The Ribald Reign of King George the Second

Reader's Challenge: Establish That Bush Isn't Stupid

The first serious retort in more than 13 months! A conservative reader attempts to prove that George W. Bush is not stupid - and how does he do?

While doing research for an article I stumbled upon your disgrace of a web page. It seems to me that you thrive on any possible way to discredit right wing politics. You've made a considerable effort to prove that George W. Bush is stupid. I read your challenge, and I have written this letter to prove to you just how wrong you are.

Before I prove you wrong though, I'd just like to say that the reason no one has taken the time to prove you wrong is that no self respecting Republican would take the time to sit and write more than a paragraph to deal with the likes of you. Me? I had some time to spare and I thought I'd do the job no one else had the patience to do. After all, the world needs garbage men.

I will respond to your propagandist fabrications point by point as that is how you've laid them out.

You say George W. Bush doesn't make unscripted press conferences, well, watch the news. First off, the presidential debates in the 1999 to 2000 campaign were far from scripted, as Bush could not have known ahead of time the questions he'd be asked in them. Furthermore, since the beginning of the war in Iraq Bush has spoken and answered questions at several unscripted and unscheduled press conferences.

You've gone on to attack Bush's grammatical skills. Ok, Bush has made grammatical mistakes while speaking at public engagements. That's part of politics. Any person forced to stand in the spotlight and speak in front of crowds on a daily basis is bound to make a gaffe or two every once in a while. Furthermore, with your claim that by occasionally switching tenses while speaking Bush has proven himself stupid, you've called over half of America stupid. Are we to assume that anyone whose speaking has not been refined to perfection is stupid? That would certainly make anyone speaking Ebonics stupid. It would also make anyone who ever made more than one speaking error in public stupid. The list of stupid people in this country would be one very long list. The idea that a politician should never make a grammatical error is absurd. All politicians make these sorts of mistakes. It is the attention paid them by a biased media and people like you that magnify George Bush's speaking mistakes so much.

You've made a direct reference to one of Bush's gaffes, where he said that the U.S. and Japan have been allies "for a century and a half," and that this means he doesn't know history. I'm beginning to think that you're stupid if you can't realize that he just misplaced his words while meaning to say that America and Japan had been allies for "a half century." This is just another speaking mistake that people like you devour for whatever sound byte recognition it can get you. The other instance you are referring to, when Bush could not name the dictator of Pakistan, was not explained in full context. During the Republican primary while Bush was giving an off the cuff press conference (the ones you claim he never gives), Bush was bombarded by a sort of pop quiz on foreign leaders by an aggressive reporter. While attempting to fend off an obvious attack, Bush apparently forgot the name of Pakistan's dictator. Since his election, Bush has had many dialogues with President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan and enlisted his services in the War on Terror both allowing U.S. Special Forces nearly free reign in Pakistan, and giving them the assistance of Pakistani security services.

George W. Bush is not a simple man. Bush is a graduate of Yale University. Yes, his academic performance at Yale was far from sterling, but it was good enough to earn him a BA from one of the most prominent universities in the country. That puts him one up on Carol Moseley-Braun, one of this years Democratic presidential hopefuls, who as we learned in a recent press conference, doesn't remember what her college major was. After graduating Yale Bush earned an MBA from Harvard. It should be said that right about the same time Bush studied at Harvard, Al Gore was earning straight C's at the same school. After Bush left Harvard, he trained to fly F-102 fighter planes (last I checked this wasn't a job for stupid people). Again it should be said that at this time Al Gore was flunking out of Divinity School and later dropping out of Law School. You have accused Bush of stupidity for engaging in alcoholism and drug abuse. Granted these are not the smartest things for a person to do, they do not signify stupidity, merely lapses in judgment. Today, Bush is drug and alcohol free and making up for his past mistakes. What strikes me the most about your attempted character assassination against Bush is that you've ignored the transgressions of many other liberal politicians. Anne Richards, a Democrat and the very popular former governor of Texas, spent her middle years as an alcoholic. That didn't seem to bother anyone when she ran (and lost) against Bush. By the way she too publicly called Bush stupid. I guess Anne Richards is stupid too. After all, only stupid people are alcoholics. And what about Marion Barry? The man who snorted coke while he was Washington D.C.'s mayor and who was then reelected. I don't see any Marion Berry is Stupid links on your site. Before you allow yourself to attack the character of Republicans for things like substance abuse I suggest you clean Liberal house. Try starting with the Kennedy's.

