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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Webb 1, Bush 0

posted by on November 29 at 10:13 AM

From today’s Washington Post:

At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia’s newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn’t long before Bush found him.

“How’s your boy?” Bush asked, referring to Webb’s son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

“I’d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President,” Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

“That’s not what I asked you,” Bush said. “How’s your boy?”

“That’s between me and my boy, Mr. President,” Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

Holy shit—a Democrat who refuses to make nice with George W. Bush after the election. James Webb for president!

Via Americablog.

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You forgot to put the best part, that Webb wanted to "slug" GW.

Posted by ashan | November 29, 2006 10:27 AM


Posted by monkey | November 29, 2006 10:36 AM

Oh, that's harsh and sweet, like a shot of aquavit. Nice.

Posted by Fnarf | November 29, 2006 10:41 AM

Wow. First Webb knocks off Maccacca, then he snubs W the first chance he gets? This guys is alright (except for all his woman hating shit)...

Posted by Mike in MO | November 29, 2006 10:56 AM

No, that's not right. It serves no purpose to be so icy.

No matter who the President is, the Senator has the obligation and should have the sense of decorum to be polite. You can make your point without being insulting. I want adversarial politicians to at least have that amount of class.

Posted by Mr. Manners | November 29, 2006 11:03 AM

Mr. Mannners> you're right, except W doesn't deserve even the least amount of respect anyone can give. He is worthy of being spit on. That Webb didn't spit in W's face show remarkable restraint and class.

Posted by Mike in MO | November 29, 2006 11:14 AM

I disagree, Mr. Manners. He was perfectly polite to him. There's difference between manners and ass kissing.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | November 29, 2006 11:26 AM

Screw that shit!

"That's not what I asked you..." The proper response to W was, "With all due respect, Mr. President, go fuck yourself."

Oh wait, I guess that's what he said only in a NICER way.

Posted by monkey | November 29, 2006 11:27 AM

It's GW's fault he brought up Webb's son. If he just said "How you do-in" there would be no story. I bet if GW heard Webb's son was killed, he'd smilrk, then make a big deal about it during the state of the Union to show his "compassionate conservatism.

Posted by elswinger | November 29, 2006 11:29 AM

Mr. Manners,

I'm interested in hearing what part of that interaction you think was insulting. Would it be that Bush chose to purposely approach someone who was avoiding him only to ask a personal family question and then dismiss the response?

Seems to me that Mr. Webb was pretty cordial when you take into account the fact that questionable decisions made by the president have resulted in a very real risk of his son being maimed or killed.

No matter who the President is, he too has the obligation and should have the sense of decorum to be polite. As Commander in Chief I believe he has the obligation to show patience and respect for the families of soldiers he is putting at risk. Whether that family member is a Senator or not, the President has a resposibility to respond to a comment like that, dismissing it was unacceptable and insulting.

Posted by break, please give me a | November 29, 2006 11:30 AM

Respect is earned.

Posted by keshmeshi | November 29, 2006 11:42 AM

Realistically, Bush likely expected Webb to say that his son was fine. It was lobbing a political land-mine at Webb to not just ask about his son, but to pursue an answer. If Webb had said "alive" or "fine" it feeds Bush's fantasy that the war is going well and that soldiers are okay. Webb's response was perfectly appropriate and the only one he could give under the circumstances. We're giving a lot of weight to whomever interpreted his wording as "cold".

Posted by dewsterling | November 29, 2006 11:47 AM

If only politicians who aren't assholes could be so stout.

Posted by Noink | November 29, 2006 12:03 PM

Granted, the President was a bit testy in replying "that's not the question I asked you" but for Webb to say "that's between me and my boy" is insulting because it is a conversation stopper.

Webb could have said "He's not-so-good Mr. President as we're very worried about him and all the troops. I'm looking forward to working with you and Congress in getting all our troops home as quickly as possible."

See what a better bridge building tactic that is? Nancy Pelosi loathes the President but she's gracious in this respect. That's what I want from all politicians.

Posted by "Mr. Manners" | November 29, 2006 12:08 PM

Webb avoided the conversation. Bush forced the conversation. Webb didn't insult the President with a "conversation stopper", the President stopped the conversation when he dismissed the conversation starter that Webb offered. I think the appropriate response might have been POTUS graciously expressing his shared concern for the plight of the troops fighting his war...

