George Dubya: Media Foil

I’d imagine that most of you have heard about George W. Bush’s latest run-in with the media. Apparently, he was being interviewed by a rather fiesty reporter, who asked him the names of the leaders of Chechnya, India, Pakistan, and Taiwan. Bush only got one right.

Is this important? Recently, it was revealed in the media that George W. got rather average scores on the SAT and had a C average GPA in college. Should this matter? Do presidents need to be intelligent? Do campaigners need to be informed? Will any of this get in the way of George W. being nominated?

And I wonder when I sing along with you, if everything could ever feel this real
If anything could ever be this good again.

–Foo Fighters

Someone in the NY TIMES pointed out, within that GWB story, that FDR received gentlemen’s C’s during his undergrad years at Harvard. And that Reagan…well, not to put too fine a point on it, Reagan had shit for brains.

So there’s two of the most influential presidents of the century, neither a shining beacon of the intellectual. Brainiacs like Wilson and Carter had less effect in turning the coutry the way they wanted it to go.


That’s what a staff is for.
That sounds a little trite. To expand on that, I don’t think an elected official or candidate should be expected to know everything that is going on in possible situations they may encounter. That is why there are foreign policy expertc, economists, etc that look at, dissect, parse, and relay info to the chief muckymuck.

As my own devil’s advocate, I would feel slightly more comfortable if Dubya knew those answers. Of course, we also don’t know how Gore might do on the same type of questions, but since Dubya was the sacrificial lamb you can bet Gore will do his homework just in case.

I will most likely vote for George, but he does need to get his act togther when it comes to foreign affairs.

Well, shut my mouth. It’s also illegal to put squirrels down your pants for the purposes of gambling.

I’m sure the other candidates would fare the same way if asked an unexpected question like this. Remembering the names of every world leader should not be a requirement for the job of president.

The reporter sounds like an asshole who is trying to make Bush look bad, because he doesn’t like him. Although Bush brings a lot of this on himself because he talks in slogans and refuses to give substantive anwsers to most reporters questions.

And as for Mr. Gore’s knowledge of world leaders, I submit this excerpt.

"As President-elect Clinton and vice president-elect Al Gore were touring Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home, Gore pointed to a group of small busts on a wall and asked: ‘Who are these people?’

“‘That’s George Washington, on the right,’ said their tour guide, Dan Jordan, executive director of Monticello. Gore flashed a sheepish look.” (The Associated Press, 1/17/93)

Apparently you don’t even need to know the past U.S. presidents.

Dopeler effect:
The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

I hope that this incident is somewhat helpful in leading to him not getting elected. With the Repubs in control of congress, the last thing this country needs is a repub president as well. Same goes vice-versa…dems in control of congress mean that we need a repub president…

checks and balances folks…the only way that we can tolerate them…

Thanks for putting that quote in UncleBeer, totally forgot about that comical Gore escapade.

It’s extremely unlikely that I’ll vote for Boy George, but the pop quiz was pretty out of line.

Dubya is supposed to come out with a major foriegn policy address sometime in the next couple of weeks. That’s the sort of thing a serious presidential contender ought to do. And that’s the sort of thing the press (and the rest of us) should judge him on, not whether he knows the name of the president of Chechnya.

Does anybody know the name of the reporter who asked Bush those questions?

It wasn’t Jim Gray, was it?

It was a guy named Andy Hiller on station WHDH-TV in Boston. A transcript follows:

Hiller: ``Can you name the president of Chechnya?’’

Bush: ``No, can you?’’

Hiller: ``Can you name the president of Taiwan?’’

Bush: ``Yeah, Lee.’’

Hiller: ``Can you name the general who is in charge of Pakistan?’’

Bush: ``Wait, wait, is this 50 questions?’’

Hiller: ``No, it’s four questions of four leaders in four hot spots.’’

Bush: ``The new Pakistani general, he’s just been elected – not elected, this guy took over office. It appears this guy is going to bring stability to the country and I think that’s good news for the sub-continent.’’

Hiller: ``Can you name him?’’