Next on your list is the fact that Bush doesn't know the particular doctrinal differences between Episcopalism and Methodism. So what. Neither do I, neither do you, and neither do most Americans. The presidency is not about knowing the differences between sects of Christianity. There is no connection to be drawn between Bush's knowledge of Methodism and his grasp of public policy. Come on.

Bush's belief in Supply Side economics hardly makes him stupid. Although most Keynesians would disagree with Bush on the theory that cutting taxes stimulates growth and in the long run increases revenues, they surely don't have a monopoly on economic wisdom. These economists you speak of not only disagree with Bush, but the many economists who support him. They probably also disagree with Ronald Reagan, who used Supply Side economics to win the Cold War, double federal income, and preside over some of the most prosperous times our country has ever experienced. In addition to this, your argument labels a majority of the House of Representatives and a near majority of the Senate stupid because they support President Bush's tax legislation.

To tap into the Enron scandals as a proof of George Bush's incompetence is a very weak argument. The truth is that, up until the scandals, Enron appeared to be a perfectly healthy and quite profitable corporation. No one knew about the fraud that ran rampant through the organization until it became public. Bush had probably had dealings with Thomas White in the past and seen nothing more than an on task, productive, and efficient allocator of resources who worked in the upper echelons of a successful corporation. No one could have known Enron's true level of deception without having had full access to its books. If trusting White makes Bush dumb, then it also makes every Enron shareholder, the Clinton Justice Department, and the American public dumb.

The scientific information you refer to as readily available is far from it. What you call a lack of understanding of global warming tens of thousands of scientists call science. The same thing goes for all the other cases you've cited. There is no scientific consensus on global warming, genetic engineering, stem cell research, or cloning. The things Bush says that make you believe he is going against conventional wisdom are probably parts of scientific hypotheses that you've never even heard of. Furthermore, regardless of whether or not you think missile defense is a good idea or if George Bush understands it, the results of missile defense speak for themselves. Again, before you attack Bush's intellect, look at your own side. Al Gore scored D's in science courses at Harvard. Do you think he would have had a full understanding of these sciences? In an age where most scientists can't agree on simple facts, it is intellectually unethical of you to attack George Bush's scientific knowledge.

This parade of charades that you claim proves President Bush's stupidity is no more than a stretch and distortion of the truth. Bush's policy in the Middle East, although probably ideologically out of line with your beliefs, is hardly a failure and by most Conservative standards quite successful. In fact, I'm not sure how you can call Bush's policies in the Middle East a failure. If you look at his goals they've pretty much all been achieved. Bush brought Democracy to Afghanistan. He's gone to war in Iraq. And he's succeeded in delegitimizing Yasser Arafat as a leader by proving him to be a terrorist and a tyrant, while at the same time working together with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel. If you ask most Republicans and a lot of Democrats, they'll tell you George W. Bush's Middle East Policy is far from a failure. Furthermore, according to government collected figures, the recession started several weeks after Bush took office. Nothing Bush did could have sent the economy into recession within a matter of weeks. It's called the Economic Cycle. Prosperity leads to recession, which leads to growth, and then prosperity, which leads to recession again. Nothing Bush did lead to the recession, and as far as I've been able to discern, nothing Clinton did contributed to the economic boom of the 90's. It's all just been a part of the Economic Cycle.

