As a devout bibliophile myself, I admittedly read this US News & World Report story about W's reading habits with some skepticism. Under Kenneth T. Walsh's byline, the story cites White House staffers' contention that the popular perception of Bush as generally "un-read" is mistaken. Said staffers allege that Bush and senior advisor Karl Rove have engaged in an "informal" reading contest this year and that Bush is currently leading with 60 tomes completed compared to Rove's 50.
Perceptions aside, unlike the president, I am not involved in constant management of the "Global War on Terror," overseeing the world's largest economy, constant travel to boost slipping policies and raise funds for various GOP causes, etc. I am retired, with all the free time in the world to pursue my reading interests, which I much prefer to television. Although I am not involved in any reading contest and therefore have no reason to count them, I doubt that the number of books I’ve read thus far this year would even match half W's total.
I cannot help but be reminded by this alleged "contest" between Bush and Rove of the "Book-a-thon" or "Read-a-thon" type
scams fundraisers routinely engaged in by various elementary schools as fundraisers. The little tykes, some of whom are very early-on in their reading careers, solicit donations from folks in proportion to the number of books that they will read by the end of the contest; marks people sign a pledge agreeing to pay the student a certain amount for every book he/she reads by the deadline. It’s not unusual to have the contestant appear a couple of weeks later to collect, sporting an impossible number of books on his/her list.
But then again, if Bush is truly spending this much time reading, perhaps it could go a long way toward explaining the condition of the country nowadays.
Naw! There’s no way I’m buying it.
The Carpetbagger Report has some additional thoughts.