A Caring Fellow

The AP reports (link via Pam’s House Blend):
Accused of being insensitive to U.S. soldiers in Iraq and their families, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld received a fresh endorsement Monday from President Bush, who called him "a caring fellow."

"I have heard the anguish in his voice and seen his eyes when we talk about the danger in Iraq and the fact that youngsters are over there in harm's way," Bush said at a White House news conference.


Bush, who personally signs condolence letters, was asked why he was willing to overlook Rumsfeld's failure to do the same.

"I know Secretary Rumsfeld's heart," Bush said. "I know how much he cares for the troops," adding that Rumsfeld and his wife visit hospitalized soldiers "all the time to provide comfort and solace."
I never cease to be amazed by this administration's evident belief that simply by virtue of declaring someone has a particular trait automatically makes them so. Granted, the media has indulged this tedious little habit ad infinitum, so I suppose I ought not to be as surprised as I am that they believe it works. It has, it fact, become quite the useful spinning technique for them.

Today, we have been told that Rumsfeld is caring, and, if it’s not too late for him – if the cries for his head have not already drowned out the decree – then surely soon the conventional wisdom will be that he is most certainly the gentlest, kindest Defense Secretary we’ve had.

Similarly, we’ve been informed that Condoleezza Rice is competent, though all other evidence points to the contrary. Yet her appointment as Colin Powell’s replacement was met with little scrutiny of her qualifications in the mainstream press.

And perhaps the most egregious offense are the “truths” we’re told about President Bush – that he is an ordinary guy, that he is a good Christian, that he is instinctually wise, if not book-smart. These characterizations are oft-repeated as realities about the man; ordinary – despite his upbringing as a child of privilege, his attendance at Yale and Harvard, and his having been captured on tape describing his base as “the haves and the have-mores;” Christian – despite his very irregular church attendance, his renowned penchants for profanity and mockery, his contempt for the poor, ill, and marginalized as evidenced by his policies, and the very real possibility that he authorized torture; and instinctually wise – despite his significant miscalculations about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

One if left to wonder if the men and women behind these constructed facades do not ever feel compelled at all to attempt to match their actions with their designated attributes. It is a different country indeed that one imagines if our war in Iraq were governed by a truly caring Rumsfeld, our security was overseen by a genuinely competent Rice, and our domestic and international agendas were constructed by a leader who was the good, salt-of-the-earth man he claims to be. Perhaps as the next term begins to unfold, these pretenders ought to try on their carefully selected adjectives and see how they fit.

Like every aspect of liberalism they reject and despise, they have turned their backs on self-analysis and –reflection. Navel-gazing is for hippies, for do-nothings, for losers. They are winners; they don’t have time to stop and reflect. It’s a convenient state of affairs, as it also requires no admissions of guilt, and no apologies.

And so it is again with Bush’s defense of Rumsfeld. He is not a pompous ass with more concern for the war itself than the soldiers who fight it. He’s a caring fellow. Repeat after me: a caring fellow. And thus it shall be, because they're wonderful at improving each other with labels, but self-improvement seems sorely out of reach.

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