Since Bush became president, foreign policy has been far from a confused tangle. If you ask me it's actually a lot more clear-cut. Now we understand whom America's friends really are. Confrontation is not always the result of diplomatic failure. The war in Iraq is by no means a failure of diplomacy on Bush's part. It is simply a result of the exasperation of all peaceful initiatives on Bush's part and the refusal of the world to disarm Saddam Hussein as well as Saddam's own failure to disarm himself. The environment is in no better or worse a state then it was when Bush took office. Nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain and a failed attempt to tap our natural resources in Alaska can hardly be described as the destruction of environmental protection. Also, what you call the undermining of constitutional freedoms, most Americans call the War on Terror. Finally, your claim that Bush can't control the Senate is profoundly stupid. The results of the 2002 elections prove just the opposite.

George W. Bush's presidency has been far from chaotic. With an approval rating that usually averages in the high 60's, Bush is far from a failure. If you ask me, impeachment was a bit more chaotic than anything that has happened so far during George W. Bush's presidency. It's easy for you to call Bush stupid because you disagree with him. It is however, not right in the least. George W. Bush is a brilliant president with honorable, logical, and viable goals. He has bested fools like yourself time and again and will continue to do so as long as you continue to underestimate him.

Sincerely,

Daniel Nathan Rabinovitch

Mr. Rabinovitch,

What are we to make of your lengthy attempt to prove that George W. Bush is not stupid? Let us start by praising your effort. This is by far the most sizable response to our challenge. It's been well over one year since we issued our challenge, and with tens of thousands of visitors to Irregular Times every month in the meantime, yours is the first response that even attempts to deal with the troublesome record of the Bush Administration. We salute your obvious dedication to the conservative politics that you and George W. Bush share.

You see, although your retort is filled with ad hominem attacks (a widely discredited debating tactic in which insults directed toward the person making an argument are allowed to take the place of substantive criticisms of the argument itself), we recognize that if we sift these insults out of your effort that some arguments worthy of note remain. We at Irregular Times have decided to post your attempt to answer our challenge because we believe (unlike document-hiding, dissent-stifling Republican Party officials) that American civic life benefits from open discussion of the value of arguments.

We'll restrain ourselves from ad hominem attacks on your character, Mr. Rabinovitch, but we feel called to point out that you have already insulted yourself. In your second paragraph, you state: "..no self respecting Republican would take the time to sit and write more than a paragraph to deal with the likes of you." Of course, by this point in your retort you had already written more than a paragraph to deal with the likes of us, and you went on to write fourteen more paragraphs. Perhaps you have some kind of inner conflict about your Republican leanings, but that's your business. As for ourselves, we regard it as a virtue when a person is willing to spend some time discussing political issues, and we congratulate you on your possession of this virtue.

Your earliest paragraphs are not really repudiations of the idea that George W. Bush is stupid. Instead, you merely argue that although George W. Bush does many stupid things, that lots of other people do these same stupid things too. You suggest that George W. Bush's particular brand of stupidity is common, and in this estimation you may well be right. But the demands and responsibilities of the presidency are decidedly uncommon, making the demonstrated intelligence of George W. Bush much more relevant than the stupidities of Marion Berry, Anne Richards, Al Gore, Strom Thurmond, Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Genghis Khan, Charlemagne and Prince John that phony King of England, all of whom are peskily no longer in office.

You acknowledge that Bush is unable to master basic grammar when he appears in public, but apologize for it by saying that many people have this problem. By neglecting to mention the majority of politicians who do not share Bush's problems with coherent speech, you fail to honestly deal with the great distinction of linguistic ability between George W. Bush and his colleagues.

You explain the great volumes (yes, public examples of George W. Bush's verbal inadequacies actually do fill several books) of Bush's public gaffes as a manifestation of media bias against him. While we do not agree with your characterization of a media conspiracy against George W. Bush (and suggest that you read Eric Alterman's book What Liberal Media? for an interesting perspective on this issue), for the sake of generosity we will not argue against your general point of media bias. Instead, we will take issue with your claim that a media bias against George W. Bush explains why so many people find Bush to be particularly inarticulate.

In order to do so, we'll take a look at the coverage from FOX NEWS, a prominent slice of the media that I think even you would admit does not have a liberal bias. Now, we ourselves watch FOX NEWS, in order to understand the perspective of conservatives in their own language. We have never seen, however, even on FOX NEWS, any kind of consistent reporting on the linguistic incapability of any politician. Why is this so?

Certainly, FOX NEWS is not above insulting politicians. FOX NEWS anchors seem to insult Democrats whenever they can, but they have not been able to find any Democrat who has anything like the history of George W. Bush when it comes to repeated inarticulate speech. The reason for this is that most politicians become successful through their ability to use language intelligently in their efforts to persuade voters. George W. Bush truly is a special case when it comes to his problems with the elementary rules of the English language. Even the ideologues at FOX NEWS are unable to attribute this problem to Democratic politicians because there is no prominent Democratic politician who has a similar problem. Media bias does not explain why George W. Bush so frequently fails to speak coherently.

In your defense of George W. Bush's serious problems with substance abuse, you use the same tactic. You admit that the behavior was stupid, saying that his abuse of alcohol and illegal drugs was "not the smartest things for a person to do", but then you accuse others of being stupid as well. Again, the fact that other people have also done stupid things does not reduce the stupidity of George W. Bush for using illegal drugs. Anne Richards and Marion Berry, your favorite obscure Democrats, are peskily not sitting in the Oval Office, or any other public office for that matter. Meanwhile, George W. Bush's finger is on the nuclear trigger. This makes Bush's history of alcoholism, drug abuse and reckless behavior while intoxicated a tad more relevant.

Frankly, we're shocked that the Republican Party has condoned Bush's illegal drug use, as if it is no big deal. This is, after all, the same Republican Party that tried to remove a sitting President for the high crime of getting a blow job. We suppose it's the right of Republican Party operatives to argue that alcoholism, drunk driving, and drug abuse are acceptable behavior but that a blow job is an impeachable offense. We, however, will be clear: we believe that using illegal drugs, abusing alcohol and driving while intoxicated are stupid things to do.

The same tactic is used in your explanation of George W. Bush's failures in the educational system. You acknowledge that Bush was largely unsuccessful as an undergraduate student, but you attempt to distract from this failure by pointing out that other people have had similar failures. Once again, you are admitting an example of George W. Bush's stupidity, then excusing this stupidity by saying that other people are stupid too. Your heavy reliance on this technique undermines your attempt to prove that George W. Bush is not stupid. You can't admit that Bush has a history of demonstrations of stupidity, a history that continues to this day, and then argue in the same breath that Bush is, in fact, not stupid.

This argument defies the basic rules of logic. If you agree to the premise that George W. Bush has demonstrated stupidity, then you cannot use that premise in an argument to prove that George W. Bush is not stupid. Let's take a look at the form of logical argument that you're attempting to use:

Bush is X. X is a sign of stupidity. However, other people are also X. Therefore Bush is not stupid.

In this form, by admitting that Bush is X and that X is a sign of stupidity, you have actually proven our point, that Bush is stupid. Creating examples of other stupid people does not change this basic fact. In the course of human history, there have been many idiots. This challenge is not intended to address the stupidity of them all. Rather, it is intended, as you well know, to discuss the stupidity of George W. Bush, the one individual on the planet most capable of screwing the world up.

Once you have admitted that George W. Bush is stupid, then you must retreat (as you implicitly do) to the backup position that Bush's stupidity doesn't really matter. This sort of position doesn't inspire a lot of confidence, does it?

We could stop here, since through your use of ill-constructed arguments, you have actually proven our point. However, in the interest of showing respect to the effort you have put into your attempt to prove that George W. Bush is not an idiot, we will attend to your other arguments as well.

First, let's deal with a factual matter. We say that George W. Bush has not had any pre-scheduled, substantial, unscripted appearances before journalists in the entire time that he has occupied the White House. Bush made a small number of unscripted appearances before he became President, as the electoral process demands, and these were so disastrous in nature that Bush nearly lost the November vote (oh, that's right, he did lose the November vote) and his handlers quickly announced an end to the tradition of unscripted press conferences. This is a demonstrable historical fact.

