Tom Lehrer, an American singer and satirist, liked to tell a joke about Spiro Agnew, Richard Nixon’s ill-fated vice president – “There was a tragic fire at the vice president’s mansion and the library was destroyed. Both books were burned. But the real tragedy was that he hadn’t finished colouring in one of them.”
Since President Bush is also widely derided as a dummy, one might expect similar gibes to be made about him. But they would be entirely unjust. The problem with the president is not that he reads too little – but that he reads too much. Last August “US News and World Report” reported that “the president is actually engaged in an informal contest with White House senior adviser Karl Rove to see who can read more books this year. The latest score card has Bush ahead 60-50.”
How can the president be getting through this many books and still governing the country? You might suspect that Mr Bush is only reading very short books – the Mr Men series perhaps.