As for Bush, I started questioning his basic knowledge of life back in the days when he as Governor of Texas was not only supporting the death penalty full force, but applying it with little apparent consideration of the cases presented before him. He said he believed in the courts; apparently, he took it to mean that the courts would always get it right and hence he could effectively abrogate his oversight responsibility and just let the system proceed.
"If you’re asking me whether or not as to the innocence or guilt or if people have had adequate access to the courts in Texas, I believe they have." -- Response to an AP Reporter
As a result, he had signed 155 death warrants,- according to some sources, a record for any executive official in the US history, thereby earning himself a nickname "Texecutioner". According to this website, Bush went as far as to mock an inmate requesting clemency:
Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer criticized Gov. George W. Bush for making fun of an executed Texas woman in an interview Bush gave to Talk magazine. "I think it is nothing short of unbelievable that the governor of a major state running for president thought it was acceptable to mock a woman he decided to put to death." Just before her execution date, Tucker appealed for clemency on the grounds that she had become a born-again Christian. Bush's reply: "'Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'don't kill me.'"I think this sort of behaviour signifies a complete lack of understanding of the gravity of death. It is common for children to have a weak understanding of how finite death is, how tragic it is regardless of whose death we are talking about. In an adult, that signifies both the lack of understanding of the finality and gravity of death, and the lack of ability to truly appreciate life.
Even given all his shortcomings, I at times wonder if my negative attitude towards George W Bush is truly justified. After all, he is not unique neither in his shortcomings, nor in his achievements. Actually, I take that back,- not everyone gets to be the leader of the world's most powerful country. All that said, I think he is remarkably unfit for his current job.
When I read what he says in interviews,- like this one, for instance,- I start feeling more for him as a person. He is demonized in some quarters, and I don't think that is the right way to look at him. In this interview, he comes across as a very incurious and naive man.
So, in his interview with Brit Hume he openly admits that he allows a select group of people to filter everything he hears. Essentially, he admits being manipulated. And the notion of everyone being inevitably subjective,- a notion anyone with the most basic knowledge of human nature is aware of,- seems to completely escape him.
HUME: How do you get your news?
BUSH: I get briefed by Andy Card and Condi in the morning. They come in and tell me. In all due respect, you've got a beautiful face and everything.
I glance at the headlines just to kind of a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves. But like Condoleezza, in her case, the national security adviser is getting her news directly from the participants on the world stage.
HUME: Has that been your practice since day one, or is that a practice that you've...
BUSH: Practice since day one.
BUSH: Yes. You know, look, I have great respect for the media. I mean, our society is a good, solid democracy because of a good, solid media. But I also understand that a lot of times there's opinions mixed in with news. And I...
HUME: I won't disagree with that, sir.
BUSH: I appreciate people's opinions, but I'm more interested in news. And the best way to get the news is from objective sources. And the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what's happening in the world.
I also at times feel sorry for him. In his family, there does not appear to be much communication going on. In the same interview, Bush paints a picture of a family where his contact with his father is very irregular.
HUME: Tell me one thing. How often do you talk to your dad?So even though he clearly is not an unconcerned son,- he admits to being worried about his father being subjected to criticism, and it is generally alleged that his father has been a role model for him throughout his whole life,- he does not find much time to communicate with his father.
BUSH: You know, probably once every two weeks.
HUME: Really? Because I think a lot of people would imagine that you guys would be in touch constantly.
BUSH: No, I'm in touch constantly -- you mean like in terms of asking him...
HUME: Oh, yeah, calling up, saying, what about the Saudis, you know, you've dealt with them, what about them, and what should I do here, dad? You had a war with Saddam Hussein. What about that? I mean, sort of, you can understand how people would imagine that.
BUSH: No, I can understand. First of all, I talk to him really as son to father. I am worried about the fact that he is worried about me. You know you a very good question, did I take criticism of him or me easier, and the answer is, I take criticism of me easier.
The Bushes' family relations are clearly none of my business. And,- unlike Bush's staff,- I am subjective. However, the picture I subjectively perceive here is of a very cold family, a family where children do not get to learn how to empathize with others. It also appears that this environment would imbue one with a very stringent and inflexible outlook on the world, such as the one President Bush appears to adhere to.
Every time I read an interview with George W Bush my dislike for the man diminishes. But at the same time I become even firmer in my belief that this is a man completely unfit for any job in which he would be responsible for the well-being of others.