Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Is It Possible to Underestimate the Intelligence of George Bush?

Last weekend one of the talking heads on a popular TV talk show announced, “we underestimate Bush’s intelligence.” I heard this and got to wondering if this was an oxymoron or not. The word oxymoron is defined in the dictionary as contradiction. Is Bush’s actions and behavior a contradiction of this quality of intelligence that is being ascribed to him? I went back in my mind to some of the things said by, said of, and done by George Bush to see if we are really underestimating the man’s intelligence, or if we have a glaring oxymoron on our hands. You will be left to decide. First things first.

As the dust settles in an election less than a week ago, and the Democrats are reeling from a massive loss, Bush is being given accolades for being smart and being a good strategist for stumping in the crucial election races to put his people over the top, resulting in a resounding victory. From where I sit the Democrats lost to themselves. And I mean long before the wake for Senator Paul Wellstone. They lost when Gephardt groveled at Bush feet after endorsing the resolution authorizing him to attack Iraq, while at the same time his fellow Democrat and respected elder statesman Senator Robert Byrd was imploring his colleagues against supporting it. They lost when they refrained from attacking Bush on the sinking American economy and the loss of confidence in the U.S. stock market with the fall of Enron, WorldCom, etc., etc., and his involvement in such events. They lost when they stood idly by as one of their most vibrant and lucid colleagues, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of Georgia was attacked and robbed of her seat in the primaries. So, in all honesty, can we truly label this event a case of smarts or intelligence on Bush’s part? You decide.

A few weeks ago, while using public transportation I overheard two young men talking. Well, actually I did not overhear. They were talking so loud that I could not help hearing. One was African American and the other Hispanic. The Hispanic asks his buddy if he supports, and is pleased with how Bush is handling things. The African American response was, “Are you kidding? George Bush is nothing more than the village idiot. All he and his Republicans are good for is giving the military a big raise and ruining the economy.” I began wondering if people like this young man were consulted in national polls that report Bush’s overwhelming support among Americans. I think not. It is people like this youth and those in his community, black and young, who refrained from voting, ensuring the Democrats demise. In this case are we ascribing Bush’s intelligence to disillusioned voters?

To effect the war in Afghanistan, Bush and his Administration became cozy with Pakistan. This meant Bush, the leader of the world’s greatest democracy, embracing Pervez Musharaff, the leader of that country. The man came to power in a coup, and is a military dictator who has never allowed elections. Was this relationship a good thing? Ask India. The result of this coziness meant Musharaff asked for what he wanted and got it. Mainly money and military hardware. This no doubt alarmed New Delhi, the capital of the world’s largest democracy. The upshot was that India and Pakistan came to the point of a dangerous nuclear exchange. There was a lot of shuttle diplomacy with Rumsfeld, and various international officials rushing to the region to restore calm. Did the American strategist and leaders, including Bush, not realize that this crisis was bound to happen with such behavior towards Pakistan? Was this a display of intelligence?

Some time ago Bush announced that Iraq, Iran, and North Korea constituted the axis of evil. He further stated that these nations were “run by unelected leaders.” This created an uproar among friends and enemies abroad. South Korea was alarmed. It had made a lot of headway in dealing with its neighbor North Korea, and felt that Bush was bungling things. They demanded an explanation. North Korea retorted that Bush was a buffoon who knew nothing of the world. One retort from abroad was that Bush himself was unelected, but court appointed. I remember wondering about the wisdom of Bush accusation of unelected leaders, while he was like two peas in a pod with Pakistan’s Pervez Musharaff, an unelected military leader. Was this a display of intelligence on Bush’s part?

Right after September 11 Bush urged America to go about its business as usual and to “take trips” and “buy stocks.” Those were his words. I was puzzled by this strange advice. Shortly thereafter the American stock market tumbled as Enron, Arthur Anderson, WorldCom, Global Crossing etc., etc., disintegrated. Now George Bush has a masters degree in accounting. What am I to make of someone, a specialist in the field of finances, advising on the value of stock purchases, only to see the stock market evaporate within weeks of his advice. When asked about the market dive and Enron, Bush countered, “I too have been affected by the stock market plunge because my mother-in-law lost money.” What? What does this detrimental advice by Bush say about his intelligence?

Remember that prior to September 11, many leading analysts and critics here in America thought Bush was inept, underexposed, and an embarrassment to the presidency. They said so regularly. Abroad, the Europeans, including the British, couldn”t wait for him to cross the pond to attack him on issues ranging from trade to his penchant for the death penalty. They did not think much of his smarts and ability. Has Bush proven all of his detractors wrong, or is it an oxymoron to use the name George W. Bush and intelligence in the same sentence? You decide.

BEN ROBERTS is a newsletter editor and freelance writer. He can be contacted by email at: grandt730@aol.com

 

More articles by:
May 23, 2018
Nick Pemberton
Maduro’s Win: A Bright Spot in Dark Times
Ben Debney
A Faustian Bargain with the Climate Crisis
Deepak Tripathi
A Bloody Hot Summer in Gaza: Parallels With Sharpeville, Soweto and Jallianwala Bagh
Farhang Jahanpour
Pompeo’s Outrageous Speech on Iran
Josh White
Strange Recollections of Old Labour
CJ Hopkins
The Simulation of Democracy
Lawrence Davidson
In Our Age of State Crimes
Dave Lindorff
The Trump White House is a Chaotic Clown Car Filled with Bozos Who Think They’re Brilliant
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Domination of West Virginia
Ty Salandy
The British Royal Wedding, Empire and Colonialism
Laura Flanders
Life or Death to the FCC?
Gary Leupp
Dawn of an Era of Mutual Indignation?
Katalina Khoury
The Notion of Patriarchal White Supremacy Vs. Womanhood
Nicole Rosmarino
The Grassroots Environmental Activist of the Year: Christine Canaly
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
“Michael Inside:” The Prison System in Ireland 
May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail