March 21, 2017

Cozying up to George W. Bush because he's not Trump painting.

Here's Mimi Swartz in the NYT with "'W.’ and the Art of Redemption," reacting to Bush's new book of paintings:
[N]o less than The New Yorker’s art critic, Peter Schjeldahl, can barely hide his surprise when describing the quality as astonishingly high, the portraits “honestly observed and persuasively alive.”

Why the shock and awe? Because Mr. Bush’s artistic talent goes against the stereotype we have of him. (Try to picture Barack Obama do-si-do-ing at a square dance or, for that matter, clearing brush at a ranch.) Until last November, at any rate, the president known as W. was the embodiment of the smart-set philistine. Despite his years at Yale and Harvard, he always remained the West Texas rich kid who would be proud to confuse Picasso with Pizarro [sic, now corrected at the site] (You’d get whupped in Midland if you didn’t.)

It was fine for Mr. Bush’s mother and his wife to promote the reading of books. But Mr. Bush himself worked overtime to make sure no one could mistake him for a pointy-headed intellectual. He painted himself into a corner....
What? Bush made a big deal out of reading a lot of books. He had an open and running competition with Karl Rove over who read the most books in a year.  In 2008, Rove wrote:

It all started on New Year's Eve in 2005. President Bush asked what my New Year's resolutions were. I told him that as a regular reader who'd gotten out of the habit, my goal was to read a book a week in 2006. Three days later, we were in the Oval Office when he fixed me in his sights and said, “I’m on my second. Where are you?” Mr. Bush had turned my resolution into a contest.

By coincidence, we were both reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's “Team of Rivals.”...

Mr. Bush's 2006 reading list shows his literary tastes. The nonfiction ran from biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, Babe Ruth, King Leopold, William Jennings Bryan, Huey Long, LBJ and Genghis Khan to Andrew Roberts’s “A History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900,” James L. Swanson’s “Manhunt,” and Nathaniel Philbrick’s “Mayflower.” Besides eight Travis McGee novels by John D. MacDonald, Mr. Bush tackled Michael Crichton’s “Next,” Vince Flynn’s “Executive Power,” Stephen Hunter’s “Point of Impact,” and Albert Camus’s “The Stranger,” among others.

Fifty-eight of the books he read that year were nonfiction. Nearly half of his 2006 reading was history and biography, with another eight volumes on current events (mostly the Mideast) and six on sports. To my surprise, the president demanded a rematch in 2007....
How could the NYT let Mimi Swartz get away with saying Bush went out of his way to make it look as though he wasn't into reading books? He was famous for reading a lot of books! I guess in the mind of Swartz and whatever editors there may be at the NYT, Bush was just a big idiot, and that makes any depth he's showing now feel amazing.

And it's not necessary anymore for Bush to be the idiot, because now we've got Trump as our official idiot. I will give Swartz credit for not dragging Trump into her analysis. I'm just guessing that the NYT is up for rehabilitating Bush because it serves the new agenda of crushing Trump.

86 comments:

Birkel said...

West Texas having an outpost in Connecticut and a retreat in Maine...

Birkel said...

And I like the casual, accepted bigotry against those in Midland. People in Midland will never read of this bigotry and will happily vote for condescension.

roesch/voltaire said...

As a fellow retiree become artist named George, I have watched his skills improve over the years and can understand his desire to somehow atone for the deaths and injuries his needless wars have caused.

Gahrie said...

can understand his desire to somehow atone for the deaths and injuries his needless wars have caused.

Seriously?

You sir, are an ass.

This type of shit is why Trump exists.

bagoh20 said...

Ronald Reagan — "It isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so."

It's instructive to note that although W. was as non-combative with the press as Trump IS combative, they still never gave W. a fair treatment.

Hunter said...

People like Swartz never believed that Dubya read books, because he's so stupid he probably can't read at all. At least, not anything at a much higher level than "My Pet Goat".

They chortled about it, the tone being Dubya was so cute pretending to be a big boy who does grownup things. Like, you know... flying supersonic jet fighters. For instance.

JPS said...

"How could the NYT let Mimi Swartz get away with saying Bush went out of his way to make it look as though he wasn't into reading books?"

