Bush is no idiot
April 11, 2001 5:57 AM   Subscribe

Bush is no idiot - or so claims this opinion piece from The London Times. "What a pity that President Bush’s critics haven’t learnt to leave the playground, and its insults, behind." What Bush has done is "show that a conservative isn’t just a leftwinger with better table manners but an honest defender of superior principles."
posted by revbrian (28 comments total)
Just an attempt at showing that all overseas sentiment isn't the same as what has been posted to here in the past. You can start flaming me anytime now...
posted by revbrian at 5:58 AM on April 11, 2001

Well, gosh, golly. The Times? Bush might be bright etc but I can find out how great he is by reading papers much less conservative than the Times in Britain. If the "liberal" press can prasie Clinton and the Dems, then so too the conservative press can praise Bush and the GOP.
Try some of the other less conservative papers overseas to get a different view.
SWad to say, but one is finally going to have to judge a politician by his actions, positions, proposals and not by what this or that paper tells us about the person.
posted by Postroad at 6:04 AM on April 11, 2001

When I saw the post I was sure it was ironic. But it's not? People actually still think that way? "Table manners"? "Superior values"?

You’ve seen dumb, the Left argue, now here’s dumber....It’s Homer Simpson in the White House with Monty Burns at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Now, that I take offense to...Homer would be all "In your FACE, China." :-)
posted by jpoulos at 6:48 AM on April 11, 2001

President Bush just appeased China this morning, so the central premise of Gove's essay is shot. I thought this line was interesting:

The Bush presidency gives the West what it has sorely lacked for the past 11 years — intelligent, adult, conservative leadership.

Eleven years takes us back to the middle of the previous Bush administration. Did he stop being intelligent, adult and conservative halfway through the term?
posted by rcade at 6:51 AM on April 11, 2001

The Times of London is owned by Rupert Murdoch, an American citizen and Bush supporter.
posted by raysmj at 6:55 AM on April 11, 2001

Worth also noting that the Times is owned by a certain Rupert Murdoch whose immense media interests are better served under Bush than previously under Clinton.
Murdoch is well known over here for his eleventh-hour telephone calls to his editors 'advising' them on their papers' content.
posted by Markb at 6:56 AM on April 11, 2001

Couldn't have said it better myself raysmj :)
posted by Markb at 6:57 AM on April 11, 2001

rcade: 11 years? As the song says, "I Can't Let Maggie Go". Though even the most starry-eyed supporter would have found it hard to argue that Thatcher ever 'led' the West.

The table manners, jibe, meanwhile, suggests that Michael Gove (who IIRC is a Tory think-tank advisor) is keen to swap the insults of the playground for the insults of the golf club. Terrific.
posted by freakytrigger at 7:01 AM on April 11, 2001

Whether Bush is an idiot or not (and I'm pretending that's an open question), certainly the intellectual abilities of the leader of the free world constitute a topic of interest. Is there some sort of suggestion that we're not allowed to say anything that could be considered embarrassing to Dubya because that would demonstrate poor breeding on our parts?

The referenced column is mostly defending the Bush administration, and I don't think anyone would argue that he hasn't surrounded himself with smart, capable people. But if he's not very bright, it still seems a fair concern that his advisers are leading him rather than the other way around.
posted by anapestic at 8:07 AM on April 11, 2001

"The Times of London is owned by Rupert Murdoch, an American citizen and Bush supporter."

He's not a popular guy in Australia either having bought up entire sporting codes for his pay TV enterprises (ostensibly to help promote the growth of rugby, but he cut the rugby team in my home state because it just wasn’t profitable enough) and holding such an iron rule that the only two mainstream newspapers in my home state are owned by the Murdoch press. No disparate views here, nosirree. We get fed the Murdoch view. Originally and oft criticised for his "behind the scenes" editorial control, Murdoch engaged in price wars which effectively helped the only competitor, the tabloid but long running "The News." Having done this, he turned "The Advertiser" into a tabloid, so that the turning over of large broadsheet papers didn't interfere with the morning Valium and coffee.

