Thursday, August 25, 2005

People with advantages are loath to believe that they just happen to be people with advantages. -- C. Wright Mills

When I came across this quote recently for some reason it made me think about George W. Bush, which led me to re-read the Salon article by Mary Jacoby (Sept. 16, 2004). Due to my pronounced dislike for the Boy King I am quoting some excerpts:

For 25 years, Yoshi Tsurumi, one of George W. Bush's professors at Harvard Business School, was content with his green-card status as a permanent legal resident of the United States. But Bush's ascension to the presidency in 2001 prompted the Japanese native to secure his American citizenship. The reason: to be able to speak out with the full authority of citizenship about why he believes Bush lacks the character and intellect to lead the world's oldest and most powerful democracy. His former Harvard Business School professor recalls George W. Bush not just as a terrible student but as spoiled, loutish and a pathological liar.

"I don't remember all the students in detail unless I'm prompted by something," Tsurumi said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "But I always remember two types of students. One is the very excellent student, the type as a professor you feel honored to be working with. Someone with strong social values, compassion and intellect -- the very rare person you never forget. And then you remember students like George Bush, those who are totally the opposite."

In 1973, as the oil and energy crisis raged, Tsurumi led a discussion on whether government should assist retirees and other people on fixed incomes with heating costs. Bush, he recalled, "made this ridiculous statement and when I asked him to explain, he said, 'The government doesn't have to help poor people -- because they are lazy.'

Students who challenged and embarrassed Bush in class would then become the subject of a whispering campaign by him, Tsurumi said. "In class, he couldn't challenge them. But after class, he sometimes came up to me in the hallway and started bad-mouthing those students who had challenged him. He would complain that someone was drinking too much. It was innuendo and lies. So that's how I knew, behind his smile and his smirk, that he was a very insecure, cunning and vengeful guy."

"I used to chat up a number of students when we were walking back to class," Tsurumi said. "Here was Bush, wearing a Texas Guard bomber jacket, and the draft was the No. 1 topic in those days. And I said, 'George, what did you do with the draft?' He said, 'Well, I got into the Texas Air National Guard.' And I said, 'Lucky you. I understand there is a long waiting list for it. How'd you get in?' When he told me, he didn't seem ashamed or embarrassed. He thought he was entitled to all kinds of privileges and special deals. He was not the only one trying to twist all their connections to avoid Vietnam. But then, he was fanatically for the war."


Blogger Jeff Crunk said...

Enjoyed reading your post. I'm a native Texan. The bumper sticker slogan that "somewhere in Texas a village has lost it's idiot" got it half right. It also took a pretty deranged electorate to reelect him and Cheney twice. I'm still appalled at the 2000 election where earth tones and sighs loomed large. Some of the scales fell from my eyes about the culture, of Texas and the U. S. It's a kabuki democracy. The rest have came down in the Obama years as I am coming, falteringly, to understand that American liberalism is also truly failed.

I got to this page, some years hence, via a search for another C. Wright Mills quote. Mills, I believe, once made the observation that “men without lively imagination are needed to execute policies without imagination devised by an elite without imagination.” By that standard of leadership Bush could make the cut. It's good enough for most of the 2012 Republican field as well.

Happy New Year and warm regards to any fellow traveler who reads this.

11:30 AM  

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