Well, what she obviously meant was, He went out of his way to be the kind of guy we assume wasn't into reading books.

Geez, Althouse....

David Begley said...

Redemption for what? Not being a liberal? Keeping us safe? Deposing Saddam?

rehajm said...

Why the shock and awe? Because Mr. Bush’s artistic talent goes against the stereotype we have of him.

When I first saw his paintings, I was sure I would hate them...


But it's President Bush that needs redemption.

How about you 'journalists' engage in a bit of introspection? At least look up the meaning of stereotype.

bagoh20 said...

"deaths and injuries his needless wars have caused."

...as well as saved. Prior to being ousted, Saddam Hussein's regime was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 4 million people. Many, including women and children, via torture.

St. George said...

Obama was a huge watcher of evening TV, including Game of Thrones, The Wire, Breaking Bad, House of Cards. Classy stuff. No poker with the guys from Capitol Hill, just sadistic TV shows.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Fuck the Media, fuck the Left, and fuck you too, roesch/voltaire. Is it a personal attack to point out that you seem like a piece of shit?

traditionalguy said...

Poor failing NYT. Their memory hole is letting old stuff slip back out again. It is hard to keep up with the changes post Trump. But you can't blame them for some kind feelings towards W.

Bush II was a nice swamp creature, from a long line of the blackest bottom of the swamp, who served as friendly foils for the Democrat opponents in DC's fake wrestling matches. But the Bushes were 100% Pro New World Order, but were using a new found Texas Oil wealth base in place of an old Connecticutt connections base.

Trump is serious storm warnings for all swampies. He is their uniting common enemy, who will eliminate their secret world order, if they fail to eliminate him first.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

It all makes sense if you keep in mind that they are engaging with the cartoon they have in their mind, shaped by their parochial mindset.

Big Mike said...

Obviously roesch wants more Trump, because foolish remarks such as his are how you get more Trump.

To roesch I say "Sod off, Swampy." (Make sure you use the Althouse portal!)

HoodlumDoodlum said...

St. George said...Obama was a huge watcher of evening TV, including Game of Thrones, The Wire, Breaking Bad, House of Cards. Classy stuff. No poker with the guys from Capitol Hill, just sadistic TV shows.

I hear a lot about how literate the smart Leftists are supposed to be but pretty much the only allusions they seem to make are to either Harry Potter or TV shows & movies (ususally "Young Adult" movies at that). They "fucking love science" but seem to be familiar with only very shallow pop-science sources like (the new) Cosmos or Bill Nye/Neil Degrasse Tyson, etc.

But hey, what do I know, I'm not a Leftist so it's probable that my words don't come out no good no how. Halp me Jon Kerry, I'm stuck on the right!

Condescended to by our inferiors, bigly.

roesch/voltaire said...

As Trump has often pointed out the Iraq war was a disaster and needless. There have been many deaths in many countries we have not invaded--so why were the deaths under a dictator we supported and armed justify this invasion? How did this keep me safe? It seems to have spawned even more hatred for the US in parts of the Middle East.Hasn't Trump in his language and America First policy turned away of foreign involvement served up an oblique apology for these wars? George Bush of all folks has a keen understanding of these dynamics, I suspect.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

To be fair, we all deal with models that we build in our heads. The questions is how accurate those models are and how well do they predict the actual persons behavior. Since I don't suffer under the handicap of stereotyping people from Midland Texas as necessarily being uneducated bumpkins, it turns out my model is more accurate than that held by an art critic at the NYT.

Otto said...

' I'm just guessing that the NYT is up for rehabilitating Bush because it serves the new agenda of crushing Trump."
No shit red ryder what gave you your first clue?

Gahrie said...

so why were the deaths under a dictator we supported and armed justify this invasion?

They didn't. The first invasion was justified by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and threat to Saudi Arabia. The second invasion was justified by Hussein's failure to follow the ceasefire agreement and his attacks on American forces trying to enforce that agreement.

JPS said...

