OPINION | Barry Richard: Former President a Chronic Fanny Pincher?
No one has a right to touch another person if that person does not want to be touched. Period. That said, tragic details have begun to emerge of how the senile, wheelchair bound 41st President of the United States has evolved into a chronic fanny pincher! Seriously!
A third woman has now come forward to accuse World War II hero George Herbert Walker Bush of grabbing her derriere during a photo op. Author Christina Baker says Bush, the former U.S. Ambassador to China, plucked a handful when the pair posed for a picture in 2014.
Baker tells Slate.com the former Director of the C.I.A. asked; "You want to know the title of my favorite book?" When she replied that she did Bush reportedly responded; "David Cop-a-Feel," before copping a feel.
Seems the former two term Vice President and one term President used a similar line before grabbing the butts of actresses Heather Lind and Jordana Grolnick since 2014.
Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath says "41" means no harm;
"At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures. To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke - and on occasion, he has patted women's rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely."
Reports indicate that Bush suffers from senility and a condition known as vascular parkinsonism. I am told this condition can allow its victims to act in ways they might not otherwise consider to be appropriate. Did I mention that Bush is 93 and that all of these incidents have been reported since he turned 90?
Responding to questions about why she felt it was important to "out" the former President at this time, Grolnick tells DEADSPAN;
"He knows the power he has, and the reverence he deserves, even while sitting perhaps somewhat senile in a wheelchair. What I've come to realize is that if we tolerate these small comments and grazes from men on the street or former presidents, they might assume that it's O.K. with us, and they may take it as permission to do who-knows-what else."
No, Ms. Grolnick, he may not know. Just as you may no know about compassion for a failing elder statesman who risked his ass long before he ever thought about grabbing yours.
Editor’s Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.