W is for Man Woman

You may recall that the pres recently came under fire after a press conference in which he directed only a single question to a female reporter.

Perhaps the problem is that he simply can’t tell the difference:
PRESIDENT BUSH: Reuters man, Toby. Woman -- excuse me. I can see that. (Laughter.) So how long have you been on the presidential beat?

Q Since February.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes. Well, make yourself less scarce.
Or maybe it’s just that he can’t get it through his head that the “Reuters man” could actually be a woman. The boys’ club just ain’t what it used to be, eh, George?

“Toby,” by the way, is Tabassum Zakaria (see “additional reporting by” at the end of the story; the exchange above comes from the press conference in Denmark.)

The thing that bothers me about this is Bush’s immediate instinct to blame the reporter herself for his mistake. It’s a subtle thing, but it’s there. The response isn’t that he needs to pay more careful attention, or even a lame joke about aging eyes needing glasses, or an even lamer attempt to blame it on jetlag, or any one of a million possible retorts. Instead, it’s to suggest to Ms. Zakaria that she ought to make herself less scarce.

This man is patently unable to accept responsibility for anything, unwilling even to admit fault for a mistake as ultimately meaningless as this. He is pathetic, and by refusing to take the blame for his own error, passive aggressively turning it around on Ms. Zakaria’s having made herself “scarce,” he is rude and bullying, too. I know it’s a small thing, but it’s representative of something much bigger—a resistance of accountability that permeates his entire presidency.

He isn’t a good man who happens to be a bad president; he’s a bad president because he’s not a good man.

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