Hunter,

"People like Swartz never believed that Dubya read books, because he's so stupid he probably can't read at all....They chortled about it,"

I may have mentioned this here before, but I used to have a small circle of colleagues among whom the stupidity of Bush was an article of faith, and the substitute for a punchline. One of them won a presidential-level award, and received some commiseration that he should finally receive this overdue honor at the hands of that fool.

He went, he received his medal, and he took the chance to talk with the president at some length - not just to exchange pleasantries but to challenge him about some of what was bothering him.

Thereafter he remained a critic of President Bush. I never again heard him laugh at the man, denigrate his intelligence, or question his good faith.

Virgil Hilts said...

Bush - Yale / Harvard, only President with an MBA, learned how to fly F-102s while in the service, successfully ran a professional baseball team, successful governor, won reelection as governor through record landslide, became President very first time he ran, reelected with absolute majority of popular vote.
And these people think he was dumb?

Mike said...

So the new strange new respect now carries a decidedly condescending portrait of the man infused with the prejudices of the writer. How post-modern of Swartz!

JPS said...

r/v, re "armed" - have you ever looked at the list of Iraq's military equipment before the war kicked off?

Huge majority, like 80%, came from the Soviet Union back in the day. Most of the rest was from China and France. To hear the left tell it you'd think Saddam's army was driving M1A1s, his riflemen shooting M4s, and his air force flying F-16s.

Our material support was a drop in the bucket. It went beyond that, and we bear moral responsibility for ever having supported him at all, but this canard on the left that he was our creature - do the words "Soviet client state" mean anything to any of you? - gets really old.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Wow, Midland has an Arts Council:

https://acmidland.org/events/

and a museum:

https://www.museumsw.org/explore/collections

and an arts festival

https://www.everfest.com/e/arts-council-of-midland-celebration-of-the-arts-midland-tx

and art galleries!

https://www.bing.com/search?ut q=midland+texas+art+galleries&qs=AS&pq=midland+texas+art+&sk=HS2&sc=7-18&cvid=F16A1772111C4B9C96CAA995EF6E761D&FORM=QBRE&sp=3

But I can't find anything about spirit dinners.

What a bunch of hicks!

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

And how will Obama seek redemption for all the deaths due to his decisions? Take another vacation to Fiji?

Fred Rawlings said...

It's time people quit listening to Journalism Majors so much. Audit a couple classes at a University and see for yourself what qualifications they muster from their degree that allows them to tell us what to think and do.

... it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. (W.S.)

Gosh, I took something out of context and made it mean what i wanted it to mean. Who would think to do that I wonder?

Henry said...

The portrait that leads the Schjeldahl review is astonishingly good.

Schjeldahl's commentary about Bush, bears close reading. While he at least avoids outright smears, he seems oblivious (to borrow one of his words about Bush) to the fact that Bush always made a point of meeting and honoring the men and women that fought, all the way through his presidency. That expression of his character is not recent.

Then Schjeldahl writes this:

But the book’s tone isn’t self-congratulatory. It’s self-comforting, rather, in its exercise of Bush’s never-doubted sincerity and humility--virtues that were maddeningly futile when he governed, and that now shine brighter, in contrast with Trump, than may be merited.

I reread this a few times. At first I read it as a damning with very faint praise, but I think there's a good insight there. Let's start by saying a lot of people have made careers out of doubting Bush's sincerity and humility, sot it's a nice thing for Schjeldahl to observe otherwise. The next phrase is key: ...virtues that were maddeningly futile when he governed. That, I think, sounds like a slam, but it's actually quite correct. Schjeldahl doesn't write that the virtues were missing or cast off. He writes that they were futile.

This is a good thing to remember about public figures. Personal virtues, in the face of calamity and confusion, will be maddeningly futile as catalysts of success. In President Obama's case, you could say that his intellect and reserve were also maddeningly futile.

Big Mike said...

@Virgil, if you point out to roesch that Bush carried his home state of Texas in 2000 by a margin of 4:1 he'll explain it's because they wanted him out of there.

And the F-102 seems to have been a bugger to fly well, with a terrible accident rate. Says a lot that Bush mastered it.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Bushman beat me to it. I would bet that Obama never feels, is in fact incapable of feeling, a moment's regret for the the hundreds of thousands of lives his stupidity and mendacity have destroyed.

tcrosse said...

