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Andrew Gumbel

Andrew Gumbel

Posted: July 2, 2007 10:09 PM

Bush the Compassionate


Some of us aren't quite as smart as the marketing gurus and razor-brained apparatchiks responsible for George W. Bush's political successes. So forgive me if it's taken me, what, seven years to fully understand what they mean when they call him a "compassionate conservative".

Now, though, I get it. The man may have happily consigned 155 prisoners to the death chamber when he was governor of Texas. He may have sent more than 3000 US soldiers (and counting) to their doom in Iraq without ever making clear why he sent them in the first place. He may have widened the income gap, deepened the budget deficit, slashed funding for social programs, bombed several hundred thousand innocent civilians around the world to smithereens and whipped up a global tsunami of anti-American hatred.

But, but, but.... he clearly couldn't stomach the idea of Scooter Libby spending even a single day behind bars. Poor Scooter Libby, a poet trapped in a Republican corporate lawyer's body who only ever wanted to write novels and watch the aspens turn in the Colorado autumn.

So Bush, like the mensch he is, did something about it and commuted his sentence before it even began. Without a moment's hesitation. Fearlessly. Bravely. Boldly. In the face of hostility from an uncomprehending public.

Now that's what I call compassion.