I don’t generally go in for playing amateur psychologist to George W. Bush. At the end of the day, who really gives a rat’s ass what phobias drive him. Isn’t it enough simply knowing that he’s a habitual liar and a hopeless incompetent?
But thinking about his fundamental lack of basic human compassion is causing me to make an exception. We’ve had innumerable examples of this over the years, of course, from his making fun of death row inmate Karla Faye Tucker’s plea for life, to his persistent willingness to sell out poor children, to his refusal to meet with Cindy Sheehan.
But this one may take the cake:
At a private reception held at the White House with newly elected lawmakers shortly after the election, Bush asked (Senator elect Jim) Webb how his son, a Marine lance corporal serving in Iraq, was doing.
Webb responded that he really wanted to see his son brought back home, said a person who heard about the exchange from Webb.
“I didn’t ask you that, I asked how he’s doing,” Bush retorted, according to the source.
Webb confessed that he was so angered by this that he was tempted to slug the commander-in-chief, reported the source, but of course didn’t. It’s safe to say, however, that Bush and Webb won’t be taking any overseas trips together anytime soon.
Seriously, what kind of a person acts this way? A father tells Bush that he wants to see his son who is serving in a foreign war return home and Bush’s response is to get pissed off? Even if he took the comment to be a slam on the war, Bush’s obvious response was to say, “That’s what we all want,” or perhaps, “I can sure understand that.” I mean, Jesus, your average middle school chess club member would have had the social grace to pull that one off.
There’s clearly some sort of pathology at work here, although I don’t claim to have the expertise to put the proper label on it. Suffice it to say that when George W. Bush was put together somehow the empathy was left out. And I’m not suggesting by this that he’s simply not a particularly empathetic person. No, it’s just not there, period.
Bush only plays empathy on television. There’s absolutely no evidence anywhere in his life’s history that he’s ever actually felt it.
And that’s a damn sad feature to have in a President of the United States. Say what you want against Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War, and there’s plenty to say: But there’s one thing I’ll say in his favor: He clearly agonized over what was happening in the war. In the end that didn’t save him (or America) from the consequences of his unforgivable deceit and foolhardiness, but at least he did have the humanity to suffer in his own heart and soul for those consequences.
Where is the slightest evidence that George W. Bush has ever done the same? Sure he’s upset that things are going badly for HIM, but where’s the empathy for others?
Although, on second thought, I suppose that does make it a whole bunch easier sending other people’s children to their death in this new lost hope war.