Read a president a book and he’s mildly entertained. Teach him how to read and things get a little messy:
In his new book about Mr. Bush, “Rebel in Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush,” Fred Barnes recalls a visit to the White House last year by Michael Crichton, whose 2004 best-selling novel, “State of Fear,” suggests that global warming is an unproven theory and an overstated threat.
Mr. Barnes, who describes Mr. Bush as “a dissenter on the theory of global warming,” writes that the president “avidly read” the novel and met the author after Karl Rove, his chief political adviser, arranged it. He says Mr. Bush and his guest “talked for an hour and were in near-total agreement.”
“The visit was not made public for fear of outraging environmentalists all the more,” he adds.
And so it has, fueling a common perception among environmental groups that Mr. Crichton’s dismissal of global warming, coupled with his popularity as a novelist and screenwriter, has undermined efforts to pass legislation intended to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas that leading scientists say causes climate change.
Mr. Crichton, whose views in “State of Fear” helped him win the American Association of Petroleum Geologists’ annual journalism award this month, has been a leading doubter of global warming and last September appeared before a Senate committee to argue that the supporting science was mixed, at best.
In a way we should have expected something like this because we never really thought that Bush was actualy reading the heavy wonky books that Karl Rove made him carry with him when he went to Camp David. He’s more of a Left Behind kinda guy. But we do know that the President does like to read as evidenced by his sticking it out on September 11th to hear the finish of My Pet Goat while New York was burning. Crichton, having gone to medical school, does provide the prez with some cover on this and we can only hope that Crichton successfully argued with the president to not use any additional money earmarked for the war on terror trying to find Dinosuar Island because those raptors would “totally kick ass against the suiciders”.
Finally, the fact that George Bush is so easily impressed by fiction might explain his comments in the SOTU about the coming age of Manimals and why he has forbidden Donald Rumsfeld to read Seven Days in May.