George W. Bush had an unfashionable regional accent, which marked him as an idiot. Just like in the movies.

buwaya said...

Again, some people mistake the nature of the press, and especially the NYT. They were told what to write during the Bush admin, to political effect and for political purposes, and even more so today. Everything is calculated. There are no real, personal, internally generated opinions of the writers.

If propaganda lines of then and now do not match, it is due to the well known Orwellian process of the memory hole. All that matters is the current message decided on by their masters.

Orwell is an excellent guide.

Mike said...

One unfortunate aspect of the 2016 campaign was Hillary Clinton was never, as far as I know, asked about her incredible reading habits outlined here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/books/review/hillary-rodham-clinton-by-the-book.html

She claimed to be a voracious reader including reading every book by a slew of prolific authors who have written long-running series such as Alex Berenson, Linda Fairstein, Sue Grafton, Donna Leon, Katherine Hall Page, Louise Penny, Daniel Silva, Alexander McCall Smith, Charles Todd, Jacqueline Winspear, and Janet Evanovich. While I hate to automatically doubt anyone, her incredible list seems a little like Paul Ryan's marathon time. It would have been interesting if someone had asked her what her favorite Gabriel Allon adventure was.

traditionalguy said...

Interestingly, politics in DC today center around finding a way to split the Trump base of GOP support. One obvious fault line to attack is the Bush coalition wanting its power back again, for old time's long forgot.

The trouble is that the CIA Deep State has found no political skill set that stops Trump's twittering out daily truth comments.

Disable Twitter and they will find a coalition that impeaches Trump in 6 months.

exiledonmainstreet said...

What books did Obama read? For all his vaunted "intellectualism" I never heard or read of him mentioning anything he was reading during his time in office. Never saw him carrying a book or reading anything on vacation. He talked a lot about TV shows and basketball brackets. Some intellectual.

Trump isn't a reader either. But nobody pretends that he is.

Roy Jacobsen said...

In President Obama's case, you could say that his intellect and reserve were also maddeningly futile.

Intellect? You're yanking my chain, right?

Matthew Sablan said...

"How could the NYT let Mimi Swartz get away with saying Bush went out of his way to make it look as though he wasn't into reading books?"

-- Because the NYT honestly thinks a man who fell in love with a librarian secretly hated books. The NYT is not very smart.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"They "fucking love science" but seem to be familiar with only very shallow pop-science sources like (the new) Cosmos or Bill Nye/Neil Degrasse Tyson, etc."

Yep. And their knowledge of Christianity comes from Bill Maher. You don't have to be a believer to realize that you can't begin to understand Western Civilization without some knowledge of the religion that shaped that civilization for the past 2000 years. Yet, I've met more than a few "educated" liberals who are as smug about their ignorance of Christianity as they are about their ignorance of guns. Biblical literacy is for dumb rednecks.

Angel-Dyne said...

roesch/Voltaire: As Trump has often pointed out the Iraq war was a disaster and needless. There have been many deaths in many countries we have not invaded--so why were the deaths under a dictator we supported and armed justify this invasion?

Sorry, but re-arguing the Iraq war doesn't redeem the snide stupidity of your original comment. Unless you've also been thinking about how Obama and other members of his administration can redeem themselves via art from the needless death and destruction they caused. But we know that's not anything you're ever going to think about honestly.

wendybar said...

Once again, one of those "smart" liberals putting down a Republican because she is so smart, she never read that he was a reader... There are people who always think they are smarter than everyone else..and all we can do is laugh at their stupidity!

Amadeus 48 said...

The nation's press corps (pronounced "core" for you Obama fanboys) have become raving lunatics on the subject of Trump, which is OK with him because he plays them like fiddles. Trump has some real problems (he needs to staff up that executive branch, and the Congressional GOP is a clowder of cats--you can't lead them anywhere), but you'll only know what Trump's problems are by thinking for yourself--the press is deranged. I hope the press gets well soon, but mental illness is a very tough thing to deal with.

buwaya said...

