Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Personal is Political

Jim Webb seemingly went out of his way recently to make the personal political. As recounted by the WaPo, it went something like this:

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.


"I'm not particularly interested in having a picture of me and George W. Bush on my wall," Webb said in an interview yesterday in which he confirmed the exchange between him and Bush. "No offense to the institution of the presidency, and I'm certainly looking forward to working with him and his administration. [But] leaders do some symbolic things to try to convey who they are and what the message is."

Why such a reaction? I don't rightly know other than to observe that Democrats sometimes make a habit of making the personal political.

The question itself is not out of bounds, it's not rude nor was it asked rudely. In fact, it shows a kindly empathy from one father to another. The answer however, does not.

From personal experience I can tell you that the President's reaction--"That's not what I asked you"--should not be viewed as out of line either. It's only polite to answer when you're asked a question and preferably to answer the question asked, something my wife routinely reminds me of.

If the Senator-elect truly dislikes the President that much, that's fine. But then quit with the pretension of "I'm certainly looking forward to working with him and his administration," because your actions appear to speak louder than those particular words.

It didn't take long for reactions to come in. Before the day was done, George Will had weighed in and flat-out called Webb a boor.

Other reactions include this from a former Marine and of course the nutroots always has a say, in this case in the words of Markos the Angry. If anyone knows petulance, it's Markos.

No comments:

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