Y’all will love this. Michael D. Shear writes in today’s Washington Post:
At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia’s newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn’t long before Bush found him.
“How’s your boy?” Bush asked, referring to Webb’s son, a Marine serving in Iraq.
“I’d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President,” Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.
“That’s not what I asked you,” Bush said. “How’s your boy?”
“That’s between me and my boy, Mr. President,” Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.
Be still, my heart.
At The Moderate Voice, Michael van der Galien sniffs that Webb should have been more civil. To which I say, bleep that. I can only imagine the grinding, prolonged anguish a parent feels when a child is off fighting in a war. When in fact that child is in danger only because of the corruption and incompetence of politicians, is that parent supposed to bow and scrape to the politician-in-chief like some bleeping courtier?
Bleep that, I say.
Webb didn’t seek the President out to start a fight, note. He spoke up only after Bush was rude to him. Emily Heil writes for The Hill:
At a private reception held at the White House with newly elected lawmakers shortly after the election, Bush asked 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.
â€œI didnâ€™t ask you that, I asked how heâ€™s doing,â€ 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 didnâ€™t. Itâ€™s safe to say, however, that Bush and Webb wonâ€™t be taking any overseas trips together anytime soon.
Not getting slugged is more respect than The Creature deserves. As Glenn Greenwald says,
It is difficult to fathom the hubris and self-indulgence required for someone to ask a parent of a soldier in Iraq how their son is doing only to then snidely tell the parent that the answer isn’t what he wanted to hear.
I want to focus entirely on the unspeakable callousness Bush displayed here.
Folks, political enemy or friend, that is no way – ever– for anyone to talk to the father of a kid who’s in a combat zone.
This is the same man who reminisced about his hell-raisin’ during a speech at the worst natural disaster in American history. This is the same man who, when, asked to name his greatest achievement while president, “joked” that it was when he caught a large fish in his fake pond on his Crawford estate – sorry, ranch. This is the same man who, when informed that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center in less than 10 minutes, sat reading “My Pet Goat” in a children’s classroom. This is the same man who, in front of a supporter who he assumed wouldn’t report it, mockingly imitated a woman about to be executed in his state.
Tristero mentions “stunted social skills.” I still think we’re looking at some degree of sociopathy here.
Update update: I knew Taylor Marsh would enjoy this.