You retort that during Bush's invasion of Iraq, Bush appeared in several unscheduled, unscripted press conferences. The truth is that while Donald Rumsfeld and Ari Fleischer, as well as several generals from the U.S. military, have made repeated unscripted, pre-scheduled appearances at press conferences since the start of the war, George W. Bush has made not one such appearance. Sure, he's read pre-recorded radio speeches that his writers have prepared for him. Why before the war, he even appeared at something that he called a "press-conference". The trouble with this so-called "press-conference" is that it was actually scripted. Bush appeared to be answering questions that were spontaneously offered by reporters, but these reporters had actually been chosen beforehand by the White House for the event, and Bush had been told what kind of questions they would be asking. If you watch a video of the event instead of reading the edited transcript made available by the White House, you'll hear reporters accusing Bush of scripting the event, and you'll see Bush refusing to answer their questions. That George W. Bush is willing to send Americans halfway around the world to kill and be killed, but is unwilling to accept unscripted questions from professional journalists about his reasons for going to war is, in our estimation, a sign of appalling cowardice.

You also claim that the campaign debates of the 2000 presidential election were unscripted. Clearly, you do not understand how these debates work. George W. Bush was coached for weeks to give previously prepared statements, written by his aides, in response to a series of questions about issues that his campaign could easily anticipate. This is the way that modern "debates" work, unfortunately. These events are heavily scripted and certainly prescheduled. The few moments in which Bush was asked an unanticipated question further betray his stupidity: he simply refused to answer the question at hand, and instead repeated verbatim an earlier memorized statement about something else. Bush's participation in such debates is an example of the problem that we're talking about when we say that George W. Bush has refused to make himself accessible and accountable to the people in the way that previous presidents have. Again, your claims just don't hold up.

In another statement you make that is simply incorrect, you claim that at the time when George W. Bush was unable to name the leader of the nation of Pakistan, he was at an "off the cuff press conference". This claim of yours is just plain wrong. In fact, Bush's mistake took place during a one-on-one interview before Bush was ever selected for the Presidency. In this interview, the reporter asked Bush permission to quiz him about his familiarity with the leaders of other nations. Bush then agreed, giving him permission to ask the questions. Of the three nations that Bush was asked about, Bush knew the leader only of one. The reporter gave George W. Bush the opportunity to decline a quiz about world leadership that Bush was clearly unprepared for. He didn't have to answer the questions, and if he had a modicum of self-awareness he must have known he couldn't answer the questions, but he chose to do so anyway. How stupid.

Just as stupid as Bush's decision to answer those questions was the decision of Gary Hart to challenge reporters to follow him around and investigate him to see if he was having an extramarital affair, when he knew full well that he was having such an affair. There's a difference in character between George W. Bush and Gary Hart, however. Gary Hart admitted that he had been stupid. Did George W. Bush make a similar admission? No, instead he accused the reporter of being unfair and setting him up. Now is it unfair for a reporter to ask a person who is campaigning to become the President of the United States to name the leader of a powerful Islamic dictatorship which is in possession of nuclear weapons? We don't think so, especially when the reporter asks permission to ask such a question first. Gary Hart did something stupid, but he had the good sense and humility to admit it afterwards. George W. Bush responded to a similar mistake with arrogance and defensive hostility. If Bush had studied history, he would have known that arrogance and hostility in the face of a mistake does not impress the American public. But of course George W. Bush does not study history. As he says himself, Bush prefers not to read complicated, thick stuff. How stupid.

Mr. Rabinovitch, you also belittle George W. Bush's ignorance of theology as something of no importance. We find it shocking that Bush credits religion with his salvation from dependence on mind-altering drugs, advocates "faith-based initiatives" for every problem he's not willing to devise solutions for himself, claims that God is on his side guiding him through decisions about whether to wage war among other policies, goes to church every week, yet Bush is incapable of describing the teachings of his own church! Bush says that he wants to make religion the foundation of American government, but he isn't even familiar with the tenets of his own religion! Such incredible ignorance in the face of weekly instructional sermons shows that Bush is either stupid or a charlatan. Well, that's not entirely true. He could be a stupid charlatan. We're hoping he's just stupid.

