What is it with Bush’s total lack of compassion?

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:

(The Hill) Son also rises in testy Webb-Bush exchange (via Talking Points Memo)

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.

7 Responses to “What is it with Bush’s total lack of compassion?”

  1. ruelldd Says:

    Bush is most likely a sociopath (or psychopath), a personality disorder characterized by a total insensitivity to the feelings of others. A good discussion of this disorder can be found at the following site: http://www.cassiopaea.com/cassiopaea/cleckley-mos.htm .

  2. RM Merrill Says:


    Over the Thanksgiving holiday I always call home and talk to dear ol’ mom, without fail. But there was something different about her usually serene mood. I asked what was wrong and she (eighty, by the way) was struggling over a death in her church. It was her best friends great grandson and they had gotten the news from Iraq that he was killed the day before. Now, over the years my mom and I have had our differences, politically mostly. After telling me this she started to say how lucky I was to have made it through Vietnam with only a plastic plate in my head and various scars on my body. Yea, I thought, but 58,000 never saw home again and countless others have never found the peace that we had supposedly been fighting for. I said something like “Yea, you can thank your precious George Bush for about 3000 other young men and women that are dead because of his dirty dealing and lying”. Well, her being a GOP’er all her life and a born again Christian, ol’ ‘W’ was too according to her, and was doing his best to keep us safe from terrorists. The argument started right then and there. I told her that you would NEVER get me to believe he was ’saved’ and that the good Lord was warming up a special place in Hell for him, right along side Hitler, Stalin, and Idi Amin. She hung up on me after that, accusing me of being “in the flesh” and not showing any compassion for good ol’ Georgie boy.

    Now, the moral to this story lies some where between the power of love and the love of power (Jimi Hendrix said basically the same thing back in ‘69 or so). To be devout is one thing but devine is a whole different ball game. I figure only God is devine and anyone who claims that he’s devine (or headed in the same general direction) can only stir the pot of hate and death. Ol’ Georgie fills that bill to a “T”. Compassion comes from the heart; but you gotta HAVE a heart to qualify. Our president is filled with the love of power and that doesn’t help matters one iota. Vanity and lust for power will never, ever, survive no matter how far you stick out your chest and flex your muscles.

    This period of struggle will pass just as did the Vietnam war. But we have a chance to make it right before we get too close to 2008. Impeachment and then prison is a worldly way of getting even. I say “let’s do it!”.

  3. genie Says:

    This man has been claiming to be a born-again Christian for years, but his actions make a liar out of him. What kind of insanity does it take to use Jesus for a cover while sponsoring programs that steal from the poor and reward the filthy rich? Would Jesus start an illegal war that kills hundreds of thousands of people? Would Jesus leave thousands of poor people to fend for themselves when a catastrophic hurricane overwhelms them? Would Jesus laugh when a woman begs for her life? No, of course not. He made it very plain that the poor were to be a top priority, to be treated with love and respect. “What is done to the least of these, is done also to me.” Bush is a spoiled, rich kid who never had to do any honest work, who was pampered and made to feel that he was better than the rest of us. As incompetent fools go, he’s the perfect storm. Not to worry though. There’s one thing that he can’t get out of and that’s Karma. What goes around, comes around. When it kicks in, Bush is in for a very bumpy ride.

  4. Larkrise Says:

    As I said previously, I think Georgie Porgie Puddin’ and Pie has a narcissistic personality disorder. His tears are of the crocodile variety. He does, indeed, lack the ability to be empathetic. If he ever appears so, it is all show and no substance. It is important to consider his pathology, because it predicts how he will act. His pattern of behavior is dysfunctional. He likes to keep social interaction at a superficial level. I suspect it never occurred to him that he was touching a sore point when he asked Jim Webb about his son. Bush will interpret any criticism, even implied, as a threat to his authority, his judgment, and hence his ego. Bush reveled in exercising the death penalty, because it made him feel omnipotent. He invaded Iraq, in part, (oil and war-profiteering being the other reasons) to show he could be The Commander-In-Chief and bring a country to its knees. He also wanted to get one up on Dear Old Dad. Even on the issue of stem cell research, he has to maintain his delusion of omnipotency, and control the well-being of others. You can absolutely count on him to continue this pattern of behavior. His ego demands it. By ego, I mean his core self. Underlying his arrogance is a very weak and fragile ego. He must shore it up by being the “Decider.” I have a M.S. in Psychology, and 22 yr. of psychiatric nursing experience. I have worked as a therapist. I have seen personalities like Dubya’s; but on a smaller scale. The patients did not have the Bush Family resources to propel them to power. George W. Bush is an interesting personality, but a frightening one. He has aligned himself with extremists because it suits the rigidity and inflexibility of his personality. He is greatly influenced by Dick Cheney. They have a symbiotic relationship. Cheney is the stronger of the two. I do believe Cheney is a partial sociopath. He can function, he is clever, but he has no conscience. Both are very manipulative, using tragedy and suffering to their self-benefit. Their reactions to Katrina were predictable. Cheney was said to have ordered rescue helicopters to change course, not to rescue people in the flooded areas; but to fly to the oil companies along the River to make sure they were secured! Cheney never did make a pretense of caring about the victims. Bush made a pretense, when he realized the depth of public outrage, but didnt follow up on much. Again, this is a pattern he habitually follows. Both Bush and Cheney used the horror of 9/11 to advance their own agendas: War in Iraq, Control of Oil in the Middle East, War-Profiteering(read: Halliburton), and the consolidation of power. It is falling apart, at last, but they made a lot of headway with it; from depleting our civil liberties to advocating torture and getting the Ship of Fools in Congress to approve it. Cheney and Bush will do as much damage as they can before they exit the scene in 2 years. It will be their way of bullying the American people. They will milk the opportunity for all it is worth. I hope the Democrats dont give in to it. Neither Bush nor Cheney will compromise. They see cooperation as a threat to their power. They care nothing for the common good. All is seen through the filter of what benefits them.

  5. Again Says:

    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 even that he only does when he is forced to - remember the hours after 09/11?

    When he presented himself in front of the cameras, without emotions in best clothes? Then, after a day or two, when his consultants managed to brief him on human reactions about catastrophes, he showed his usual face, type “sympathetic” - and was dressed in an anorak (or something like that, clothes type “i’m just like you”)

    what a poor performance! Even in the moment of the worst catastrophe of America he obviously couldn’t understand, that he should at least pretend to care about Americans

  6. Larry the Red Says:

    IMHO, by far the best writing on the subject of Shrub’s “personality” is this piece written by E. L. Doctorow a couple of years ago that appeared at Common Dreams. Many of y0ou have already read it, I’m sure, but it is worth revisiting:

  7. Joe Reedy Says:

    Although it is largely supressed by the media, it is common knowledge our President had a cocaine problem. If you have ever had the misfortune to come in contact with an individual who had a similar addiction, you realize, not always right away, but eventually, that the individual has snorted away his empathy. Bush’s behavior and the way his brain seems to ache when confronted with a tough question, is clear evidence that, although he may be off the drug, it has had a lasting effect. He has no empathy for others and is concerned only with his own person and personal legacy.

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