Nora Ephron (via Rod Dreher) writes about Sen. Webb’s figurative dust-up with the President in much the same way I did (minus the remarks about tyrants and autocracy, etc.):

So finally someone said to George Bush, Don’t think that what you stand for is beside the point. Don’t think that because you’re President you’re entitled to my good opinion. Don’t think that asking about my boy means that I believe for even one second that you care. If you did, you’d be doing something about bringing the troops home.

George Will thinks this is bad manners.

I don’t.

I think it’s too bad it doesn’t happen more often.

Ms. Ephron is right.  Ironically and rather disturbingly, Bush’s behaviour represents the disconnect of the entire country from the reality of the war: he asks about soldiers he sent to Iraq as if they were off at college.  He might as well have asked, “Has he enjoyed his time in Baquba?”  Sen. Webb, for obvious reasons, cannot be as disconnected from it.  

Think about the possible parallels, and consider whether Sen. Webb’s response was really out of line.  What would Bob La Follette have done if he had had a son in WWI and Woodrow Wilson had pretended to care about the welfare of his “boy”?  “Fightin'” Bob might not have been as restrained. 

The best thing Sen. Webb might have done would have been to avoid the mixer all together, at which point the great and the good would have accused him of being…rude.