Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Reading is overrated" and other Bush doctrines

Yes, everyone is talking about Vanity Fair's "Oral History of the Bush White House," but it's fourteen pages long and you have New Year's Eve plans and stuff... How can you possibly have time for reading it?

Well, luckily Fosco has free time and reads quickly. And he's willing to read it all for you! For the next several days, Fosco will post some of the choicest quotes from the piece so that you can feel the appropriate outrage without all of that time-consuming reading.

Hmmm. Come to think of it, that seems to have been part of the Bush strategy from the beginning, at least according to this quote from Richard Clarke, chief White House counterterrorism adviser:

We had a couple of meetings with the president, and there were detailed discussions and briefings on cyber-security and often terrorism, and on a classified program. With the cyber-security meeting, he seemed—I was disturbed because he seemed to be trying to impress us, the people who were briefing him. It was as though he wanted these experts, these White House staff guys who had been around for a long time before he got there—didn’t want them buying the rumor that he wasn’t too bright. He was trying—sort of overly trying—to show that he could ask good questions, and kind of yukking it up with Cheney.

The contrast with having briefed his father and Clinton and Gore was so marked. And to be told, frankly, early in the administration, by Condi Rice and [her deputy] Steve Hadley, you know, Don’t give the president a lot of long memos, he’s not a big reader—well, shit. I mean, the president of the United States is not a big reader?
Of course, this does seem to contradict Karl Rove's recent assertion that Bush read hundreds of books while in office. Although, somehow that information isn't so comforting either. Actually, it kind of makes me wonder whether Bush treated the whole presidency like a beach vacation: lots of pleasure reading and as little work as possible...

Next we'll be hearing that Bush required all national security briefings to be written from the first-person perspective of an undercover CIA agent named Dash Dangerwood. Look out, Dash! Here comes the seductive al-Qaeda operative Leela Abu-Dildo. Will Dash be able to resist her deadly charms?

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