So, now we can all sleep better at night. We can forget about the six figure losses in our retirement and college education accounts. We can forget about the growing losses in our home equity. We can forget about the lost lives and years we spent in Iraq before the Surge. We can forget about the increasingly disintegrating stability in Afghanistan. We can forget about the runaway federal spending of the last eight years. We can forget about lost Congressional majorities, governorships, state houses, and the wreckage of the conservative movement.
It turns out President George W. Bush is smart. He reads a lot of books. He has averaged sixty-two books a year over the last three years. With everything going on in America and the world, that is what Karl “Permanent Republican Majority” Rove felt we had to know in a recent Wall Street Journal article. Wow.
Not, as one friend chided me, to be too Ann Coulter-ish, but since Rove thought it important enough to waste the valuable space he has each week in the Wall Street Journal to tell us about President Bush’s reading habits, a reaction is warranted. A few caveats are called for:
First, I voted for President Bush twice. Like most conservatives, I wouldn’t vote for an idiot. I am not sure who Rove’s audience was for his piece, but only far left diehards like Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd think the President, whose SAT score and grades bested Al Gore and John Kerry, is a dunce. Nothing Rove says will change their minds.
Next, I put my family’s future where my vote was and moved from Colorado to Washington, D.C. in March 2004 to work for President Bush as a political appointee in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Had he lost the 2004 election, I would have been out of job. As I have often said to my liberal friends who have never voted for a Republican and yet voice “anger” at how the Bush presidency turned out, those of us who actually voted for him and left our outside the Beltway lives to work for him are the ones who have a right to be angry. We are the ones left picking up the pieces of the conservative movement.
Lastly, I am an unrepentant bookphile. I collect books. Read them insatiably. Consider the really good ones friends. I think one of the most important things one can do is read good books. History is packed with lots of lessons we too often forget, so reading serves to remind us of those lessons.
Matt A. Mayer, President & CEO of Provisum Strategies LLC and Adjunct Professor at The Ohio State University, is the author of the book “Homeland Security and Federalism: Protecting America from Outside the Beltway” available in June 2009.