Bush: ``General. I can’t name the general. General.’’

Hiller: ``And the prime minister of India?’’

Bush: ``The new prime minister of India is – (pause) No.’’

Bush: ``Can you name the foreign minister of Mexico?’’

Hiller: ``No sir, but I would say to that, I’m not running for president.’’

Bush: ``What I’m suggesting to you is, if you can’t name the foreign minister of Mexico, therefore, you know, you’re not capable about what you do. But the truth of the matter is you are, whether you can or not.’’

Methinks it amounts to nothing.

friend fantastic user:

you wrote:

very true, my friend. for either party to be in control of the house, senate and white house would be a disaster.

it seems that our recent experience would indicate that success may rest in the opposition party having a slim majority in the house and senate. imho, it moves our government to the center, which brings prosperity to the middle class.

“don’t get strung out by the way that i look, don’t judge a book by it’s cover” (tim curry as dr. franknfurter in rhps)

Our most recent experience with regard to the late Fantastic User’s observation was in 1992. When Clinton took office the Democrats controlled the White House, the Senate and the House. And they couldn’t get anything done because once they had the whole ball of wax, all that party unity went right out the window.

Yeah, yeah, I know, he took office in 1993.

Beatle quoted Bush as saying:

You know, this bothers me a lot more than the whole bit about not knowing the names of these folks. He essentially said that a military coup – replacing a legitimately-elected democratic government – was “good news.”

Now that is scary.

I find it both frightening and disgusting that anyone, no matter which party, could run for the presidency of a superpower and be so insular and ignorant they don’t even know the names of other world leaders. Knowing the leader of India is not a pop quiz in civics. Knowing the leader of Mexico is not trivial.

This smacks of smug, ugly American complacency of stereotype. “Hey, I don’t gotta know nuthin’ 'bout them little countries.” Sheesh, that level of ignorance is damned insulting, not to mention scary. Other nations must look on this sort of insularity and ignorance with contempt, I’d imagine.


AP 4-Feb-99…18:08 EST
Copyright 1999, The Associate Press. All Rights Reserved

by Sam Splinter
Associate Press Writer

Washington, D.C. (AP)----Addressing the National Association of Software Manufactures at their annual meeting in Washington today, Vice President Al Gore called for the elimination of the current 911 emergency system and replacing it with a centralized internet emergency site.

“The High-Tech computer age is here and we will not be left behind” Mr. Gore then explained how the new system would operate:

—When a crisis arises, simply turn on your computer and after booting up, you would just click on the icon of your internet service provider and wait until connected via high speed modem. Once on line, just type in, and you will be asked to type in your 10 digit PIN (personal identification number), and for verification purposes enter your state, city, name, address, & social security number. After the computer cross checks your PIN number with your personal data, you will then have access to the diagnostic menu ---- Simply click on the icon that best identifies your emergency and the correct emergency personnel will be dispatched IMMEDIATELY.

Who knows if it’s real, it’s funny nonetheless.

Hey, Pete, is that a hijack?

Bush was quoted in today’s papers as being “put off by the intellectual arrogance” he encountered during his years at Yale and Harvard. “Just because somebody’s got an Ivy League title by their name doesn’t mean they’re smarter than anybody else.”

True enough, in his case certainly. But his viewpoint leads one into a number of interesting contemplations.

Such as, why did Dubya bother to put himself through the hoops of earning Yarvard degrees if he has no intellectual curiosity? COULDN’T be because he just wanted the increase in his personal marketability, could it? Or to make Pappy happy?

Is he now excusing his ignorance of world affairs by claiming that people who DO know something about foreign policy are intellectual snobs?

And, possibly most depressing of all, are we going to have a full year of political campaigning by a man whose appeal to the American Citizen will be “Harya…don’t be 'fraid of me…I’m STUPID, just like y’all.”

Sorry about the hijack…I thought it was too funny not to include.

This is a little bit off the thread, but I couldn’t resist giving links to a couple of great Dubya cartoons:

George W. Bush: Field of Dreams
Doug Considers 2000 Bid