Today's Chicago Sun-Times features "It's time for Obama to prove his passion" by columnist Carol Marin. Amazingly, she finds an itsy bitsy problem with Barack Obama; he's just too darn cerebral. He needs to show voters what's truly in his heart, the things about which he's genuinely passionate. Marin manages to take a quick swipe at President Bush:
But Obama is a guy, wide smile and well-crafted message notwithstanding, who seems to give the electorate more of his head than of his heart. And though, lord knows, after George Bush we need a president with a head, the heart part is not incidental.
The notion that President Bush is dumb has always enjoyed widespread currency in the mainstream media. One example was reported by Peter Baker in the August 20, 2006 Washington Post:
For 10 minutes, the talk show host grilled his guests about whether "George Bush's mental weakness is damaging America's credibility at home and abroad." For 10 minutes, the caption across the bottom of the television screen read, "IS BUSH AN 'IDIOT'?"
But the host was no liberal media elitist. It was Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman turned MSNBC political pundit. And his answer to the captioned question was hardly "no." While other presidents have been called stupid, Scarborough said: "I think George Bush is in a league by himself. I don't think he has the intellectual depth as these other people."
Questions concerning Bush's intelligence emerged before his first election to the presidency. At the time, Bush had a surprising defender. As reported in the June 19, 2000 New York Times:
The Yale years can help address one of the fundamental questions often raised by critics of Mr. Bush: is he smart enough to be president?
The answer among those who knew him best is overwhelming and indignant -- absolutely. Many friends are angry that people even ask the question.
"This guy is very smart," said Lanny J. Davis, a former special counsel to President Clinton and a supporter of Al Gore, as well as a fraternity brother of Mr. Bush at Yale. "This notion of lightness is totally missing the point. There are many smart people, intellectually smart as well as street smart, who don't have the energy or motivation at times to act smart, but that doesn't mean they're not smart. There are times when George coasted through Yale courses or through exams or seemed overly facetious. But don't mistake that for not being intellectually acute.
"My memory of George -- and I've no reason to say nice things about him, because I hope he loses -- is that he was an astute observer of people and had an incredible talent for getting along with people," Mr. Davis said. "I tell my fellow Democrats not to underestimate him."
It's arguable as to if Democrats underestimated George Bush. It's incontestable that they did lose two national elections to him.
And that's why, even in the waning days of his administration, the mainstream media still attack him. They just can't figure out how he - like that other "amiable dunce" Ronald Reagan - won two presidential elections and spent eight full years in the White House. And, obviously, it remains a continuing source of irritation.