Is Bush Smarter Than a Fourth-Grader?
Maybe he's failing on purpose, to help our young people make gains in civics and history.
Perhaps that was Thompson's indirect way of saying something nice about Bush. The next line in Churchill's eulogy fits Bush even better: "It fell to [him] in one of the supreme crises of the world to be contradicted by events, to be disappointed in his hopes, and to be deceived and cheated by a wicked man." More likely, Thompson was just making the noble point that compared with politicians today, Churchill was a class act.
In any case, it's a modern political first: Fred Thompson could go down in history as the only presidential candidate in either party to put in a good word for Neville Chamberlain.
Could this be the future of conservatism? Will Republican candidates try to prove they're not the next George W. Bush by leaving open the possibility of being the next Neville Chamberlain?
In 2000, Bush invented compassionate conservatism to distance himself from Newt Gingrich. The GOP's challenge is even greater in 2008, but Thompson may have found the answer: appeasement conservatism. With a Republican Party that loses elections as gracefully as Willkie and loses wars as pre-emptively as Chamberlain, America will forget the Bush presidency ever happened. ... 1:54 P.M. (link)
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Animal Farm: As if the GOP needed any more bad omens, this week the Philadelphia Zoo became the latest to join a national trend—giving up on elephants. Now the press can start looking for the next sign of the Republican apocalypse: gun owners turning in their pickup trucks and riding donkeys to work.
Perhaps because zoos represent the world the way man would have made it, they have long been a leading political indicator. In retrospect, China's seemingly innocent gift of pandas to the United States three decades ago should have been an obvious warning of its desire for global economic hegemony. Last week, we had to beg our Chinese bankers to let a panda cub that was born right here in America stay a couple more years at the National Zoo. When the T-bills come due for our national debt, they may not be so forgiving.
All of Europe seems to have swooned for Knut, an adorable polar bear cub in the Berlin Zoo who has become the German Al Gore: Reports of his death were premature, and he's a constant reminder of the urgency of climate change.
The pachyderm sent packing in Philadelphia is a female called Dulary, which sounds more like the name of a bad Clinton impersonator at right-wing conventions. The elephant's new home is a 2,700-acre sanctuary in Tennessee that for all we know may be Fred Thompson's campaign headquarters.
According to a Humane Society official, "The Elephant Sanctuary represents the future of enlightened captive elephant management"—a concept very much on the minds of every Republican presidential candidate. The Republican field could learn a great deal from the Tennessee program, especially its "non-invasive research on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder." If only the sanctuary had done some nontraumatic research on post-invasion stress disorder.
Bruce Reed, who was President Clinton's domestic policy adviser, is CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council and co-author with Rahm Emanuel of The Plan: Big Ideas for Change in America.E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his disclosure here.
Photographs of: Mitt Romney on Slate's home page by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images; Hillary Clinton on Slate's home page by Joe Raedle/Getty Images; man with a pizza box on Slate's home page by Digital Vision/Getty Images; George Bush on Slate's home page by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images; power station on Slate's home page by Digital Vision; the Eiffel Tower on Slate's home page by Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images; Karl Rove on Slate's home page by David McNew/Getty Images; Nancy Pelosi on Slate's home page by Chuck Kennedy/MCT; Bill Sali on the Slate home page courtesy http://sali.house.gov/.