Response to an e-mailed copy of an article by someone named Cindy Osborne titled: Who's Smarter?, comparing the educational background of liberal movie stars with that of the Bush Administration


Dear Ray

Where do you find this stuff you send me? The author of this piece seems to think that the critics of the Bush administration are so unable to think for themselves that they look to left-wing movie stars for guidance. Knock off their movie stars and they won't know what to think. In my office, in the newspaper, on the internet, everywhere I look, Bush's critics are vastly better educated than his supporters. Believe it or not, we read books and periodicals and attend debates and develop our own opinions without help from actors or baseball players.

Let me speak for myself. I have completed a BFA and two masters programs. I’m Phi Kappa Phi. I've studied art, philosophy and languages at four different universities and have received several scholarships. I can get by in Spanish, French and Mandarin Chinese. I have read the entire news and editorial sections of the newspaper (including George Will and William Safire), every day for over 40 years. In my humble, personal opinion, George Bush is an idiot. He is one of the most ignorant, blotto, dangerous human beings alive on the planet today. His puppet masters, Rumsfeld and Cheney, are not stupid. They are evil, ruthless and morally dead. I didn't get that from Cher. Honest. I came up with it all by myself, after hundreds of hours of observation, reading and soul searching thought. The woman standing next to me at the protest last week, a mayoral candidate with a distinguished public service career, is smarter than I am, and she also thinks George Bush is an idiot. The Republican warhorse father of my colleague Brett Leavenworth (of the Fort Leavenworth Leavenworths) thinks George Bush is an idiot. Even if you factor in the Smothers Brothers, I feel I am in honorable company where George Bush's idiocy is concerned.

I'm surprised at the mediocre level of education our "leaders" seem to have - and I know Ms. Osborne is trying her very best to come up with every positive qualification she can find. Dismissing honorary degrees, medals, job titles, club memberships, door prizes, travel experiences and other such stuff people use to pad their resumes, their academic credentials are remarkably undistinguished, except for Condoleeza Rice who seems to collect framed certificates of her accomplishments. Rumsfeld is the guy who calls the shots today, with only four years of college followed by a sort of mustang political career. I have to say, most of the people I drink beer with have a better education than these guys. Not a philosopher or a historian or an educator or a sociologist in the bunch. Business and political science (oh yes, Powell's BA in geology!) exclusively. These flies go straight for the money and power, don't they?

A more complete biography of Bush can be found in Molly Ivins' book Shrub and Michael Moore's best seller Stupid White Men. Neither one, admittedly, is trying as hard as Ms. Osborne to make him look good. Making him look bad is considerably easier, given the unfair preponderance of facts at the disposal of his detractors. Read these poisonous tomes if you dare, and give me a critique based not on some bogus argumentum ad hominum discrediting the authors, but on a straightforward disputation of the (well-documented) facts and interpretations presented. Bush was a C student at Yale. His daddy kept him out of the real military. His business ventures were failures. His Texas political career must be read to be believed. He has the compassion and social conscience of a wood tick. He enthusiastically supports the death penalty. He can't pronounce "nuclear."

In two short years as president he has taken the country from a huge surplus to a frightening and worsening 400 billion dollar budget deficit, from pretty good international relations to the contempt and hatred of virtually the entire world (its people primarily, their leaders and those they will elect or otherwise install in the future), from a credible and generally positive diplomatic participation in world affairs to a baffling, heavy-handed bullying that gets us zero cooperation from enemies and allies alike, from a 200 year tradition of preserving constitutional protections to a sneak attack on the Bill of Rights, the abolition of privacy and legal protections, and establishment of a ruthless and monolithic police state, from the separation of powers, checks and balances and a two party system to a merging of the Executive and Judicial branches, the marginalization of Congress and governance by corporate cronyism, from public trust to blatant profiteering, from domestic security to terrorism on our own soil (not entirely Dubyuh's fault), from mild xenophobia and border paranoia to militarization, shutdown and paralysis, from public debate to state controlled media, from the hope of peace to an interminable war agenda, from some environmental awareness to complete abandonment of air, water, timber and wildlife protection, from prosperity and affordable gas to double-priced gas and gutted retirement savings and a stock market that's been going down like the Titantic since two months after he took office. That is the obvious stuff, not the really frightening stuff we only just suspect. What a guy! Another six years of this and we'll beg for death!

If you can believe that George W. Bush is "honest and God-fearing" you might want to call me about some genuine Rolex watches for under $20.00. If you ask me, your focus on movie stars is like Bush's focus on Iraq: misplaced. Great indignation, wrong target. The fact is that among the millions of people who hate George Bush you are bound to find a few dozen movie stars.

Gotta run. Stay in touch.