Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dubya: 'We Misoverestimated Him'

I do not plan to read George W. Bush's autobiography any time soon even though my blood pressure medication works quite well. Maybe at the beach next summer, or something.

But I have been reading reviews of Decision Points, and they have ranged from gentle tut-tutting to eviscerating, with Matthew Norman in The Independent taking the cake in the latter category.

An excerpt:

His sadness over Hurricane Katrina is not for the victims in New Orleans, as Mr West understood, but for the damage done to his reputation by that snap of him staring blankly and aloofly down on the catastrophe from the window of Air Force One. His paramount distress over Iraq is not over the loss of life, civilian and military, but how that banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished" on the aircraft carrier came to make him look naive and vainglorious. He reveals his shallowness and vapidity with these reflections in the most crystalline of clarity, and hasn’t a notion he is doing so.

It takes a certain minimal intelligence for the truly dim to have a notion of their own dimness, but this is denied him. Unlike Mr Tony Blair, who emerges from his well-calibrated if often chilling memoir as a man of colossal cleverness (though not intellect), W has the self-awareness of a bison. There seems even less to him than met the eye, and there was precious little of that. Astounding as it appears, we misoverestimated him.

Cartoon by Pat Oliphant/Universal Press Syndicate

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