I generally try not to superimpose my personal life and day-job activities onto my political opinions, but lately I've been insanely busy which has limited my ability to write articles here. Currently, I'm working on five animation projects (including this one); I lost a good friend to a heart attack two weeks ago; a close family member has been sick; and I'm installing bead board siding in my kitchen and family room which is more difficult than it seemed before I started. It doesn't sound like a lot, but all told I have about an hour a week for Deadwood, and, what's it called? Sleep. That's it.
And those of you with similarly insane schedules might be able to relate to my feelings of shock and dismay when I learned the following news.
President Bush is currently responsible for two ground wars; a crisis in Israel and Lebanon; a midterm election; a sagging housing market; the upcoming hurricane season; a laundry list of scandals; an on-going attempt to avoid coming off like a retarded frat-boy bully; and the day-to-day struggle to basically run the nation -- that is, pretend to run the nation. Looking back on 2006, he's faced numerous other critical events at home and abroad including gas prices, immigration, the Dubai ports deal, the Plame investigation, and his vice president shooting a lawyer in the face.
Yet, he's somehow found time to read not one, not five, not 20, but 60 books this year alone (via Crooks & Liars). According to US News & World Report, he's in a competition with Karl Rove to see who can read more books over the course of the year. Rove is trailing by 10 books, until November when Diebold will put him up by three.
Of course, I don't begrudge someone who chooses to read that much literature. That is, if that someone is a student or an author or a shut-in or a prison inmate or simply a person who is fortunate enough to have a buttload of free time. But the president, any president, shouldn't have more free time than you and I.
I honestly don't believe he's read one book ever in his entire life, much less 60. Furthermore, how can his feeble monkey brain possibly retain or comprehend anything he's reading? Does he look at the pages and just see a series of squiggly lines? I think he does. Why else would he say the following?
"That's George Washington, the first president, of course. The interesting thing about him is that I read three--three or four books about him last year. Isn't that interesting?"--Showing German newspaper reporter Kai Diekmann the Oval Office, Washington, D.C., May 5, 2006 (from Slate)
He admitted to reading three (or four -- he's not sure about that either) books about George Washington, yet the only knowledge he could pass along to the German reporter was that... he read three (or four) books about George Washington. I mean, he couldn't even regurgitate anything beyond "the first president."
When I was in seventh grade, we had to read George Orwell's Animal Farm and write a report about. I simply didn't read the book. At the last minute, I puked up a one page report which essentially said, This is a book about animals on a farm and they hate the farmer. Isn't that interesting? I think we've all bullshitted a report or an essay question at some point in our lives, but the president clearly does it all the damn time. Case in point:
"Tribal sovereignty means that, it's sovereign. You're a--you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And, therefore, the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities."--Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2004 (from Slate)
Classic President Bush. Animal Farm is a book about animals on a farm. But in his petulant condescension, he likes to emphasize that he knows this stuff with that head-forward, smirky, explosive outdoor voice as if to say, "I know that, you dumb stupid!"
So on one hand, there can be no doubt that the president has too much free time which he uses to allegedly read a giant stack of books. Which is pathetic and disturbing for someone who is essentially responsible for a nation of 300 million people and a growing list of critical issues. On the other hand, if he's actually reading these books (and he's probably not) I'd rather that he simply keep reading instead of thinking of new ways to screw us all or, as we learned this week, devising clever new fart jokes. Sadly, I think he has enough free time for all three.
And if I were Karl Rove, I'd demand a recount on that book tally. On second thought, if I were Karl Rove, I'd be a dangerous villain who resembles a giant baby.