Your interpretation of supply side economics is certainly interesting. Yet again, you use the argument that because a lot of people make the same mistakes that he does, George W. Bush cannot be stupid. Do you really mean to argue that when stupidity takes place en masse it suddenly becomes intelligent?

A simple test of George W. Bush's understanding of supply side economics is to see whether it's done what he claimed it would. Back in 2001, when Bush was arguing for his first set of tax cuts for the rich (that's what supply side economics is, in plain English), he promised that his proposal was necessary as a short-term stimulus to get the economy going again. Well, he's had about two years, and the economy is still in awful shape, and it looks like things are getting even worse. Sure, Enron and other corporations like it got a huge tax break, but that money didn't make it to ordinary Americans, that's for sure. They've been laid off in the millions, hundreds of thousands every month. Is that what Bush said his tax cuts for the rich would do? No, he said that his policies would create jobs, fast. They haven't.

What Bush's tax cuts for corporations and the super-wealthy 1% economic elite have done is take the largest budget surplus in American history, built up over 8 years by President Clinton, and converted it into the largest budget deficit in American history. George W. Bush and his economic advisors say this isn't a problem. Well, when our nation's roads aren't being repaired, when our schools are being shut down, when our libraries are being closed, when our state Medicaid funds are drying up, when Social Security funds are raided to make up the difference in Bush's budget, and when benefits for veterans are being slashed because Bush can't find the money in his budget, most Americans think that these deficits are a big problem, in spite of what Bush and his Republican followers think.

I guess it depends on who you spend most of your time with. If you spend most of your time with corporate executives, like George W. Bush does, things look pretty good. They're getting super-big multi-million dollar deals even when they're fired for incompetence. If you spend most of your time with ordinary Americans, like the rest of us, things look really bad. Ask ordinary Americans whether they're better off than when Bill Clinton was in office, and they won't hesitate to tell you that the economy has gone straight to hell in a handbasket.

Of course, the stupidity of George W. Bush's economic policies are highlighted by Bush's claims during his bid for the presidency that Enron's business model should be an example for the rest of the economy, including the federal government. In fact, under Bush's watch, the federal budget uses the same kind of dishonest accounting that Enron became infamous for. Some say, as you do, Mr. Rabinovitch, that no one knew about Enron's dishonest and unsustainable practices. If you paid attention to the news in 2002, however, you'd know that there were professional financial auditors from firms outside of Enron and Andersen who were bringing Enron's shady dealings to light well before the company's downfall, even during the presidential election of 2000. Any investor or politician who had cared to do their homework would have known about Enron's problems. Of course, Enron's executives were the single largest source of campaign contributions to George W. Bush's campaign, so there was no incentive for Bush to reveal these audits, if he even bothered to investigate them. The most likely possibility is that Bush did not know about the prominent reports on Enron's unsustainable economic model, because he never bothered to research them - even though Enron was a powerful player in Bush's own native industry: oil and energy.

Honest analysts say the signs were all there. Being an energy company CEO and not checking up on the business practices of other companies in the market - that's stupid. Running for president and promoting the business practices of Enron as a model for the rest of the economy, without bothering to research what those business practices really are - that's even more stupid.