"The NYT is not very smart"

That is a mistake. There was a reason, a calculation, behind everything they wrote about Bush. Once you understand their purpose everything falls into place.

Crazy Jane said...

Hard to believe W cares much about "redemption" awarded by the people who used to call him "Bush Chimpy McHitler."

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

I agree that Bush Jr. was treated unfairly, especially the implication that he was not very smart. It's also true that the image of the good old boy, too focussed on the right thing to do to sit still for a briefing, was largely the work of Bush and his people. Still, there is some reason to be skeptical about Rove's presentation of Bush the reader.
A book a week? A couple of critics suggested that people who review books for a living might have trouble reading one a week, week in and week out. Obama said recently he tried to read for an hour before bed. I don't think that adds up to a book a week.

The bigger picture is that this kind of question comes up every so often. Sometimes a leader wants to suggest he is too busy to read, he is a decider not a thinker, reading is for those who hesitate like Jimmy Carter, etc. Actual intellectuals probably don't have a very good record (in general) as political leaders. Daniel Moynihan, after his announcement that he was going to run for the Senate against James Buckley, was then told Buckley had said (something like) voters probably wouldn't go for a Harvard professor. "Ah," he said, "the mud-slinging has begun." JFK resented the notion that Adlai Stevenson was more of an intellectual than he was, and said something like: "I've written more books than Adlai has read." Of course at least one of his books was ghost-written. Eisenhower was asked what he liked to read, and for some reason he said something about comic books. This was brought up repeatedly. He performed very well in Army officer training courses, and his favourite games were bridge and Scrabble. He probably had a fairly high IQ among presidents.

Back to the Bushes. Jeb tried to brag about the number of books he had on his Kindle--partly he was trying to distinguish himself from his brother, so he was overlooking the Rove piece. When Trump said "maybe your mother should be running," and more or less vaporized Jeb, didn't this confirm what many of us had in the backs of our minds--that grandma Barbara may have been the best of them all?

rhhardin said...

The agenda is holding readership, not crushing Trump.

Crushing Trump is the means. They're setting up narratives that their readers will keep coming back for.

rhhardin said...

That is, look less at the the NYT and more at their readership to see what's going on.

The NYT is just a business.

What in their readership wants to see Trump crushed?

Sebastian said...

“Because Mr. Bush’s artistic talent goes against the stereotype we have of him.” “We,” the superior progressive know-nothings who believe our own propaganda.

“How could the NYT let Mimi Swartz get away with saying Bush went out of his way to make it look as though he wasn't into reading books? He was famous for reading a lot of books!” Ah, back to faux surprise. Actually, of course, they like smearing Bush just a bit more with their old condescension, even while supposedly rehabilitating him. And of course, he wasn’t “famous” for reading a lot of books, since all the right people had told all the right people that he was Dumbo Shrub Bushitler.

But my guess is that W read more in one year than O read in his two terms.

damikesc said...

All Republicans are crayon-eating retards to the Left. Bush was a meh President but a good man and a guy much smarter than people wish to give him credit for. That he was more intelligent than Gore and Kerry was obvious to anybody paying attention, but man, the media tried to pretend otherwise.

so why were the deaths under a dictator we supported and armed justify this invasion?

He has a point. FDR supported and armed Stalin and him killing over 20M didn't seem to bother the Left.

And Obama's Syria policy has caused dramatically more problems globally than the Iraq war.

LarsPorsena said...

Despite his years at Yale and Harvard, he always remained the West Texas rich kid who would be proud to confuse Picasso with Pizarro.

Pizarro or Pisarro?

Birches said...

Just yesterday, I noted to my spouse that our local modern rock station has "mysteriously" started playing Green Day's "American Idiot" after an 8year hiatus. The fact that song was written about GWB and is now used for DJT is proof of the dishonesty of our Coastal Elites. I'm sure it would have worked for Romney too, if he had won.

Rocketeer said...

"An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of an artist. He was Pissarro, not Pizarro."

I laughed out loud for some reason.

rhhardin said...

A good test book for girlfriends is Derrida's _Spurs_. Skip the preface by somebody else.

DanTheMan said...

