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Durst on Bush's Reading Habits

Columnist and comedian Will Durst explores the irony of delivering a report to a president who doesn’t read. Of the Iraq Study Group’s 79 recommendations, Durst writes: “Unfortunately none of them involved the President and his entire Cabinet resigning, proving perhaps this study group should’ve studied more.”


Working For Change:

Right about now is when it could come in real handy to have a President who reads. A book learning wonk. A guy not allergic to the printed word. George W. Bush even admitted it himself. I think his exact quote was: “I don’t read.” And you know what, I believe him. Then this summer, something happened. I think it was part of that midterm campaign thing, when the President claimed his beach reading list included Camus’ “The Stranger” and what he referred to as “3 Shakespeares.” 3 Shakespeares? Sounds like a customer at Baskin- Robbins ordering up a triple scoop of smart. And very suspicious coming from a man famous for struggling through the same page of “My Pet Goat” for 10 minutes.

The whole reading deal is important here because he should have been tempted to give the Iraq Study Group Report a brief scan before repeating “The Study Group agrees with me.” Unh. No. They don’t. He said this during a joint press conference with Tony Blair that could have been a Tivo of any of his previous eighty gazillion press conferences with Tony Blair. Tony looks and sounds like a statesman, and George like an eighth grader trying to fake his way through a book report. Does the term “Cliffs Notes” have any meaning here?

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