This Karl Rove editorial from the Wall Street Journal is an oldie -- it went to print the day after Christmas -- but a goodie, based upon the number of people who've sent it to me in emails. Titled, "Bush Is A Book Lover," it tells the story of how your President and his "brain" spent the bulk of the past two years engaged in a book-reading contest! Normally, you wouldn't want the fact of your President to wend his way through various crises, foreign and domestic and military and financial, by keeping his schedule open to read books all the time getting out. But we're in the midst if the Bush Legacy Tour, so now it's important that someone write something about what a gloriously intellectually curious the man was. Mission accomplished!
Consider your own reading habits and imagine the sheer amount of free time it would take you to read ninety-five books in a year. This is the feat that Karl Rove insists President Bush pulled off in 2006. Granted, at first one suspects that many of those may have been picture books, or pop-up books, or brochures for pop-up books that came in the mail, addressed to "RESIDENT." Still, we told are Bush read many weighty tomes during 2006. Of course, one of those was Team Of Rivals, and I've decided that I no longer believe anyone when they say they've read Team Of Rivals. Bush is said to have read 51 books in 2007 and 40 this year -- a curious decline, given that this year, Bush seemed to have much more free time at his disposal.
Anyway, the whole thing is a little silly, with Rove saying weird things like, "The reading competition reveals Mr. Bush's focus on goals" that only make you wish that the two men had decided to have a Competent Governance competition or something. But a throw-away paragraph toward the end seemed, to me, to be the most revealing:
In the 35 years I've known George W. Bush, he's always had a book nearby. He plays up being a good ol' boy from Midland, Texas, but he was a history major at Yale and graduated from Harvard Business School. You don't make it through either unless you are a reader.
It's such a relief to me that at last we are allowed to think of President Bush as a privileged, Ivy League elitist with a fake Texas accent. This is what I've been trying to tell you people all along.
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