>>"An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of an artist. He was Pissarro, not Pizarro."

Even so, you have to admit that Bush is no Albert Eisenstein.

rhhardin said...

Gayatri Spivak, translator of Derrida's earlier Grammatology, got very mad about _Spurs_.

It separates out different feminists.

roesch/voltaire said...

Angel,Trying to understand the conscious and unconscious motives of an artist, the concept of guilt, and the need for redemption as expressed in art forms is legitimate. And to imagine a President who has to face the results of his war in the missing limbs and damaged psyche of its soldiers giving them attention and seeking some kind of atonement is not a stretch nor snide.George's morphing into an artist to do these portraits shows his emotional and sensitive responses to the soldiers, and as I suggested some kind of atonement for a war that now, thanks to Trump many Republicans also think was unnecessary. I don't know what this has to do with how many books Bush or Obama read while in office. and as this blog is about the Bush portraits, that is what I think should be discussed rather that Tit for Tat comparisons of reading lists.

Angel-Dyne said...

r/V: Angel,Trying to understand the conscious and unconscious motives of an artist, the concept of guilt, and the need for redemption as expressed in art forms is legitimate.

Yes, it is. But that isn't what you were doing, so stop bullshitting yourself.

Or, to be slightly more charitable about your possible "unconscious motives", let's just say one could rely on you to be curious about rather different "concepts", if considering the artistic output of different, if equally guilty, people.

As long as we're permitting ourselves to explore other people's unconscious motives and all...

cubanbob said...

Now that we have a New Hitler in town the Old Hitler can be rehabilitated.

Bay Area Guy said...

The Left on GW Bush:

During his administration, Chimpy McHitler.

After his administration, hey, he's not that bad of an artist!

Achilles said...

"Despite his years at Yale and Harvard, he always remained the West Texas rich kid who would be proud to confuse Picasso with Pizarro. (You’d get whupped in Midland if you didn’t.)"

Definition of bigotry: stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own.

Achilles said...

Blogger roesch/voltaire said...
"As a fellow retiree become artist named George, I have watched his skills improve over the years and can understand his desire to somehow atone for the deaths and injuries his needless wars have caused."

Have you atoned for voting for Hillary and obama?

Sorry I forgot being a leftist means you are immune to your own hypocrisy.

Brando said...

Once someone is caught up in a narrative, they can't seem to process facts that go against it. So the narrative was that Bush was stupid, or at least intellectually uncurious, or maybe even just rebelling against his fancy upbringing by adopting the "west Texas" persona to such a degree that he had to shun books. So when it is widely reported that Bush actually reads a lot--and I recall a lot of reporting about "what book Bush has in his hand in this photo and what that says about his upcoming policies"--the "Bush is dumb" partisans just can't register that. Thus, the surprise when he takes up painting.

Rocketeer said...

Now that we have a New Hitler in town the Old Hitler can be rehabilitated.

Nonsense. The Old Hitler can remain the same Old Hitler; they can just add more Hitlers to the pantheon. All loons have to do is trot out that old chestnut:

Hitler was an artist.

buwaya said...

"Once someone is caught up in a narrative"

On the level of the NYT, they certainly aren't caught up in the narrative that they themselves manufactured. Its their profession to create narratives, and they can spin on a dime if they need to. They aren't the caught, they are the catchers.

Bob Loblaw said...

People like Swartz never believed that Dubya read books, because he's so stupid he probably can't read at all. At least, not anything at a much higher level than "My Pet Goat".

This. Where I live it's pretty common for people who aren't nearly as intelligent as Bush to put down his intelligence. It's an article of faith for the "I'm not religious but I'm spiritual" set.

Robohobo said...

roesch/voltaire said...
"As a fellow retiree become artist named George, I have watched his skills improve over the years and can understand his desire to somehow atone for the deaths and injuries his needless wars have caused."

And:

Gahrie said...
"Seriously? ..... You sir, are an ass. ..... This type of shit is why Trump exists."

I beg to differ, Trump just harnessed it:

ahem said:
"Trump's campaign (is) was where America is turning to clean house while clinging to vestiges of civilized behavior. It represents an opportunity for renewal on many levels. If it doesn't work, I fear America is in for much worse than it has already seen."