We can only apologise and express regret for his presence overseas. We would say "sorry" y'know, but it's such an unfashionable word these days.

Do I think President Bush is smart? Probably not very, for what it's worth.

Do I think Rupert Murdoch thinks that President Bush is smart? No, I think he respects his power, and believes that he will benefit from his time in politics.

Do I think Rupert Murdoch is smart? "Wiley" is the word that comes to mind. Intelligence is hardly a prerequisite to the procurement of wealth, power, and prestige. I disagree with the inferred idea that one must be intelligenct to be principled. I've known some entirely principled people who wouldn't register highly on any known test of intelligence. "Superior" is surely a subjective call.
posted by lucien at 8:08 AM on April 11, 2001

The Times isn't the paper it used to be - it's slid down market. It's more the NY Post than the NY Times/Washington Post/Herald. The only candidate for that style of "impartial" coverage is the Financial Times, really (I like the Guardian, but it's certainly not neutral, while the Independent is full of articles aimed at the liberal upper-middle-class and doesn't really seem to have "weight").

(Sorry if this confuses more than it helps; I may have got the names of the American newspapers wrong, which isn't going to help... :-)
posted by andrew cooke at 8:22 AM on April 11, 2001

Dennis Potter named his cancer after dear old Rupert.

I find that an insult to mutated cell growth.

Bush? sorry may be the hardest word to say, but at least he's done the manly thing and spat it out.

hip hip hooray for china
posted by F*i*S*T at 8:23 AM on April 11, 2001

It's almost as if Michael Gove had just read this in the Onion:

posted by hmgovt at 8:36 AM on April 11, 2001

What takes courage, and intelligence, is to do as Thatcher, Reagan, Hague, and now Bush have done and show that a conservative isn't just a leftwinger with better table manners but an honest defender of superior principles


Just by inclusion of the word "Hague", he renders his argument ludicrous. Wee Willie has gone from compassionate conservative to right-wing maven as quick as his bandwagon could take him. From baseball caps at the Notting Hill Carnival to "Britain will become a foreign land", what principles in action. (Not even the Telegraph supports Hague right now.)

It's interesting, though, that Gove is playing the "Fear Red China" card in the Times, given Murdoch's repeated attempts to appease Beijing, in order to expand his Star TV satellite channel from Hong Kong to the mainland. (He took BBC World off the satellite because the PRC found its coverage "objectionable".) Perhaps, now that little James Murdoch has messed that deal up once and for all, it's safe to cry foul and look to make the most of Bush's tenure in the US.

As for the Thundererer, it's no longer a paper of record. A pity, too. At least the Telegraph is well-written conservatism.
posted by holgate at 8:36 AM on April 11, 2001

andrew: I think the Times has more in common these days with USA Today or a local US paper. But yeah, you're right about the FT being reassuringly independent. And there's always the Herald Trib, which has the best English-language newspaper site on the Web.
posted by holgate at 8:42 AM on April 11, 2001

Just because he has experienced advisors and spin-doctors doesn't mean he is smart.

I would suggest he is an idiot because he is threatening our future with his stance on global warming. Because he thinks Creationism should be taught along side of Evolution. Because international family planning clinics are not going to receive needed funds because they may discuss abortion.

The point is, his actions indicate a lack of rational thinking, therefore he is an idiot.
posted by quirked at 10:01 AM on April 11, 2001

Because international family planning clinics are not going to receive needed funds because they may discuss abortion.

And, of course, because US churches will receive funding, even though they, too, discuss abortion.
posted by jpoulos at 10:16 AM on April 11, 2001

I think he really demonstrated his superior principles when he went back on all those campaign promises.
posted by Doug at 10:48 AM on April 11, 2001

I'm sure that, no matter what (or how many) his faults, Bush is a sufficiently cunning political operator to use people's perceptions of him to his advantage. You can get away with a lot when people misunderstimate you.
posted by harmful at 11:41 AM on April 11, 2001

Having first-hand witnessed the Reagan-Bush 1.0 reign (and the constant attempts to throttle a subsequent government they couldn't control legitimately), I feel justified in saying that the basic principles of mainstream conservatism as it's practiced in the US are a) screw anybody I disagree with, b) get me rich, and c) dupes are a renewable resource.

