the front landing gear jammed at a 90-degree angle and failed to retract. Burke and his co-pilot burned off the fuel, then landed the plane in a spectacular picture-perfect touchdown at Los Angeles International Airport. The entire country watched the drama unfold on TV, and so did passengers from their seats, each equipped with its own in-flight satellite TV. Imagine your public at your back watching your every move on high-def. And under all that scrutiny and pressure, you magnanimously save them. That guy could be president.

As for his critics, Burke said on the radio moments before his fiery landing, `I want to keep the media wolves off my back. I've got nothing to say to them.' Captain Burke sounds like he'd rather crash than be interviewed by Diane Sawyer the day after a disaster. Now that guy could really be president.

Little is known about Captain Burke; JetBlue declined to provide information about their heroic pilot. So we are left to imagine a President Burke leading a JetBlue administration, one that governs an America in which there are no class distinctions, no first-class coddling, no handouts to the business class. We're all stuck in coach together aboard his Air Force One.

Burke's JetBlue administration would rarely be delayed. It would leave for vacation and be back on the job--an on-time presidency, at least 90 percent of the time. A JetBlue Cabinet would have more women and gays. It would operate in the black while everyone else in the world economy struggled or went bankrupt. And it would know the harsh, cold truth of a complicated age. No one enjoys the free lunch. In the end, all people really want is to sit in their own comfortable chair, eat a bag of chips and watch a little TV.

Captain Burke, where are you? America needs your kind of leadership. You're a man who gets the job done. Not too far to the left, not too far to the right, a man who flies straight down the middle and then apologizes for landing about six inches off the center. That's a guy who should be president.

And that is today's Unger Report. I'm Brian Unger.

(Soundbite of "Hail to the Chief")

Unidentified Group: (Singing in unison) Hail to the chief we have chosen for the nation.

BRAND: And now you can receive the Unger Report automatically each week as a podcast. That's an audio file that's delivered to your computer or MP3 audio player. Simply visit our Web site, npr.org, and click on `NPR podcasts.'

(Soundbite of "Hail to the Chief")

Unidentified Group: (Singing in unison) ...noble call.

BRAND: DAY TO DAY is a production of NPR News, with contributions from slate.com. I'm Madeleine Brand.

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