For the kind of articulate extrovert who tends to go into politics or the
media, it can be very difficult to believe that a stumble-tongued,
inarticulate man can be other than an idiot. As an articulate extrovert
myself, I’ve had to struggle with this. Like most of our media and
chattering classes, my instinct too was to write George W. Bush as an
idiot who had stumbled into the Presidency through no merit of his own.
Events have forced me to nearly the opposite conclusion. George W. Bush
is no idiot. In fact, he now appears to me to be an extremely cunning man
who makes repeated and effective use of his opponents’ inability to take
Over and over again we’ve seen the pattern. Bush says he’s gaing
to do something. Opponents rant and rave and scream about what an
idiot he is. Amidst all the name-calling, an effective opposition
fails to materialize. When the smoke clears, events unfold pretty
much according to the Bush script.
It’s pretty much been that way on every issue bigger than judicial
nominations. Now, mind you, in this essay I’m not going to express
or even imply a judgment about whether or should be that way.
What I’m trying to point out is that even the U.N. has pretty much
ended up dancing Bush’s tune. All of the Franco/German/Russian talk
of thwarting that mad cowboy has come to this in the end: U.S, troops
in control of Iraq, Saddam gone, and the U.N. formally committed by
resolution to support the U.S. reconstruction without either a timeline
or any U.N. authority over Iraq.
Once or twice could be luck. But Bush keeps doing this.
He is such an effective political operator that his opponents find
that their ability to block him has quietly vanished while they
weren’t looking. The pathological rage now endemic in Democratic
circles is fueled by impotence. They know they were suckered,
swindled, had somehow, but they can’t pin down why or how the
majority voters stopped listening. Bad enough to have Reagan pound
the crap out of them — they thought he was an idiot too, but at
least they could console themselves that he was a glib idiot.
Being shellacked by a Republican who sounds like a moron behind a
microphone is more than their blood pressure can take.
Well, Democrats, I’ve got news for you. Bush is using your rage to
make you into idiots. I think, early in his political
career, he somehow learned how to push this button reliably, and has
been sucker-punching his opponents ever since. Clever of him —
but then, as I belatedly realized when I was thinking this through. he
has to be brighter than he looks. The dude flew fighter
planes! Simpletons can’t do that; the Air Force screens pilots for
intelligence because it has to.
Want to stop Bush? Then, Mr. J. Random Democrat, call Dubya evil if
you want — but accept that, on his record, he is pretty damn
bright. Stop screaming, take his brains seriously, and outsmart him.
That is, if you can.