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Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Bush Intentionally Needled Webb About His Son

posted by on December 5 at 9:03 AM

There’s been a lot of screaming and yelling about whether or not Democrat James Webb, the incoming freshman senator from Virginia, was rude to our beloved president. Here’s the exchange:

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…

The right wing haters have been screaming about how awfully, terribly, monumentally rude James Webb was to George W. Bush. Love or hate him—and most Americans hate him—Bush is the only president we’ve got, and what about respect for the office of the presidency?! And Webb was at a White House reception! And he was rude to his host! In the host’s own house! Tsk-tsk. (Wait—didn’t the wingers run around during the Clinton impeachment screaming about how the White House was our house, the American people’s house, and not Clinton’s house?)

Well, guess what? Today we learn that Bush was warned to be “extra sensitive” about asking Webb anything his son. While Bush’s partying daughters were causing a diplomatic row in Argentina, Webb’s son had a close call with a car bomb and almost died the day before in Iraq. But Bush being Bush—and being Bush means being an asshole—couldn’t resist the opportunity to piss on Webb.

As the WP reported, Webb tried to avoid Bush but “it wasn’t long before the Bush found him.” So Bush sought Webb out, and asked him about his son. And then when the Dear Leaders didn’t get the nice, polite, reassuring response he believes he deserves (“He’s fine, Mr. President! He’s loving his time in Iraq!”), Bush scolded Webb. And Webb—a Democrat with a spine—wasn’t having it. Good for Webb.

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When I first heard this story, I was almost willing to give Bush the benefit of the doubt, sort of. I wouldn't but it past him to be completely ignorant of the fact that Webb's son was serving in Iraq. And the quoted exchange doesn't explicitly say so (the reporter explains that Webb's son is in Iraq, but neither Bush nor Webb mention it in the exchange). Shrub has never seemed to be the brightest bulb in the box, so I thought it was as likely that he was just stupid rather than rude.

Now hearing that Bush was specifically warned about it, that eliminates the possibility of Bush just being ignorant. He was being a blatantly cold hearted asshole. If Bush was intentionally being a monumental asshole, then he doesn't deserve any respect from Webb, regardless of the office. Given the circumstances, I think Webb was about as civil as he could be. Bush is lucky Webb didn't deck him.

Now if Webb had punched Bush in the face, that would have been downright disrespectful of the office.

Posted by SDA in SEA | December 5, 2006 10:06 AM

Respect has to be earned, and Bush II and the Republicans in general have done everything possible to disgrace and humiliate our nation over the last six years.

Webb was exceedingly restrained and polite under the circumstances.

I would've punched Bush in the mouth.

Posted by Andrew | December 5, 2006 10:09 AM

Commander Codpiece should be thankful the retired Marine officer didn't spit in his face. Read the wiki post on his military career:

After graduating from Annapolis, Webb was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in the Vietnam War as a first lieutenant rifle platoon leader in Company D in the 1st Battalion of the 5th Marine Regiment, as part of the Fleet Marine Force. Webb earned a Navy Cross, the second highest decoration in the Navy and Marine Corps for heroism in Vietnam. Webb also earned the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts.

Posted by Orson | December 5, 2006 10:09 AM

Disrespecting the office of the the presidency would be abusing executive powers and wiping your ass with the constitution 365 days of the year.

Posted by seattle98104 | December 5, 2006 10:10 AM


You're forgetting that Webb switched parties and won as a Democrat.

He's now a terrahist traitor who hates Ahmurikkka.

Posted by Andrew | December 5, 2006 10:14 AM

Given he was warned, Bush wasn't rude. He was sadistic.

What a petty loser. He would have been above his head as Baseball commissioner.

Posted by golob | December 5, 2006 10:31 AM

George W. Bush is a contemptible human being. Just on a personal level, he's microscopic.

Posted by Fnarf | December 5, 2006 10:53 AM

If Dubya were human, he could have easily made this event into something positive for him. Like maybe "Senator, I've been told that your son had a near miss in Iraq recently. I'm relieved he's OK, though of course what happened to his buddies was terrible. How's your boy?"

Then when Webb replies "I’d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President,” Bush could have said "I understand your feelings. Still, I'm glad he wasn't injured in that incident."

But sociopaths like Dubya don't have compassion or remorse or regret, or even the slightest touch of human feelings.

Posted by N in Seattle | December 5, 2006 10:56 AM

I still wish Democrats who weren't such assholes themselves had such spine.

Posted by Noink | December 5, 2006 11:11 AM

Guys, I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but you have to realize that GEORGE BUSH IS A MURDERER. He knew 9/11 was happening AS IT WAS HAPPENING. Even if he wasn't involved in the planning, he knows that Dick Cheney was in charge of the operation. He has done everything within his power to keep the truth from coming out. He fought the creation of the 9/11 Commission, and then did his damndest to neuter their efforts. It has since come out that the Administration lied to the Commission on several different occasions.

It should not come as a shock to any progressive, liberal, or conscious conservative that this man is a cold, calculating psychopath who needs to be stopped. He is killing our men and women and the people of Iraq every single minute of every single day, and our bullshit Democrats are enabling his crimes.

The time has come to expose him for what he is, and I hope and pray that Webb is angry enough to take the lead.

Anyone who directly challenges the President's murderous policies will have my vote for President.

Posted by Tahoma Activist | December 5, 2006 11:46 AM

Are there birds in here?

Posted by Fnarf | December 5, 2006 11:53 AM

While I appreciate your passion, please take into account what a comment like yours does to a valid discussion of this topic.

It's clear to most that this was a POTUS faux pas and the exchange can be used to highlight how out of touch he is with the world the rest of us live in.

When you bring in the batshit crazy talk about the Administration's involvement in 9/11 you derail the conversation and discredit our criticism of his actions (even if there might be truth in your statement).

Posted by overboard | December 5, 2006 12:09 PM

By his stunning incompetency, Bush dishonors the office of the President just by holding it. If anything, Webb's snub was a display of respect for the office.

Posted by Sean | December 5, 2006 12:10 PM

Webb could have pulled a Cheney and just told him to "fuck off".

Posted by monkey | December 5, 2006 1:40 PM

Personally, I read Bush's question to mean pretty much what "N in Seattle" wrote, but clearly he was way too abrupt and glib, given his prior warning.

On the other hand, if Webb was so broken up, maybe he shouldn't have been at a fucking party.

Posted by BC | December 5, 2006 2:07 PM

The telling phrase is "That´s not what I asked you" (almost) anytime its uttered is pure bullying. Some commentators have said its okay with children, but its just bullying a child. There are other nicer ways to ask a child again a second time. Using it with grown-ups is being an asshole.
(However if adult/teen friends are just joking with each other is fine with me, especially after this incident.)

Posted by ana maria | December 5, 2006 4:42 PM

Bush is a sociopath, incapable of feeling empathy.

While Governor of Texas, he actually MOCKED the pleas of Karla Faye Tucker when she asked for clemency. Mocked her, in a sing-song voice. Look it up.

Sadly, this is nothing new.

Posted by Foobar | December 5, 2006 6:57 PM

This is off topic, so I appologize but it relates to Dems taking a stand against Bush I think.

While I undertand that the Dems don't have enough votes in the House & Senate to successfully lock in an impeachment and they are wisely interested in avoiding the same for fear of it being reduced to the characterization of, "Revenge for Clinton", does anyone else think that they need to at least take that gun off safety (if not just outright pull the trigger on an impeachment post haste) just so Bush is somewhat discouraged from marching on Tehran as a final "Fuck You" to America?

Posted by Anybody?...Buehler? | December 5, 2006 7:57 PM

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