The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, February 12, 2004

Bush's brain

William Saletan has a piece in Slate (based on the Meet the Press interview with Tim Russert) in which the name of George Bush is coupled with those of Aristotle and Plato [1].

Personal ignorance precludes following him down that path [2]. But this graf has value apart from the high-flown discourse:
What are the consequences of such a Platonic presidency? The immediate risk is the replacement of Saddam with a more dangerous fundamentalist regime. Bush is certain this won't happen. "They're not going to develop that, because right here in the Oval Office, I sat down with Mr. Pachachi and Chalabi and al-Hakim, people from different parts of [Iraq] that have made the firm commitment that they want a constitution eventually written that recognizes minority rights and freedom of religion," Bush told Russert. "I said [to Mr. al-Hakim], 'You know, I'm a Methodist. What are my chances of success in your country and your vision?' And he said, 'It's going to be a free society where you can worship freely.' "

Suddenly, I'm reminded of Lyndon Johnson's 1965 Johns Hopkins speech when he talked about a TVA on the Mekong (previously mentioned here a long time ago): two Texan war presidents, at home together in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Still time to follow LBJ with the old
I shall not seek and I will not accept
announcement [3], George..

  1. I reckon that was to win a bet. Like, in one S&P-whipped teen TV series, out of nowhere, a prim girl character mentions the word butt-plug.

  2. If intent on plonking (in the Stephen Potter Oneupmanship sense), I would try to work in Bishop Berkeley's notion that any object we see is merely an idea in the mind of God. That's me tapped, philosophically.

  3. The Lyndon Johnson broadcast of March 31 1968:
    With America's sons in the fields far away, with America's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office--the Presidency of your country.

    Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.

    I don't think Bush would need to change a word...


What LBJ said at Johns Hopkins on April 7 1965 was
The United Nations is already actively engaged in development in this area...

For our part I will ask the Congress to join in a billion dollar American investment in this effort as soon as it is underway.

...The task is nothing less than to enrich the hopes and the existence of more than a hundred million people. And there is much to be done.

The vast Mekong River can provide food and water and power on a scale to dwarf even our own TVA.

The wonders of modern medicine can be spread through villages where thousands die every year from lack of care.

Schools can be established to train people in the skills that are needed to manage the process of development.

And these objectives, and more, are within the reach of a cooperative and determined effort...

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