Posted by break | November 29, 2006 12:17 PM

January 12, 2007:

Virginia Sen. James Webb Killed In Mysterious Small-Plane Crash ; Son Was Slated To Return From Iraq Tomorrow

Posted by laterite | November 29, 2006 12:34 PM

yep. manners is WRONG. PITA, I mean POTUS, was politely rebuffed on his initial, rather personal question. He pursued it, intimating that HE was the one calling the shots and that the question HE asked should be the one to be answered, whether Webb wanted to discuss it or not.

Webb's response is perfect. It is not the president's business how Webb's son is doing, as much as it's not the CEO of my company's business how stinky my baby's diapers are.

Had Bush asked if there was anything Webb needed in anticipation of his move to the Capitol, or if he'd enjoyed the punch, a polite answer to those questions would be appropriate. Would Bush have been justified in not answering had Webb asked how Jenna and Barbara had been enjoying their visit to South America? At least that has been a topic in the public news outlets lately.

Posted by diggum | November 29, 2006 12:37 PM

"So Mr President, has Jenna and Barbara found you an appropriate Paraguayan compound for you to live in after the coup/impeachment hearings?"


"How's Laura's pill/booze problem going? Has she run over anyone lately?"


"Has Cheney shot anyone else lately?"

These would all be good snappy comeback questions....

Posted by michael strangeways | November 29, 2006 12:54 PM

Webb should have bent over backwards to be polite to Bush, because everyone knows that if you're cooperative and gracious towards this him, Bush will put aside ideology and political advantage to work with you. Just look at all the times in the past six years that Bush compromised with Democrats who were willing to side with the administration.

Posted by elenchos | November 29, 2006 1:29 PM

hey, it got lieberman re-elected.

Posted by diggum | November 29, 2006 1:55 PM

I like Michael Strangeway's comebacker, but I would have upped it: "He's serving in the United States Marines, Mr. President. How're your girls? Did they really get thrown out of Argentina?"

Posted by Fnarf | November 29, 2006 2:26 PM

Had the pResident any class (which he assuredly does not), his response to Webb would not have been a whiny, "that's not what I asked," but rather, "Yes, Senator, we're all working toward that." Because no sane person WANTS our troops over there getting blown up and shot at.

I think Webb was a trifle over-blunt, but Webb's never been one to mince words, and the Shrub asked for it with that bitchy, "that's not what I asked" snappy comeback. Webb could have slapped him more politely, but he still deserved a smackdown.

I agree with Fnarf, though, the proper response would have been to turn the subject to the Party Twins and their expulsion from Argentina.

Posted by Geni | November 29, 2006 3:54 PM

I think one answer to "how's your boy?" could have been "We'll see" or perhaps, "I don't know".

I respect that Webb did not schmooze with Bush. It would be one thing if he merely disagreed with Bush on some key policy areas, but we are way past that.

We all (or maybe just some of us)schmooze with people we disgree with (or don't even like) all the time. Sometimes it's part of the job or just a way to keep the peace. However, we're not talking abstract policy here, we're talking about Webb's most personal life, his family, who happens to be in real danger. It was impolite for the President to be so glib.

Posted by nerve | November 29, 2006 4:30 PM

"...ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

but don't you just love the specificity of the conversation. Would it have made a difference if it was "...ending the conversation on the second floor of the disco club in the south wing of the..."

Posted by i love ipa | November 30, 2006 12:09 AM

Webb could've totally added a tried and true, "Say Hi to your Mom for me" after his, "Nunyabizness".

That would've been sweet.

Posted by No Sleep 'Til Bedtime | November 30, 2006 6:17 AM

Act like and Asshole, get treated like an Asshole.
Seems to me he did answer the question and when pushed, ended it appropriately. Props to Mr. Webb.
Wish all our people could stop the ass kissing of the little troll.

Posted by girly | November 30, 2006 6:35 AM

I think that the emphasis on politeness is a bit of a problem for US democracy. Bushco are fascists (look it up), and should be spoken to in the same way that one would speak to Mussolini. Being polite to these people gives the impression that, whilst they may be wrong, they are reasonable and respectable, and so therefore is fascism. The correct response from Webb would have been 'keep away from me you sick fuck' followed by a swift kick to the nuts if Bush failed to comply. Apparently Webb wears his son's combat boots, which makes his failure to follow proper etiquette all the more regrettable.

Posted by graham | November 30, 2006 8:10 AM

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