Apples to Peanuts
June 30, 2001
In "Clintonesque Balancing of Issues, Polls" [Wash. Post,
June 24], John Harris missed one important element when he
compared the Clinton and Bush administrations and presidential
There is, of course, a very serious difference between the
Clinton and Bush presidencies - the intellectual grasp and
profundity of the respective presidents. George W. Bush is
best described as:
incurious (as in: absence of intellectual interest
lacking in intellectual grasp
lacking in intellectual profundity
having a parochial mind
a tenacious bulldog when he sets his mind on something,
irrespective of the merits of his thinking
lacking any hint that he might consider the possibility
that he could learn something from anyone other than his handpicked
having a profound unawareness of what it is to live
life without wealthy, powerful, politically well-connected
parents to help bail him out of all life's difficulties.
None of those statements could be made about William Jefferson
Clinton. Nevertheless, if it makes Bush 'crazy' to be told
that his presidential style closely resembles Mr. Clinton's
presidential style, Harris will have succeeded, in my book.
There is, however, no similarity at all in the style of the
two men. Clinton was heavily, knowledgeably and intelligently
involved in every aspect of his presidency. In the end, he
made the decisions after all the staff opinions had been offered.
Bush, on the other hand, would not have a clue what most of
the issues are - at least not in any intellectual way - and
relies on Karen Hughes, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney to guide
him and tell him what he needs to know.
Or, what they think he wants to know, which is: "as little
as he can get by with knowing, so he can get back to his naps
and his workouts."
I would be shocked if Mr. Bush could ever give a long, off-the-cuff
speech about any policy matter - or ANY matter other than
sports - and do it without reference to cue cards. On the
other hand, Mr. Clinton could give glorious, relevant, thoughtful
and intelligent speeches to anyone, anywhere, on any topic.
No comparison is possible between the two men. It's apples
and peanuts (not even apples and oranges!)