Let me explain the terminology

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on February 11, 2009

New York Times columnist Nick Kristof was interviewed by The Daily Pennsylvanian and made the following observation about what it's like to live under the enlightened leadership of the great Obama.

DP: Are there any issues you would like to see Barack Obama's presidency focus on?

NK: It's a tremendous relief to have smart, intellectually curious people running the government again, but the challenges are going to be enormous.

"Smart, intellectually curious" = "People who agree with me politically."

This is perhaps the most dishonest criticism that was lodged against President Bush and his administration (and there was a lot of dishonest criticism) -- that Bush was a simpleton who liked to remain ignorant of the world around him.

Not so, according to Karl Rove.

Mr. Bush's 2006 reading list shows his literary tastes. The nonfiction ran from biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, Babe Ruth, King Leopold, William Jennings Bryan, Huey Long, LBJ and Genghis Khan to Andrew Roberts's "A History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900," James L. Swanson's "Manhunt," and Nathaniel Philbrick's "Mayflower." Besides eight Travis McGee novels by John D. MacDonald, Mr. Bush tackled Michael Crichton's "Next," Vince Flynn's "Executive Power," Stephen Hunter's "Point of Impact," and Albert Camus's "The Stranger," among others.

Fifty-eight of the books he read that year were nonfiction. Nearly half of his 2006 reading was history and biography, with another eight volumes on current events (mostly the Mideast) and six on sports.

To my surprise, the president demanded a rematch in 2007. Though the overall pace slowed, he once more came in second in our two-man race, reading 51 books to my 76. His list was particularly wide-ranging that year, from history ("The Great Upheaval" and "Khrushchev's Cold War"), biographical (Dean Acheson and Andrew Mellon), and current affairs (including "Rogue Regime" and "The Shia Revival"). He read one book meant for young adults, his daughter Jenna's excellent "Ana's Story."

A glutton for punishment, Mr. Bush insisted on another rematch in 2008. But it will be a three-peat for me: as of today, his total is 40 volumes to my 64. His reading this year included a heavy dose of history -- including David Halberstam's "The Coldest Winter," Rick Atkinson's "Day of Battle," Hugh Thomas's "Spanish Civil War," Stephen W. Sears's "Gettysburg" and David King's "Vienna 1814." There's also plenty of biography -- including U.S. Grant's "Personal Memoirs"; Jon Meacham's "American Lion"; James M. McPherson's "Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief" and Jacobo Timerman's "Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number."

I'd be marginally surprised if Kristof's own reading list was as extensive or diverse as former President Bush's. It's apparently a sign of intellectual enlightenment to spout nonsense -- and it's there that Kristof succeeds.

0 comments on “Let me explain the terminology”

  1. It is pretty obvious what is going on here. Those who supported Obama did not do so because of any qualifications he may have had to be President. Arguably, he had none. They supported him because they (the supporters) wanted to "make history". So now they feel the need to make him succeed, regardless of the outcome of his policies. So, it will be a tough 4 years. Don't expect anything close to objectivity about Obama. The media will prop him up in spite of the facts, because in reality they will be propping themselves up.

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