Friday, January 02, 2009

Reading Between the Lines

Still working my way to full speed, but one recent news item demands comment.

Karl Rove, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, has "debunked" the idea that George W. Bush can't--er, I mean doesn't--read, pointing out the hundreds of books the Decider has read over the past few years. Some, like the Washington Post's Richard Cohen, have pointed out how many of the books serve only to either buttress Bush's already formed opinions, or to comfort him as he contemplates his legacy as a president who leaves office only slightly more popular than oral surgery.

They're missing the point. Why is everyone assuming Bush actually read all these books, just because Rove said so? Is it due to the extraordinarily high level of trust Rove has earned from his career of truthfulness?

We have numerous accounts, spanning many years, from people in a position to know, telling us George W. Bush isn't much of a reader. Now that it's image burnishing time, we get an opposite opinion from a man who will lie about the time of day just to keep in practice. Considering how much actual presidential work Bush has subcontracted out to subordinates, isn't it more reasonable to assume some White House functionary actually read most of these books, then wrote executive summaries for Shrub to read, the presidential equivalent of Cliff Notes? Does anyone really think a man who has to move his lips to read could cover as much literary ground as Rove claims for Bush?

Probably the same people who think Saddam Hussein helped the 9/11 terrorists and believe the Community Reinvestment Act created the housing bubble.

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