You know, maybe Spiro Agnew was right -- Agnew and all the other conservatives who argued that many parents of baby boomers had brought up their children too indulgently. That's all I could think while reading this article on poor, poor Poppy Bush and how painful it is for him to be reminded on a daily basis that his son is the worst president of all time and all sensible people despise him for it.
Sorry, Poppy -- I read about the way you walk on eggshells while gently nudging W in the direction of maturity, common sense, and an engagement with empirical reality, and I have no sympathy whatsoever. He doesn't need your gentle nudges and carefully worded hints. He needs -- he's long needed -- a swift boot in the ass.
I don't mean that literally -- I don't believe in corporal punishment. But loving a child doesn't mean suppressing your anger and saying "Gee golly, this is less than ideal, isn't it?" when he throws a kegger and trashes the whole house. That's what your son has done all his life, and now "the whole house" is the United States of America. No, check that -- it's the entire planet.
You don't have to deny him your love, Poppy -- but you should have told him a long time ago that he had a goddamn responsibility as an adult not to screw things up and expect others to suffer the consequences and clean up the mess. It's obvious you're afraid to be the least bit passionate or forceful when you sharply disagree with him. Well, that means you're enabling him -- just as you have all your life. And given his responsibilities in his current job, that's unconscionable.
So if people come up to you now and say mean things about him, well, boo-hoo. It's the least you deserve.
My favorite passage from the article:
"It was relatively easy for me to read the sitting president's body language after he had talked to his mother or father," [Andy] Card said. "Sometimes he'd ask me a probing question. And I'd think, Hmm, I don't think that question came from him."
Yup, that sounds about right -- if W actually asks someone a probing question, you just know it came from somebody else.