Mr. Rabinovitch, you claim that Thomas White, Bush's Secretary of the Army, was an "on-task, productive, and efficient allocator of resources" while he was a top executive at Enron. The truth is, all of his colleagues have described him as an inconsequential paper-shuffler who was appointed his position because of his political contacts in the Army. Actually, this is the defense that Secretary White himself uses: that he was not really involved in day-to-day decision making. If he was indeed "on task" as you claim, then that makes him a crook, because White's division of Enron was deeply involved in dishonest accounting practices. So, Thomas White was either an incompetent political appointee at Enron, or, he was up to his neck in dirty dealings. Well, to be honest, both of these things might be true. Under White's administration, the U.S. Army has continued to have one of the worst records of accounting in world history - even Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has estimated that 25 percent of the funds that go into the Army cannot be accounted for! All the records of the shenanigans going on under White's nose at Enron were available to be perused when Bush appointed him to his administration, but Bush just didn't bother to check up on him (this is the more charitable assumption, the only alternative being that Bush did check the facts on White and appointed him anyway). Because of Bush's disinterest in the details of management, a dishonest bumbler is now in charge of the U.S. Army. That's stupid.

Look, there's just no convincing some conservatives that there is indeed an overwhelming consensus in the scientific community about global warming, but there is. The huge majority of scientists with expertise in the area agree that global warming is taking place, and that human activity is responsible. Since we wrote our original article, even George W. Bush has had to reverse course and admit that this is the case. Given the fact that George W. Bush himself admitted that he was wrong, it's astounding to me that you're still operating as global warming denier. Last year was, again, one of the hottest years on record. There haven't been any cool years since before Bush's father was president. The globe is warmer. It's a fact measured by thermometers, not a scientific opinion.

So, even the Bush Administration admits that global warming exists, that it's a dangerous problem, and that human activity is to blame. Nonetheless, the Bush Administration refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, as almost every other nation on Earth has done. Bush said the protocol wouldn't work, but he hasn't offered any alternative solutions. He says that the problem needs to be studied for another generation or two. In the meantime, Bush has worked hard to weaken laws that regulate air pollution, which helps to cause global climate change. Acknowledging a problem of global proportions, then supporting legislation to make it worse? That's as stupid as you can get.

It may be true to say that Bush's foreign policy has succeeded, if they are to be evaluated according to the standards of extreme conservatives. The problem is that most Americans just aren't conservative in the way that George W. Bush is. They'll stand behind the office of the President during wartime, but Bush's foreign policies have divided the nation to a greater extent than has occurred since the Vietnam Era. You say that Bush's reign has been far from chaotic, but as I recall, during the entire time of the Clinton presidency, nothing ever happened to bring millions of Americans out into the streets to protest his policies. That's what's happened during Bush's term in office - on one day alone, over one million Americans marched in the street to protest Bush's foreign policy agenda. Bush dismissed this historic display of dissent as a "focus group." How stupid.

Internationally, the anger at Bush is even more massive. The world does not hate America, but they do hate Bush. France and the rest of Europe are friends to America. Heck, France has stood by our nation for 200 years. If it weren't for the French, we'd all still be under the Union Jack, Mr. Rabinovitch. We've learned which nations are willing to stand by Bush, and they're not many: Britain, Spain and Australia. Oh, we forgot the Micronesian island of... Palau. Palau's contribution? Moral support.

Is it stupid to categorize the rest of the world as enemies because they didn't support Bush's right to invade another nation without provocation? We think so. It's easy for conservatives to stop eating french fries, but are they going to boycott clothes made cheaply for them in China's sweatshops? China blocked the resolution too. The Bush Administration's diplomacy was such an abyssmal failure that Bush had to call for a removal of his resolution in the Security Council just days after he demanded that other nations show their cards. Because Bush couldn't control the nasty insults coming from the mouth of Donald Rumsfeld, he couldn't even get a simple majority of support in the Security Council for his resolution. That kind of lack of discipline is stupid.

Most of Bush's advisors seems to hate the idea that they need diplomacy at all, and so undermine the efforts of Secretary of State Colin Powell by referring to France and Germany as "Old Europe" at the very time that they are being lobbied for support in the United Nations. It's not the United Nations that has failed, it's Bush's ability to control his own Cabinet. Almost since the day that Bush came to occupy the White House, there has been a bitter feud between the Defense Department and the State Department, and Bush hasn't done anything to solve this feud. To have a Cabinet that cannot work together is not a sign of intelligence on the part of the President.

