“Why did I sign on to this proposal if I don’t understand what it does?”

A question from GWB to one of his speechwriters. Amazing!

Excellent question, O Beloved Leader.  Perhaps the answer is, “Because you were a total doofus”?

A better question, to which I don’t know the answer:  Where were the grown-ups in the Republican Party when this doofus was elected, and re-elected, to an office for which he was intellectually and temperamentally unfit?

Footnote No, Matt Latimer’s account of what he saw and heard writng speeches for GWB doesn’t reflect much credit on Latimer’s morals, or for that matter on his brains.  But that’s no reason to disbelieve him, or to ignore the questions raised by the facts he recounts.  Like Wall Street, the Republicans had no capacity for noticing when an asset was absurdly over-valued and likely to turn toxic.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

9 thoughts on ““Why did I sign on to this proposal if I don’t understand what it does?””

  1. I'm glad you agree that most members of Congress are total doofuses. Because they do, after all, routinely vote on legislation they don't understand.

  2. It seems that a lot of former bush staffers are trying to reposition themselves as sane people who would never be accessories to criminal behavior. The time for that was before January 19, 2009.

  3. The excerpt is interesting, and sometimes fun, but Latimer comes across as really shallow and unimpressive (deriding Dubya's shoes? really?). Maybe elsewhere in the book you get the sense that there's more to him, but not here; and, of course, he's torpedoed his reputation for discretion, a requirement in working for politicians and campaigns. He'd better hope his book sells a lot of copies, because I can't imagine how anyone could ever employ him in his heretofore chosen profession.

  4. ^^ Way to not take a joke about the President's shoes Warren.

    He is trying his best to describe what he saw. He's a good writer, and the prose is light reading. His derision of Jimmy Carter is kind of delusional when contrasted with how he's making George W Bush appear to be the mediator of common sense in a circus. President Bush II built that circus. Bush's problems were nothing close to the problems Carter had to face when they each entered the office. Carter's problems were nothing close to the problems Bush had when they each left office.

  5. On the other hand, the problem that Bush was addressing with instruments he didn't really understand was caused by "smartest guys in the room" buying and selling instruments they didn't really understand.

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