"I'm just an angry old man, hurting for my son."
-- former President George H.W. Bush, from his upcoming autobiography
Honestly, it's easy to understand the pain of a father, now 88 years old, coming to the defense of his son, blasted by critics for being uncaring and incompetent. And as a father, it's a proper thing to do.
Unfortunately, George W. Bush chose to run for President of the United States. And in doing so, he impacted the lives of 325 million Americans, and the world. And when he left office, he had a 34% approval rating. So, two-thirds of Americans were angry to, and hurting because of his son.
Bush 41, additionally says about his son, after Hurricane Katrina --
"My heart went out to him. Here is a guy who cares deeply. Who wants every possible resource of the federal government brought in to bear to help people, yet he is being roundly accused of not giving a damn ... the critics do not know what is in 43's heart, how deeply he feels about the hurt, the anguish, the losses affecting so many people, most of them poor."
It's a lovely statement. Truly moving. It just doesn't gibe with reality. "Compassionate conservative" doesn't wash anymore. As George W. Bush himself said, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...uh, you can't fool me again."
The reality is that he didn't use every possible resource of the federal government to help the people whose live were destroyed. He underfunded, "No Child Left Behind." He ignored a Presidential Daily Briefing titled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike U.S." using airplanes, and 3,000 people died. He started two wars, one of them unprovoked based on a lie. He took a $128 billion surplus and made it a $482 billion deficit. He doubled the national debt to $11 trillion. And he destroyed the economy.
He is roundly accused of not giving a damn, because whatever is in his heart and however deeply he feels about the hurt -- it's too deeply buried in there to have made much of a different in his actions, which he helped cause that hurt which affected so many people, most of them poor.
But again, I think it's natural and lovely that Poppy Bush came to the defense of his son and that, after Hurricane Katrina, "My heart went out to him."
Me, my heart went out to the thousands of so many people, most of them poor, who lost their homes and had their lives destroyed. But that's just me.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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