The people the Elites want to disenfranchise .....
"The people you just told to go pound sand on average purchase enough firearms in three months to outfit the Russian and Chinese frontline troops. Every. Three. Months."

Be careful what you wish for.

Man in PA said...

By the way, how many books did Obama read while he was president?

Henry said...

Intellect? You're yanking my chain, right?

I knew someone's chain would feel pulled.

BillW said...

For years there were annual stories about what the president was reading. It was a staple of a story as reliable as pardoning the Thanksgiving turkey. Until Bush fell out of favor around 2003 and the fact that he did a LOT of heavy duty reading did not fit the narrative so I never saw another story about it. And when Obama was elected and they found out all he did after hours was watch Sportscenter and veg, you never heard a story about his reading list unless he was carrying around a book as a prop.

Big Mike said...

I am hard-pressed to imagine any president more profoundly ignorant or less intellectually curious than Barack Hussein Obama.

ddh said...

Google is a wonderful thing. It gives you articles on President Obama's claimed reading habits.

What he told journalists that he read is light on nonfiction and biography but is very heavily weighted toward contemporary literary fiction. His claimed reading list looks very much like several years of nominees for the Booker Man Prize or Michiko Kakutani's reviews in the New York Times.

My question is, how many genuine lovers of modern literary fiction never read literary classics or in fact anything published before 1990? Is this why my BS detector is ringing?

TBlakely said...

I've never heard a peep from the left about Obama sealing his college records. Can you imagine the howls of outrage if a Republican presidential candidate who majored in Constitutional law sealed their records? Obviously, seeing what papers such a candidate wrote about the Constitution would give a major insight in how they would govern but both the left and the media were strangely silent about that with Obama.

I can think of three reasons why Obama sealed his college records.

- His grades were mediocre at best.
- His papers about the Constitution were.... scary.
- He listed his birthplace as somewhere else than the US.

If one or more of the above reasons weren't involved, why would Obama seal his college records?

Rockport Conservative said...

We who live in Texas know Mimi Schwartz for what she is and are never surprised when a left wing political view is shown in her writings. She has been at it for years.

Sigivald said...

"But Mr. Bush himself worked overtime to make sure no one could mistake him for a pointy-headed intellectual"

Well, more accurately, the New York Times and pals worked overtime.

All President Bush did was affect the occasional folksy turn of phrase - but that's just "being in touch" if you're a Democratic President, natch.

(Ref. ddh above, President Obama might have just been ineffectually posturing [when the media's in the tank for you, you don't need to do better!].

I'm not sure it wouldn't be worse if the list was accurate and he just picked what to read based on what won an award; that's the sort of thing an alien would do in a bad comedy "because humans read popular books". It's incomprehensible to me as someone who reads for pleasure*.

* Genre fiction and anything old, basically. Gibbon, at the moment, in fact, after Boswell.)

JaimeRoberto said...

Even if Bush believes that that Iraq War was not needless, it's not hard to imagine that the deaths of soldiers under his command would weigh heavily on him.

Mary Beth said...

To me, every article about Bush sounds like "we miss GWB, he didn't fight back when we called him names."

Jim at said...

"It seems to have spawned even more hatred for the US in parts of the Middle East."

I've never understood leftists like you.

You get the vapors over our enemies in the ME hating us, but you have no problem with half of your own countrymen hating your fucking guts.

CWJ said...

"[Eisenhower] performed very well in Army officer training courses, and his favourite games were bridge and Scrabble. He probably had a fairly high IQ among presidents."

Commander in chief of the western half of the alliance against Hitler. Got the most out of his subordinates while simultaneously keeping them from each other's throats. And the above is your takeaway?

Michael K said...

his desire to somehow atone for the deaths and injuries his needless wars have caused.

I'm late to the party but I would simply point out that projection doesn't just go on in movie theaters.

R/V probably has more deaths on his conscience from the votes he has cast in his life than Bush has from Iraq.

Rusty said...

The people the Elites want to disenfranchise .....
"The people you just told to go pound sand on average purchase enough firearms in three months to outfit the Russian and Chinese frontline troops. Every. Three. Months."