Your final attempt to prove that George W. Bush is not stupid is a refutation of our claim that Bush has proven unable to maintain control over the U.S. Senate, even when it is under the management of a Republican majority. You say that the 2002 election proves that Bush is well able to control the Senate. The Senate is not elected by George W. Bush, at least according to the Constitution, but let's ignore that detail for the moment. If we follow through and get up to date, Mr. Rabinovitch, we'll see that under the repeated neglect of Congressional outreach by the Bush Administration, George W. Bush's tax cut proposal has been decimated by rebelling Republican senators. Think about this for a minute: a Republican President is unable to convince a Republican Senate to approve a tax cut for the rich. This is what you cite as a sign of that President's intelligence? The fact that this massive insubordination by Republican senators is taking place even as Bush is enjoying a boost in popularity due to his latest war makes Bush's inability to keep his own political party under control even more glaring.

But, for the sake of argument, let's say that you're right, Mr. Rabinovich, when you suggest that George W. Bush has established strict control over Republicans in the U.S. Senate. If this is truly the case, then Bush himself must have orchestrated the statements of Republican Senator Trent Lott in praise of the racial segregation of blacks and whites into separate schools, neighborhoods and restaurants. If George W. Bush has such great control over Republican Senators, then he must have planned for Senator Rick Santorum to make extreme statements in opposition to the right of American adults to have sex in private without the government snooping in.

If George W. Bush really does have such control over Republican Senators, then he must be developing a political strategy that involves repositioning the GOP as the party that stands for a return to the Jim Crow laws of old and the criminalization of sexual activity, so that American police, instead of fighting violent crime, will be spending almost all the time making sure that black people stay in their part of town and that people of all kinds are having only the right kind of sex. Such a political strategy is hardly a sign of intelligence.

George W. Bush's approval ratings have indeed been high at times, but they've only been high when the nation is at war. The fact is, whenever the United States is not at war, Bush's approval ratings plummet quickly. The Bush Administration does not know how to keep its approval ratings up without waging war, and so it has become as dependent upon war much in the same way that a heroin junkie is dependent upon his next fix, in spite of all the harm it causes. Depending upon the psychology of war to maintain high approval ratings may seem saavy, but it isn't really smart in the long term. Anyone with a calculator can tell you that our economy simply cannot sustain the current level of militarism.

You're halfway right when you say that it's a mistake to underestimate Bush. What I mean by this is that it's a mistake to underestimate the Bush Administration. What's become clear over the last year since we originally made our challenge is that there are some very shrewd characters in the Bush Administration. George W. Bush himself may not be the most polished of doorknobs, but the people who are running the government for him are quite capable. Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove are by no means stupid, and they've managed to use Bush admirably, controlling his public appearances and keeping tight reins on power themselves.

The greatest lesson we've learned over the last year is that the question of whether George W. Bush himself is stupid is not nearly as important as the question of whether the people Bush has given power to are smart. The obvious answer is that they are indeed very smart, and very unscrupulous as well.

These people know how to keep us distracted. They understand how to make us hate people we've never even met. They know how to appeal to our fears and prejudices.

They want another four years of power. Are we stupid enough to give it to them?


Come on, you lovers of Bush, you exalters of George, you devotees of the Lucky Sperm Club, you can do better than this. Give us a viable, well-articulated argument to show us the error of our ways. Show us King George is really a smartie.

Can you do it, or is George W. Bush just plain plumb dumb after all?

Click Here to post your brilliant demonstration of Dubya's sagacious ways. Or, you can post nothing and slink off muttering...

True believers: flummoxed at the idea that good old George W. might not be a smart as a whip? Can we prove that George W. Bush is stupid?


Aisles of idiocies straight from the brain of Dick "Dr. Evil" Cheney can be found
at the official website of The Ribald Reign of King George the Second.

Cmon, kids! Let's sing along to "The Kennebunkport Hillbilly".

These aren't just absurd times, they're irregular times.