Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Compassionate Conservative Gets Irritated

Much has been made of George Bush's stingy response to one of the world's great modern-day disasters. After much prodding, the self-proclaimed compassionate conservative pledged a paltry $35 million in federal aid to Asian countries who lost 115,000+ citizens and will face monumental health and reconstruction emergencies.

Bush's recoronation festivites will cost $40 million, and that's before the cost of security fit for an emperor. He spends $35 million in five hours in Iraq. $35 million is a small fraction of the tax relief he's gifted to America's wealthiest. $35 million is a pebble on the beach of $2 trillion he proposes to give to investment bankers to overhaul social security.

So yes, George Bush's begrudgingly-given $35 million is sad, clear reminder of just who he is......a Christian in words only. Jesus preached constantly, clearly and consistently about helping others, helping the poor, helping our neighbors. In his public life, Bush has never shown a flicker of interest in those parts of the Bible.

What struck me as particularly ungraceful was his obvious irritation at his Crawford press conference, at which he sullenly commented on the Old Testament-proportion disaster. Four days after the tsunami traversed across the Indian Ocean, Bush was forced to interrupt his vacation, put on a suit and say a few kind, comforting words. It required maybe 30 minutes of his time, but that apparently was too much to ask of his royal highness.

He wasn't successful in comforting anyone. The self-anointed compassionate conservative displayed to the watching world irritation, anger and defensiveness, not compassion, caring or even a comforting smile. He didn't even bother to look much interested.

What a jerk.

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