Any claim to principles like honesty, engaged nonpartisanship (religious or political), or concern with the future of the country or the planet we share is amply disproved by a critical look at the record.

I'm not saying the mainstream "opposition" to the neo-pseudo-conservatives (giving them their full name, pace Hofstader) is much better, but they do seem capable of shame on occasion.
posted by retrofut at 12:07 PM on April 11, 2001

"show that a conservative isn’t just a leftwinger with better table manners but an honest defender of superior principles."

Sure. As long as those principles are greed, selfishness, greed, selfishness and more greed.
posted by terrapin at 1:47 PM on April 11, 2001

(I tried to post this around 10 am, but MeFi was all gummed up.)

President Bush just appeased China this morning

Interesting interpretation.

As for Murdoch, I'll say the same thing I said last night in another thread: Slamming an article - especially an opinion piece - because of where it was published is not a legitimate argument, especially on a site where people so quickly gobble up every word printed in newspapers such as the Guardian.
posted by aaron at 2:12 PM on April 11, 2001

You can get away with a lot when people misunderstimate you.

And we get to laugh at the hate-filled liberal apolplexy that results!
posted by aaron at 2:15 PM on April 11, 2001

I am surely glad that all of you folks are so sure that Bush is unintelligent. I especially enjoy the discussion of what is and is not rational thought by quirked. Yep, if everyone doesn't agree with your opinions, they are not using rational thought processes and are therefore idiots. Now that is critical thinking.
posted by CRS at 2:16 PM on April 11, 2001

Aaron: Murdoch's papers are comical, often seemingly self-aware regarding their cheesiness. Anything bearing the Murdoch stance is suspect to me. Good heavens, you know what to expect, and it's more often than not crappy or hilarious or both. The Weekly Standard is the only exception to the Murdoch rule, but he has the Podhoretz family helping out there, I suppose. But even there a pro-Bush statement would not be unexpected, would it? Hardly.

The Guardian, by contrast with most Murdoch properties, is the sort of newspaper I wish we had more of in the U.S. It's either daily, mostly straight journalism here, or alternative papers. The Guardian is somewhere in between, something all its own. Can you imagine a daily newspaper in the U.S. printing a compilation of its own corrections? Heavens, you can barely get the New York Times to admit it did much wrong, ever.
posted by raysmj at 3:08 PM on April 11, 2001

CRS: It isn't just because I disagree with his views. I disagree with many more of his views, but a few of them do actually have a rational basis. The ones I picked don't.

He doesn't think the science is there for Global Warming - a view shared by a very small minority of scientists. He claims he won't do anything to hurt our economy. This fails the rational thinking test because our economy will likely suffer much more greatly later just to save a few bucks now.

As for Creationism vs Evolution and the lack of funding of international family planning clinics. Based on religious views. Nope, not being rational there either.
posted by quirked at 6:34 PM on April 11, 2001

aaron: it's not the politicisation of the press that's an issue here, it's the notion of a proprietor dictating an editorial stance in order to further his personal agenda. Remember, Murdoch backs winning horses: the Sun has, believe it or not, endorsed New Labour since 1997, even though it spouts some of the tawdriest reactionary shite.
posted by holgate at 7:15 PM on April 11, 2001

Actually, Murdoch gave personal contributions (this does not count PAC contributions from NewCorp., or employee donations, or family donations, etc.) to both the Bush and Gore campaigns. It's called hedging your bets, a practice in which any sensible international conglomerate engages. He was of course he was more still more vocal for Bush, but you don't want whoever in in charge of the FCC to at least not hate you. Sucks, even if he were in the White House, Gore would still not have rid the world of the S-Club.
posted by raysmj at 8:27 PM on April 11, 2001

« Older This Mastercard parody   |   News picks from the Guardian. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments