Will all famous people turn out to be surprisingly stupid? Six weeks ago, Sarah Palin surprised us with her understanding of the vice president's duties by saying, inaccurately, "They're in charge of the US Senate so if they want to, they can really get in there with the Senators and make a lot of good policy changes." Three weeks ago, the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, Donovan McNabb, maintained, appallingly, that he didn't know that it was possible for an NFL game to end in a tie.
Yesterday we heard from the still-lingering president of the United States a statement that indicated a certain vagueness about what he thought the duties of his office entailed. "I think I was unprepared for war," George Bush told ABC News' Charlie Gibson. "In other words, I didn't campaign and say, 'Please vote for me, I'll be able to handle an attack.' In other words, I didn't anticipate war. Presidents -- one of the things about the modern presidency is that the unexpected will happen." In other words -- WTF? It would have been one thing if he had said, "Until you get there, you never really know the magnitude, blah, blah, blah,'' but to say, "I didn't campaign on it?''
And how could he say that he didn't anticipate it? Didn't he think it signified something that people kept calling him "commander-in-chief''? And during his first inaugural address, when he said "The enemies of liberty and our country should make no mistake. . . we will defend our allies and our interests,'' didn't he wonder what his speechwriter was referring to? And when his father led the nation into war in 1991, did Bush think that launching an attack was just one of dad's hobbies, like horseshoes or golf? In 2000, some smart-aleck journalist was criticized for asking Bush "gotcha'' questions, like if he could name the president of Pakistan. As we see once again, it turns out the questions weren't gotcha enough.