The zero-empathy president

It seems I wasn't the only one who thought Dubya's speech was flat-out awful, even for a President best known for his inappropriate facial tics. So I'm glad that the New York Times chose to administer this well-deserved spanking in their editorial:


George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end. [LINK]
If this can be dismissed as just more posturing from the bastion of "liberal elitism," Bush supporters should consider the editorial penned by the fervently conservative Manchester Union Leader which slammed the President yesterday for his lack of alacrity in responding to the disaster: "The cool, confident, intuitive leadership Bush exhibited in his first term, particularly in the months immediately following Sept. 11, 2001, has vanished. In its place is a diffident detachment unsuitable for the leader of a nation facing war, natural disaster and economic uncertainty."

The Rose Garden speech also included Bush's favorite new word -- understand -- that he now employs repeatedly whenever the subject of other people's suffering comes up. Just as he "understood" Cindy Sheehan's pain, he claimed yesterday to "understand" the suffering of the hurricane victims.
Right now, the days seem awfully dark for those affected. I understand that. But I'm confident that, with time, you'll get your life back in order. New communities will flourish. The great city of New Orleans will be back on its feet. And America will be a stronger place for it. [Transcript]
You know what they say: no pain, no gain. Responding to questions about anger amongst hurricane victims on 'Good Morning America' today, Bush was at it again: "I fully understand people wanting things to have happened yesterday. I mean I understand the anxiety of people on the ground." [LINK]

At least Bill Clinton was lot more convincing when he was feeling our pain. And he sure as hell didn't try to pretend it was some kind of character-building exercise. That takes some kind of gall especially when this president is at least partly to blame for the havoc and suffering down South.
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