Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mencken was not talking about Bush.

It's hard to believe but it is true that Mencken did not mean George W. Bush. H.L. Mencken said
As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

and many people believe this describes George W. Bush. (h/t to Zoey & Me) If you believe GW to be the everyman cowboy just off the Texas Ranch I guess you are closer to Mencken's opinion. Except that Bush (and not the Kennedys) comes closest to what could be considered an aristocracy in this country of just about any politician in the last 60 years. What Mencken was lamenting was the very American idea that anyone can grow up to be president. He called the middle class the 'booboisie'. Mencken was an elitist, and if one remembers that Bush was born in Newhaven Connecticut, educated at Andover, Yale and Harvard, and is distantly related to Queen Elizabeth, one can see our Bush is definately one of the elite.

Mencken would have been opposed to Bill Clinton. He would have approved the ascendency of both of the Bushes.


Dean Wormer said...

Are you sure?

That "moron" word leaps out at me every time I read that quote.

Clinton was anything but.

Bush exemplifies the term.

dguzman said...

Whatever Mencken meant, it's true that the American people seem incredibly anti-intellectual. Call me a snob, but I will always vote for someone who is brilliant and able to speak the language with grace (no matter how "wooden"--see Al Gore) over some moron C-student I could "have a beer with."

Anonymous said...

Hee Hee. I'm reminded of the verbal tell. Bush, with his phony Texas twang and his bowl-legged strut when he's on the ranch is belied by his words. (Kind of related to what DGuzman says about language.)

I've noticed that when ever Bush says the word "rather," he gives himself away as the blue-blooded country clubber he is. And not of the Texas variety either.

He pronounces it "Rahhhhhther." Sounds just like Thurston Howell the Third.

Mauigirl said...

Mencken would have agreed Bush is a moron even if his family background is elite.

DCup, it was even worse when Bush the Father tried to act like one of the people, like when he ate pork rinds...

Dr. Zaius said...

Hee hee! you said "booboisie!"

Anonymous said...

I thought it fit. Bush is a Moron. Thanks for the reminder though, Mencken himself was a preppie. I love the comment about Bush being like Thurston the third. