The other day, Joe Scarborough of MSNBC themed his TV program around the question “Is Bush an Idiot?” I didn’t see it, since I can’t stand that kind of show (except for the Colbert Report), but I think it is pretty obvious that Bush is not an idiot. An idiot is someone with an IQ of twenty or below according to old fashioned scales of intelligence (http://members.shaw.ca/delajara/IQBasics.html), and I reckon Bush would score better than that. He can tie his own shoes and wipe his own ass and read at a fifth grade level, so he is definitely not an idiot, technically speaking.
Is Bush an imbecile? Probably not, since imbeciles have an IQ of only up to 49. They’re smarter than idiots, but they’re not as smart as Bush. The best an imbecile can hope for in politics is state legislator or lieutenant governor. I don’t even reckon Bush is a moron (50-69 IQ). The smarter morons can be congressmen or political appointees below cabinet level. At worst Bush is a borderline mental deficient (70-80) like many Senators or cabinet members. However, he probably is of average intelligence, but the ravages of alcoholism and cocaine abuse and lord knows what else have taken their toll on the man. His judgment is impaired, and his moral compass is not magnetized. He is stupid but not abnormally so. He ain't much for book learnin' and fancy ponderin' and such like.
I saw a little of Bush’s interview with Brian Williams on Countdown last night. Bush said historians would be unable to judge his presidency for at least 30 or 40 years. I disagree. Historians can tell right now that Bush’s presidency has been an unmitigated disaster. They won’t know whether the damage is irreversible or whether his attempt to create a fascist police state will succeed, but they will know that Bush is the worst president ever (so far). The larger significance of Bush’s evil and incompetence won’t be known for some time to come, but it is important for intellectuals to speak out now in order to inform efforts to undo Bushian damage. The neocon “intelligentsia” is hard at work defending Bush, and they don’t seem willing to wait a generation to render their historical interpretations. His detractors need not do so either.
My hope is that Bush will live on as a slang word for the combination of evil and incompetence.