Son of a bitch. From the excellent Orcinus comes the story (Salon, day pass req’d) of one ordinary citizen’s encounter with his President:
It was July 4, 2001, and we were both at one of those things that the late historian Daniel Boorstin would have labeled a “pseudo-event:” A church picnic in Philadelphia, designed to help George W. Bush promote his faith-based policies. I was working at the time for a local nonprofit that had helped set it up, but I had some serious misgivings about the president’s performance up to that point, and being a part of the whole operation had left me feeling a bit like a pseudo-person. So when I had the chance to shake Bush’s hand, I said, “Mr. President, I’m very disappointed in your work so far. I hope you only serve four years.”
His smiling response was swift: “Who cares what you think?”
In David’s comments, Morgan (not his/her own page, but I presume he/she wants to plug it) points out that Snopes has not been able to confirm or deny the story. Well, how would they? It’s Hangley’s word against Shifty George’s. (Hangley is a journalist, he took notes on the spot and there are witnesses. Those notes would be admissible as evidence in court, AFAIK. Unless Shifty can prove it’s a lie I’m buying it.)
There are plenty of traditional outlets for expressing dissatisfaction with the policies and actions of elected representatives, but walking up to the President at a public function and telling him he’s doing a lousy job isn’t one of them. Such behavior demonstrates a lack of respect for the office of President of the United States
Bullshit. What access does Joe Citizen have to an autocrat like GWB? The bastard doesn’t read his mail, and his peons are afraid to relay negative opinions to him. In any case, turn it around: what right does a public servant have to expect nothing but rose petals and red carpets? Why shouldn’t a member of the public take an all-too-rare opportunity to express an opinion directly to an elected official? As for “respect for the office”, that’s even worse bullshit. One respects persons, if they have earned it, one does not kow-tow to a job title.
Wow, Snopes is on crack. Telling someone politely what you honestly think about them is probably the most respectful thing one could do with that opportunity. Bush’s alleged honest response was in at least one way respectful as well, even if the thought behind it wasn’t.
One thing I’ve never understood is whether or not Bush knew who he was. This sounds like the sort of thing Bush would say to a journalist he knew. It does not sound like what he would say to a member of the great unwashed.