My mother had a saying for such carping as this…

My mother, bless her departed soul, grew up in a knockabout Scots/Irish/German environment, and on none of those sides could a fool be suffered gladly.

The German side tended toward raised-eyebrows and snide criticisms…uttered, always, in civil tones. The Scots-Irish side would just as soon pummel you as look at you.

In those days it was not unusual for Coney-Island-Irish children to be shuffled between parents, aunts and grandparents during their formative years, and my mother – so shuffled – learned how to size up a situation quickly and remark succinctly. When she heard utter foolishness, or willfully malicious pettiness, she had one all-purpose comment: Balls!

While reading this sheer stupidity and malicious pettiness as published by the Washington Post, I could hear old Alice, dead these 9 years, as she spits it from the grave: Balls!

Apparently the Washington Post, unable to actually blame the Christmas Tsunami of 2004 on George W. Bush, has decided it will do the next best thing and pin the politically correct assignation of “INSENSITIVE” on the president for not…for not…well…apparently for not getting out in front of the cameras, biting his lip, wiping a tear and cancelling his damned Christmas vacation in Midland, Texas.

Almost nothing in the world offends the press more than President Bush taking a few days rest at his home – they hate that ranch the way Dan Rather hates the blogosphere. The press – the always selectively curious press, who never wondered what the hell Bill Clinton was doing while a million Rwandans were being hacked to death, is now piqued because George Bush is authorizing 12 naval vessels, 5,000 personnel and oh, yeah, a starting figure of 35 million dollars to give aid to the stricken area, all while co-ordinating with Japan and other countries…but…he’s doing it without tears, without high drama, and without a press conference. He’s not rushing to Sri Lanka to hug anyone! He’s not weeping, dammit! He didn’t jump up from his chair on September 11, 2001 and rip open his shirt to reveal his Empathetic Superman chest, and LOOK he’s not doing it again! This guy just refuses to perform for the cameras! He won’t roll about in the pain! He won’t get breathless and un-nerved! He won’t break a sweat! What sort of leadership is this???


These people are in such a knee-jerk habit of criticising George W. Bush on every possible occasion that they are become like junkies in need of a Bush-bash fix. If there is nothing that may be obviously and immediately spun against him, they will debase and humiliate themselves, and make stuff up, if they must, in order to get their hit. I can imagine them, wanding around their press rooms, looking for the stuff…Oh, man! Tsunami! Death and destruction everywhere, man! This is like…an act of God, or somebody, man! Can’t blame Bush…whadda we do? Well, he’s at that damned stupid ranch with his cowboy hat on, and he’s clearing BRUSH! Freaking Texan! Oh, man, I gotta eat something! He’s clearing brush? Jacques Chirac ain’t clearing brush! Chirac shows he cares! Bush is…he’s…yeah, yeah, he’s stupid, we know, but it’s gotta be worse than stupid…I know! Bush is…like, he’s still on his ranch while people are dying, man! He’s…i n s e n s i t i v e! Yeah! That’s the ticket! Insensitive brute! That’s Bush! See if we can get Clinton to say something, so we can show his leadership against Bush clearing the freaking brush! Good stuff! Ah, man…good stuff! Gimmee my hit! Do we have dinner reservations, tonight? Someplace good, because I’m hungry!

Let’s face it: had Bush cut short his vacation, and gone back to the White House to take exactly the same steps he has taken to help this stricken region, the press would have said he was “showboating” and “exploiting the event for his own gain. He didn’t need to go back to Washington to do all of this, after all, we live in an age of instant communication! Clearly, the president, aware of mounting criticism from the public regarding (insert issue here) has decided to play to the cameras and get some much-needed positive exposure in this time of crisis. Some decry his actions as ‘exploitative’…”

Can’t you hear it? Of course you can! Andrea Mitchell, David Gregory, Katie Couric, Dan Rather, they’d all say precisely that, and all in that same measured, pleasantly disdainful tone and corkscrew English.

Balls! Balls, I say, again!

My mother, a good lifelong Democrat, wouldn’t have stood for this play-time-let’s-pretend childishness. I wonder how much longer the rest of us are going to have to endure it. Sheesh. Who wants a Guinness?

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt has an idea.

About Elizabeth Scalia