I'm ready for anything! Grrrrr.
I bought a nice spanish double in 20 ga. fixed chokes. Nice grouse gun. A S&W 12 ga auto for the ducks and geese because I'm a sucker for a duck gun on sale. A .45 auto and the parts to make another .45 auto in .40. These are going to betarget guns. And a Savage 110 in 30-06 in case somebody accidentally invites me to go elk hunting.

Michael said...

Rusty

Nice guns. I have 12s and 20s and recently began using 28 for quail. Maybe for everything from now on. Very satisfying. Have gone to s/s from o/u. At 71 I am headed backwards.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Still, there is some reason to be skeptical about Rove's presentation of Bush the reader.
A book a week? A couple of critics suggested that people who review books for a living might have trouble reading one a week, week in and week out.


The couple of critics don't know what they're talking about. I know plenty of people who read more than a book a week. My brother-in-law reads two to three a week. I had a coworker who read more than one per day, ranging from fiction to software engineering to history to music theory -- all while holding down a busy job and playing in a community orchestra.

Michael K said...

I finally sold my Browning Auto Five 12 gauge magnum a couple of years ago. I have hunted my last duck.

I once saw my father get two pheasants with a 28 gauge double barrel. He was a terrific wing shot.

One with each barrel. Pretty quick shots, too.

When we went duck hunting when I was a kid, he would go back in the woods and cook breakfast on a gas Coleman type stove he had. We used to hunt on an island in the Illinois river. When the day was getting later after dawn, he would cook but take his old 12 gauge magnum with him. Guys from all over the island would smell the coffee and congregate.

Every few minutes he would get a duck passing way over. Pass shooting was his thing with ducks. We would walk over as the day warmed up and the ducks stopped coming in and he would have close to a limit he shot while he was cooking.

Long time ago.

Zach said...

What he told journalists that he read is light on nonfiction and biography but is very heavily weighted toward contemporary literary fiction. His claimed reading list looks very much like several years of nominees for the Booker Man Prize or Michiko Kakutani's reviews in the New York Times.

This is a point that's difficult to make to someone who's not a reader.

Here are two lists of Obama's purported "recommendations":

http://ew.com/books/2017/01/18/barack-obama-book-recommendations/
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/authors/barack-obama-book-reading-habits/

They're just palpably fake. Nobody is that shallow, and nobody's tastes are that similar to the kinds of selections you would find in "100 books every teen should read" lists. You look at a list like that and you think: This guy has never read a book since college.

You could tell Bush's book lists were real, because they showed a distinct taste. He liked some books better than others, and was pretty good about keeping up with contemporary books in areas he liked. I read some article where he mentioned he was excited about a new book by Ron Chernow (who wrote great biographies of Alexander Hamilton, John D. Rockefeller, and George Washington, among others). So it was perfectly in character for a new Chernow biography to be on his radar.

Zach said...

The couple of critics don't know what they're talking about. I know plenty of people who read more than a book a week.

Bear in mind, Bush was married to a librarian and preferred to wind down every day by reading instead of watching television or surfing the internet. There's plenty of time if that's the sort of thing you like to do.

Gretchen said...

It really doesn't matter who the Republican is, the left always claims he is an idiot. After all, the left is the party of the intelligent. Obama's speaking style when off prompter, and lack of historical understanding didn't matter, and his thin resume without management experience, like Hillary, he was deemed brilliant. Bush, although he read more books in a year than the snots who called him stupid did in a decade, and Trump who did very well academically and ran a successful business is an idiot, along with Romney who had obvious successes in life, Reagan was also considered an idiot.

What always amazes me is that the looney left calls Bush an idiot but think he pulled off 911, and Trump is both stupid and able to hack an election. Projection.

Rusty said...

Michael said...
Rusty

Nice guns. I have 12s and 20s and recently began using 28 for quail. Maybe for everything from now on. Very satisfying. Have gone to s/s from o/u. At 71 I am headed backwards.

28 ga.! You are good.

That's what it's all bout, Doc. The memories. The ducks, the deer, the brookies, they're incidental.