Wednesday, August 13, 2003
DISCONNECT: I can’t cite many specific examples, but I seem to have noticed a pattern in how George Bush responds to criticism of his policies – he treats it as if it’s an attack on his character, as if the person criticizing his tax plan, say, is saying that he (George W. Bush) is a bad person.
The best example I can think of this is during the 2000 debates, when Gore criticized Bush for not funding a children’s heath program in Texas. Bush responded along the lines of, “What? You think I don’t care about children? Because I do, I have compassion for them, I have a heart.” I guess Gore was disarmed by this, because he didn’t directly respond (he repeated the criticism). Anyway, my sense is that a lot of Bush’s reply to criticism of his economic policy is: “You don’t think I care about the jobless? I want them to have jobs.”
There’s this eerie disconnect that’s going on here – as if Bush weren’t President, as if he were merely an ordinary citizen being asked about whether he felt bad about people not having jobs. But the fact is that he is President, and he does have control over some economic factors (not all, admittedly) and so it is a reflection on his character if he passes policies that don’t help, or even harm, workers. Is it somehow a low blow to say this?