Charles Osgood, in his book Funny Letters from Famous People, reproduces a letter (from pre-email days) from George H.W. Bush to Barbara Bush while he was campaigning for President against Michael Dukakis. Mike and Kitty Dukakis were getting good press for their spontaneous displays of affection, and George's staff thought he and Bar should do the same. George wrote:
Please look at how Mike and Kitty do it. Try to be closer in, more - well er romatic - on camera. I am practicing the loving look, and the creeping hand.
Yours, for better TV and more demonstrable affection.
Your sweetie-pie coo-coo
That letter creeped me out on several levels and not just because I first read 'creeping hand' as 'creepy hand'. First, Osgood thought it was funny and not a illustration of a cold and calculating politician. Second, Bush was trying to get his wife to fake it for the cameras. He isn't asking for more displays of affection period. He's asking for more displays of affection on camera. Finally, the mental picture of H.W. practicing the appearance of affection just turns my stomach. I'm sure there was a mirror involved and that is just wrong!
Then I made the mistake of reading Bush On the Couch. The book is o.k., but it takes a lot of words to say what we all have learned about Dubya - he's a spoiled-rotten rich kid ignorant frat boy sociopath drunk with a charming manner as long as he's not challenged. Plus, the book is rather Freudian, so seems out-of-date ('Rejection of the breast', 'Unmet infant's needs', 'The infant must heal his psychic split', etc).
At any rate, in the book, we learn more about George H.W. and Bar. For example, Bar had such a difficult relationship with her mother, that she didn't attend her mother's funeral. Granted, she was pregnant and living in Texas and the funeral was in Connecticut, but she had travelled to the East Coast just a few weeks before for a family wedding.
Most chillingly, George H.W. and Bar didn't tell Dubya that his sister Robin had leukemia. They just took Robin to various East Coast hospitals, where Bar stayed to care for her daughter, leaving the seven year old George Jr back in Texas. He was only told not to play with his sister on the occasions when she was home. And the Bushes didn't even have a funeral for Robin:
Robin died in New York in October 1953; her parents spent the next day golfing in Rye, attending a small memorial service the following day before flying back to Texas. George learned of his sister's illness only after her death, when his family returned to Texas, where the family remained while the child's body was buried in a Connecticut family plot. There was no funeral.Can you imagine? Did George H.W. say to Bar, "Lighten up Bar, we knew she was going to die. Let's go golfing!" and to Dubya, "Sister? What sister?"
So, with cold parents such as these, is it any wonder Dubya is unable to show compassion for soldiers his orders have killed or the victims of the 2004 Tsunami or the civilians killed in Lebanon or...?
Update: Blogger sometimes bloggers the best of us. This was originally a draft, so I saved it in draft form while I went about my Saturday chores and such. Strangely enough, Blogger posted it, all the while displaying it as a draft on what they call 'the Dashboard'. Yay, Blogger!
There was more I wanted to write, but since the element of surprise has been lost, here it is. Sorry for any confusion.