Tags: George | Bush | Feeling | One's | Pain

George W. Bush - Feeling No One's Pain

Monday, 19 September 2005 12:00 AM

My fans are angry with me.

I'm supposed to be fair and balanced. I'm a Bush critic, not a Bush Hater. I'm the one who always smiles and laughs. So why am I so tough on the Man?

To say that I've been getting a lot of mail lately is an understatement. Most of it makes certain points that are, of course, valid. Yes, I know:

So why give George W. Bush such a hard time?

It isn't George Bush's fault that Louisiana's luck ran out when he was president. It could have happened under his father, or under Bill Clinton. It certainly isn't his fault that administration after administration chose to bet on the 99 percent chance that New Orleans would not face a Category 5 hurricane, instead of the 1 percent chance that it would.

The question is what a president should do when he knows that the gamble has been lost. That is what everyone knew on Sunday, Aug. 28. That is when the Democratic mayor ordered a mandatory evacuation of a city where the poor people had no way to leave, and the Democratic governor asked George Bush for help. By the next day, she was begging for "everything you've got."

The next day, George Bush left his vacation ranch in Crawford, Texas, where he had been biking past protesting mother Cindy Sheehan for weeks, to travel to the beautiful vacation island of Coronado, Calif., off San Diego, to speak about democracy in Iraq.

With thousands left behind because they could not leave the city, with the governor and the mayor begging for help, with the levees breaking, with people drowning, with mounting food and water shortages at the Superdome, with law and order breaking down, the president stood before his beautiful, made-for-television backdrop and did not utter a single word about the human tragedy in our own country.

That's why I am angry.

He buzzed New Orleans in a 747, while the rest of us were paying nearly $50 to fill up our tanks, and on the ground, seniors were dying in nursing homes, mothers and children were gathered on rooftops, pets could not even be taken into account.

Newsweek is even reporting that as late as last Thursday, 10 days after the disaster, Bush's staff had to make a DVD for him of the television coverage so that the president could appreciate the extent of the suffering of his fellow citizens.

Why was that so hard for him to grasp? The so-called "suffering" of a long-brain-dead young woman was something he was acutely sensitive to, but the misery, complete loss and devastation suffered by tens of thousands of very much alive Americans was something the president needed three trips and a DVD even to begin to grasp.

What is wrong with this picture?

We used to joke about Bill Clinton feeling everyone's pain. Does George W. Bush only feel pain when the Christian Coalition is feeding it?

My friend Maureen says the critical thing to understand about President Bush is that, psychologically speaking, he is really just a teenager with a grown-up wife/mother. He is busy with his war. Weather is for mayors and governors. So of course he didn't want to interrupt his vacation and take responsibility for a devastating mess that in his book (ask any mother of a teenager about this logic) was simply not his fault.

Why should he, when he had other plans? Only when absolutely forced to do so has he been willing to accept the first rule of politics: that the public will forgive you for anything, but first you have to take responsibility. So yesterday, Bush said: I'm responsible. And now he will say: Let's all pull together and rebuild. What else can he say?

But just remember: It's your teenager talking. Does he really think he did anything wrong? I don't think so. And that's what makes me angry. A president's first obligation is to the welfare of his citizens, regardless of race, color or income. At least, if he's a grown-up.

COPYRIGHT 2005 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.

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My fans are angry with me. I'm supposed to be fair and balanced. I'm a Bush critic, not a Bush Hater. I'm the one who always smiles and laughs. So why am I so tough on the Man? To say that I've been getting a lot of mail lately is an understatement. Most of...
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2005-00-19
Monday, 19 September 2005 12:00 AM
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