Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Laura, The Obtuse Librarian?

I have more than a passing interest in children's books.  I buy them for friends' children and, especially, for my grandchildren.  And so I took note one of my favorites showed up on The Daily Show Monday night.  I couldn't believe my eyes when John Stewart  featured a clip of Laura Bush reading Duck for President, to the kids at the White House Easter Egg Hunt. 

She obviously thinks that because there's one scene of Duck playing saxophone on his way to the White House, that this book mocks (only or primarily) Bill Clinton.  How obtuse! 

I have read this book to children many times.  Indeed, most of the story is a mockery of the kind of candidate that is George W. Bush. 

Duck gets bored.  And he doesn't like being told what to do.  So he runs for office.  When he ultimately won the governorship, he found out that governing was hard work.  Nor does he ever accomplish anything.  And then he ran for president.  That turns out to be so much work that he packs it in for the ranch-- I mean farm.  Sound familiar?

No one ever accused Bill Clinton of not having a work ethic.  And Bill didn't run for president when he had barely won a second term.  He had more than fulfilled his promise to serve as governor. He was focused on his job, even when Republicans tried to distract with impeachment.  When the GOP tried to obstruct him on domestic policy, Clinton set his sights on foreign policy.  It's called doing his job.

But George?  It's hard to tell if he ever really works.  His knowledge of the world would fit in a thimble.  He has no grasp of the consequences of his actions.  He doesn't make sense, even (and especially) when he is trying to set we the voters straight.  His exercise breaks are so long and his evening break so early one wonders if he is pulling a Reagan.  Regan was said to have rarely worked past five in the California governor's mansion.

Bush's pride in being ignorant; his empty, inane  rhetoric; his deer-in-headlights look when he refused to stop reading to kids on 9-11 all make one wonder. What is it with George and Laura and pre-K reading material?  And goats and ducks?

Yes, Bush really reads Camus!  Right!  The book is a mock of presidents like Bush who find out how unprepared and (to a duck) boring the hard work of president really is.  The whole series by Doreen Cronin (including Click, Calck Moo, Giggle Giggle Quack, and the rest) are a collection of progressive books for kids.  Moo even has a bit of pro-labor union "heresy."

So bring it on, Laura.  Keep reading this material to children, any who will listen.  Read the story that even includes a tsk-tsk about hanging chads. Sure, this is sympathetic to Ole George. Wink.