Leave Dubya Alone

If I don’t dislike George Bush as much as the next guy, I certainly dislike him enough to have stayed up all night on US election night, worrying about chads, and hoping for a Gore victory.

But what I don’t get is how come he gets so much flak for supposedly not being very bright? If it’s true, how exactly is it his fault? Is it okay, then, to attack the intellectually challenged simply because they are intellectually challenged (Madeleine Bunting notwithstanding)?

Or is the objection that he lacks self-knowledge; he should realise he isn’t very bright – if he isn’t – and, therefore, not have stood for the presidency? If so, let’s have a reality check here. Bloggers are hardly paragons of self-knowledge (“Ooohh, I’ve just been promoted to a shiny new university position”. Yeah, right, nobody cares.). And, anyway, since when does a lack of self-knowledge justify the kind of opprobrium levelled at Bush?

And what’s with this business of the fact that he messes up his sentences? Let me tell you something – I’ve interviewed some of the world’s top scientists and philosophers (though admittedly “top philosopher” is something of an oxymoron). Guess what? They make lots of linguistic errors, just like Dubya. Because that’s the way we speak. We start sentences, change our minds about what we want to say halfway through, alter tenses, don’t finish what we started to say, and generally talk in a way which makes little sense when transcribed onto paper. Hell, I even write in a way which makes little sense when transcribed onto paper. Does that mean we’re peculiarly daft? Nope. Does it mean we’re necessarily unable to run a country? Nope.

So, if you want to attack George Bush, attack him for being a religious maniac; or for his stem-cell nonsense; or for cutting the taxes of the rich; or for coming from Texas; but not for getting his words mixed up or for his lack of intelligence. They’re cheap shots.

(The Texas thing was a joke.)

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