That moron Bush is reading my book?

Hee-hee…I don’t know why but so many stories are striking my funny bone today. This one cracked me up.

According to the White House, one of three books Bush chose to read on his five-week vacation is “Salt: A World History” by Mark Kurlansky, who chronicled the rise and fall of what once was considered the world’s most strategic commodity.

The other two books he reportedly brought to Crawford are “Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar” by Edvard Radzinsky and “The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History” by John M. Barry.

What I think is funny is that at least two of these authors are Bush-haters who have very little positive to say about the man, even when he reads their books. That the president reads the works of people who go out of their way to sneer at him is interesting. It says that even if he does not agree with them, he is interested in their ideas and values their expertise.

Kurlansky said he was surprised to hear that Bush had taken his book to the ranch: “My first reaction was, ‘Oh, he reads books?’ ”

Barry, author of “The Great Influenza,” said that he too had been a Bush critic. But his views have not deterred the administration from seeking his advice on the potential for another pandemic like the 1918 outbreak that claimed millions of lives worldwide.

Although Barry was not aware that the president planned to read the book, he said he had been consulting off and on with senior administration officials since its release in February 2004. He had lunch with Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt two weeks ago.

In fairness, Kurlansky does admit:

“What I find fascinating, and it’s probably a positive thing about the White House, is they don’t seem to do any research about the writers when they pick the books.”

Think about that for a second. Basically what Kurlansky, the “liberal” is saying is that he is surprised and fascinated that the guy he hates is…umm…not prejudiced…as he himself apparently is. Sounds like projection to me, anyway. Like Kurlansky is admitting that he would research someone before he deigned to read their book.

I wonder if these authors would have it in them to be as open-minded as President Bush – to, for example, disagree with him here or there and still manage to give his ideas a fair hearing, as he does theirs. Somehow, I suspect not.

In which case, who is the liberal and who is not?

My liberal parents always taught me that a liberal was one who kept an open mind and saw the worth and value of someone, even if they disagreed with them – indeed, I have always believed that to be the definition of the classically liberal. Huh. Imagine. I must have been wrong! :-)

Ah, and one more snooty intellectual shot at the president, this time from:

Peter Osnos, whose PublicAffairs publishing house in New York released the U.S. version of “The Case for Democracy,” said that the books Bush brought with him to Crawford represented a sophisticated reading list, even for an intellectually curious chief executive.

“It’s a fair bet that George W. Bush is the only person in the entire United States who chose those three books to read on vacation,” Osnos said.

Got that? “Even for an intellectually curious chief executive…”

Which, in that backhanded way we are supposed to understand President Bush is not.

Even for an intellectually curious president, these books would be sophisticated reads, but Bush is an intellectually incurious moron who is, somehow, managing to read these books, but that doesn’t mean he’s intellectually curious or sophisticated or anything…because we spent a lot of time constructing that meme, and we’re not going to give it up, dammit.

Even if we in the press were not intellectually curious enough to even ask John Kerry, during his campaign for president, why he wouldn’t release his military records…

Funny, that’s all.

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