I Promise No "Pet Goat" Jokes

Are you ready for this? I don't think you're ready for this. Put the coffee down.

A Humbled Presidency: Bush Tries a More Thoughtful Approach
Maybe it was the influence of his wife, Laura, a former librarian, or his mother, Barbara, a longtime promoter of literacy. Or perhaps he was just eager to dispel his image as an intellectual lightweight. But President Bush now wants it known that he is a man of letters.
A man of letters? Heh.... heh, heh. You mean, these?

In fact, Bush has entered a book-reading competition with Karl Rove, his political adviser. White House aides say the president has read 60 books so far this year (while the brainy Rove, to Bush's competitive delight, has racked up only 50).
HAHAHA! No, seriously, pull the other one.

Bush's critics aren't buying. A man who so regularly mangles the English language and seems to disdain complexity couldn't possibly be so cerebral, they argue. But portraying Bush as a voracious reader is part of an ongoing White House campaign to restore what a senior adviser calls "gravitas" to the Bush persona. He certainly needs something. Only about 34 percent of Americans approve of his job performance-and 58 percent say Bush "seems in over his head," according to Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg. If nothing changes, the president could be a major liability for Republicans in November's congressional elections.


Changing these perceptions won't be easy. "A president's image is pretty much set after a few years in office, and it will be very difficult [for Bush] to quickly reverse that image with the public," says political historian Julian Zelizer of Boston University. "It's a cynical age and a cynical country, and it's a savvy public." But the White House is giving it a try. Last week provided a glimpse of Bush's new "gravitas campaign"-and illustrated why his presidency has been humbled-if not in spirit, then in Bush's grudging acknowledgment of his current limitations.
Ain't gonna happen, folks. The "Bush Image" has been carefully crafted and spoonfed to the public by Rove (who couldn't possibly be letting Bush win their little "competition," by the way); they have been hammering it into the head of America for years that Bush isn't one o' them effete, intellectual, pansy readers. It's common knowledge that Bush doesn't bother reading at work; he has briefs read to him by staff members. He's stated time and again that he doesn't read newspapers. His anti-intellectualism and resistance to learning is all too obvious. The man can't be bothered. I find it quite amusing that this story all but explicitly states, "This is all bullshit and nothing but an image makeover that they're hoping you'll fall for." I also love how junior-high all of this is... he can only be coaxed into reading by making it into a competition. Does he get a new bike if he wins?

Here's a partial list that Bush is supposedly reading. "Hamlet" and "Macbeth?" Right. No, really, pull the other one.

Steve at The Carpetbagger Report does some number crunching, and confidently states that there is no way in hell that Bush could have possibly read all of those books in the time stated. "A" for effort, Steve, but I could have told you that and saved you a lot of work. High School students have to be more or less forced to read Shakespeare; don't tell me for a second that Bush, Mister Fart Joke himself, could manage to make his way through two Shakespeare plays. Add "Cliffs Notes" after those titles, and maybe I'll believe it.

Bush has spent his entire "presidency" displaying his contempt for the written word. Don't give me this "sudden change of heart" bullshit. Instead of trying to up his poll numbers with this transparent lie, perhaps he should start fixing the messes he's created that are causing his miserable popularity polls in the first place.


UPDATE: Steve has another take on the propaganda. It's Saddam all over again!

(Tip 'o the Energy Dome to Crooks & Liars. Oh-oh-oh-oh... little cross-post girl...)

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