Monday, April 28, 2008

The Ex-Presidency of George W. Bush

What can we expect from George W. Bush as an ex-president?

Cuttin' brush, cashin' checks, sittin' in luxury boxes of major league baseball games, declaring Missions Accomplished? Will he continue to make that little grunt sound out of exasperation that others aren't attuned to his distorted oversimplifications? And will he continue to say "in other words" a lot? Can we, in short, expect his passionate engagement with the world of ideas and the English language to continue? Will he, perhaps, extend his self-comparisons with Winston Churchill by expanding and updating A History of the English-Speaking Peoples?

In all seriousness, I hope he finally becomes a reader. But by raising the possibility that he might someday exceed functional illiteracy, I've played right into the lowered-expectations game from which his political career has benefitted so mightily, in which anything he does that seems more thoughtful than drooling a booze-slobber mix onto his chest while filling an adult diaper is counted as a great success. And to be fair, for him, isn't it? Especially when it's without the direct, moment-to-moment, step-for-step guidance of Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Harriet Myers, Karen Hughes, or Alberto Gonzales?

Those are only tentative guesses. I say we can't find out soon enough. A curious world eagerly awaits his post-presidency.

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