Friday, April 15, 2005

George W. Bush: the Master of Decorum


This picture was taken at the funeral of Pope John Paul II. It was published in the print version of Newsweek magazine. However, it is not on Newsweek's website, nor have I been able to find it anywhere on the web.

Before I explain my opinion of this conduct, I will discuss an April 8, 2005, article from the Washington Times entitled "Bush keeps low profile at John Paul II's funeral." Here is the lead paragraph:
President Bush, determined not to upstage the funeral of Pope John Paul II, kept an unusually low profile in Rome yesterday, although former President Bill Clinton gave a television interview watched by millions.
The Washington Times is the top winger paper in the country (and is also owned by the church of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, but that is another subject). Here the paper was trying to show that Bush was respectful by trying to bash Clinton. This Clinton obsession gets more pathetic with time. This part of the obsession goes back to one of the excuses Bush apologists (and administration officials) use to explain why Bush still has not attended one funeral of someone killed in Iraq, namely that Bush "was offended, his friends say, by what he saw at times as President Bill Clinton's exploitation of private grief for political gain." (See Bush and funerals and hugs--Defense 4). Just keep in mind that the article attempted to show that Clinton was trying to get the spotlight on himself while Good Ol' George was making every effort to stay out of the spotlight and thus act properly.

And just to make sure everyone understood that Bush would be the epitome of decorum and respect, Scotty McClellan said the following:
He recognizes the significance of the moment. And the focus rightly should be on the Holy Father.
*******
This is a time of mourning and it's also a time to celebrate the life of a great moral leader, and that's the reason we are here in Rome. The purpose of the trip is to be here for the funeral of John Paul II.
*******
[The President] recognizes that this is a time to pay tribute to and honor the Holy Father and all that he stood for.
Now look at the picture again. Now decide for yourself whether that picture reflects all of the things Scotty Boy said. I have decided, and my decision is highly critical. And by the way, if any other world leaders kissed their spouses like this at the funeral, my criticism extends to them as well. To me, this is completely inappropriate conduct at any funeral. The only exception I can think of is if the deceased was a family relative, and that ain't the case here. And this was no low profile funeral. This was the funeral of the freakin' Pope. This funeral was one of the grandest events in my lifetime. Almost every world leader was there. Most of the world was watching. Kissing your wife on the lips on the biggest public stage in the world at the funeral of the Pope is NOT the way to keep the focus on the Pope and pay tribute to him. And it certainly is not the way to show the rest of the world (much of which views Bush as arrogant and rude) that you are honoring the Holy Father.

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