Yes, we all know that Georgie is stupid: he can’t pronounce foreign names, he seems ignorant of the dynamics and history that govern the political world, and mangles the English language. We’ve known pretty much all of this for about 7 years now.
Is anyone still in the dark about GWB’s intelligence? There is no way he’s even close to as intelligent as Bill Clinton (or his wife), and there’s a lot to be said for the importance of an intelligent president of the free world, but constantly harping about the man’s intelligence and his supposed likeness to a chimpanzee is truly beating a dead horse. Go ahead and make a joke, provided it’s a clever one and makes us laugh, but most of the bitching about his intelligence is devoid of wit and completely misses the point about why he’s been such a shitty president.
What bugs me the most about the “Bush is an idiot” jokes is the presumption that Bush’s main failing is his lack of MENSA-qualifying intelligence. Are you kidding me? Bush has many more, much more dangerous flaws that we should have been concerned with when we were busy calling him a moron.
First, Bush is an ideologue. This is, by far, his most dangerous failing, and blind allegiance to ideology is frankly the reason why far-left and far-right candidates never manage to be decent political leaders. Whether motivated by religious, apocalyptic or peacenik ideals of utopia, ideologues are convinced that just a few sweeping changes to the fundamental ways our societies are run will result in unending bliss and the end to all trouble, conflict and unhappiness. Reason, statistics, and history are meaningless to these people. Most also have an appalling understanding of economy and spending money’s no object when Shangri-La awaits. And, true to form, Bush has given up any sense of fiscal responsibility and given us the most bankrupt national budget we’ve ever had.
Second, Bush suffers from the Ivory Tower Syndrome. Having lived in the lap of luxury his entire life, Bush has never been exposed to people unlike him, he’s never had to truly struggle for what he wanted, and he’s never really had to face the consequences of his own failures. He’s lived in a protective bubble, coddled by his family and in the rarefied social stratum he’s lived in his entire life, he’s never met people who were not so lucky as to be born in the right family. It’s understandable, under these sorts of circumstances, to formulate policy on a simplistic form of meritocracy, with the assumption that there’s an even playing field, everyone plays nice, and people should be unboundedly optimistic because success is all around them. But policy from this point of view is naive, and perpetuates the almost caste-like structure of our society. A fundamental underpinning to the American Dream (social mobility) is slowly being destroyed. A recent study has proven that even Britain, famous for its rigid class structure, is now more socially mobile than America.
Third, Bush is arrogant. You can suffer from the Ivory Tower Syndrome and still be humble enough to admit you haven’t figured everything out. The late Brooke Astor comes to mind, but I’m sure there are countless others. But with Bush comes the hubris that he can do no wrong. He never questions his own decisions, even those with respect to whom he hires. There are quite a few aphorisms about the folly of arrogance that come to mind”most are unfortunately true and we’ve seen most played out in the last year or two in Bush. Americans are considered arrogant to begin with. To have a president that exemplifies that character flaw and projects it obnoxiously on the world stage just adds insult to injury.
Fourth, Bush is lazy. Policy decisions are deeply complex, and often require extensive, arduous analysis of studies, and plenty of vibrant debate. To sidestep the tremendous amount of work that goes into formulate optimal policy is just lazy. And to delegate decisions and work to your cabinet, election strategist and lobbyists is the sign that you’ve allowed a bunch of people with compromised interests to do your work for you.
All of this is important to understand, even though Bush has certainly lost his luster even among conservatives, and now that he can’t be reelected. He’s still in office for another 16 months. There’s still a lot of damage he could do to our country’s long-term interests. And it doesn’t help to undermine this very scary fact by painting him as a bumbling moron like Homer Simpson.