I think it’s important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say. But I think it’s also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life … I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy. And part of my being is to be outside exercising. So I’m mindful of what goes on around me. On the other hand, I’m also mindful that I’ve got a life to live and will do so. — George W. Bush
“A balanced life”? “Good, crisp decisions”? What the hell is he talking about, breakfast cereal? This is the leader of the free world telling Cindy Sheehan, hey, sorry about your kid, but wow, look at my cholesterol count!
I think it is safe to say the Mr. Bush has never demonstrated any form of thoughtful or sensitive behavior to anyone unless he could profit from it or score some sort of political point. It’s not in his nature, and it’s not really his fault — he was brought up that way. His father showed a ham-handedness towards any kind of sincere emotional expression (“Message: I care”), even though he seems more capable of it in his later years than he did when he was in office. W probably gets it most from his mother, who famously told Good Morning America in March 2003 that she didn’t want to see pictures of body bags coming home from Iraq because it would disturb “my beautiful mind.” (I don’t think she was talking about the movie, either.)
Well, at least the president didn’t attack Ms. Sheehan outright. He’s got his bitches to do that for him. That’s also typical upper-crust bully behavior; hire someone to do the dirty work for you, like having the chauffer register for the draft, just so he doesn’t miss his tee time or the cocktail hour. It also makes it that much more callous and cynical when he tells the parents of dead soldiers that their sons or daughters died for a “noble cause” and that serving our country is the greatest sacrifice someone can make. It sounds both phony and hypocritical to come from a man who did his toughest fighting during Vietnam from a dentist’s chair in Alabama and whose vice president had “other priorities” at the time. His idea of self-sacrifice is giving his golfing buddy a three-foot putt.
Perhaps the greatest lesson Ms. Sheehan is teaching America and the world is not just about her loss but just how amazingly shallow and impervious the president and his administration is to anyone who can’t do them any profit. And perhaps the lesson is not lost on the millions of Americans who, until now, saw the war only in abstract. And perhaps they are beginning to see what damage has been done to us, to our nation, and to the world by following a leader who doesn’t care who he hurts or what agony he creates by serving only himself.