Tags: Bush | Has | Practical | Smarts

Bush Has Practical Smarts

Monday, 06 November 2000 12:00 AM

Living on the west side of Manhattan, probably the left-most geographical jelly-bean in America, that notion is unanimously accepted and serves as an almost religious command to vote for Gore. A vote for Gore, in my neighborhood, is considered the only sane, moral, non-felonious choice.

And I'm going to vote for Bush.

And I insist that makes me neither insane, immoral nor a felon.

They tell of a Jewish immigrant with no education who became a fabulously successful merchant. A vastly less affluent friend asked him his secret. "Easy," said the immigrant in a Yiddish accent you could cut with a rusty pastrami slicer, "I buy for a dollar. I sell for two dollars. And I'm happy with the 1 percent profit."

"Wait a minute," said the friend. "Buying for a dollar and selling for two dollars isn't 1 percent profit. It's 100 percent profit."

"YOU should have the education," shrugged the wealthy one.

Another version of that parable comes from a study that indicates those who graduated at the tippy-top of their class at West Point did not make the best military leaders. They did, however, make the best ASSISTANTS to the best military leaders.

In football it matters not how resplendently clean and well-fitting your uniform is, how confidently you run out onto the playing field prior to kickoff, how gleaming your helmet is in the autumn sunlight, and with what grace you hold that helmet over your heart as the band plays the national anthem ...

What matters is, can you move the ball.

The three smartest candidates for president in my lifetime are arguably Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, and Adlai Stevenson. Carter had so much trouble moving the ball he was let go after one term. Conversely, Harry Truman, who moved the ball so well he's being constantly upgraded by bipartisan historians, was a high school dropout.

President George Bush (senior) is correctly praised for tack-welding together a coalition including Arab nations to oppose and reverse Saddam Hussein's occupation of Kuwait. Bush had the luxury of taking his time doing that, lining up country after country during Desert Shield until he felt ready to proceed with the liberation: Desert Storm.

Harry Truman had to do it after a massive surprise attack by North Korea on South Korea while the bullets were flying and the Communist tanks were rolling.

Adlai Stevenson, not just smart but a certified intellectual, was the Democratic nominee against the war-winning but far-from-brilliant Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956. President John F. Kennedy later appointed Stevenson America's U.N. ambassador. Despite his brilliance, when Stevenson rose at the U.N. in 1961 to deny any American involvement in the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba to try to overthrow Fidel Castro, HE DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH PLAIN-SMARTS TO REALIZE HE WAS LYING!

Adlai Stevenson's admirers, including this writer, will always believe that the subsequent dawning of that realization caused his precipitous heart attack and death on a London street shortly thereafter.

President Ronald Reagan's intellectual attainment was excused by most and hailed by none. Yet he's the president in whose desktop datebook is recorded the collapse of the Soviet Union.

My New York neighbors would look down on me as a hopeless Neanderthal with no appreciation of the importance of intelligence. I, simultaneously, look down on them as naive romantics with too much appreciation of the importance of intelligence – and not enough appreciation of that metaphysical, intangible leadership quality that unites, motivates, energizes and gets balls moving.

Some successful people of low intellect will keep on plowing ahead, "happy with the 1 percent interest." And brilliant people educated beyond their intelligence will continue to start out weak and gradually taper off.

President Truman, by the way, employed a much saltier style of speech way back in the mid-1950s than any presidential contender does today. Truman would have dismissed Gov. George W. Bush as an oversanitized wimp because of his wholesomeness, even if shown transcripts of how he "accidentally" described New York Times correspondent Adam Clymer to running mate Dick Cheney into an open microphone early in the campaign.

During Truman's administration there was a cocktail party at the White House for farmers from the Midwest. A friend of the first lady, Bess Truman, ran over to her and said: "Bess, I just heard the president ask a group of those farmers how much they pay for manure. Come on, Bess. He's the president. Can't you get him to say 'fertilizer.' "

"Don't make trouble," said the first lady. "It took me 35 years to get him up to 'manure.'"

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Living on the west side ofManhattan, probably the left-most geographical jelly-bean in America, that notion is unanimously accepted and serves as an almost religious command to vote for Gore.A vote for Gore, in my neighborhood, is considered the only sane, moral,...
Monday, 06 November 2000 12:00 AM
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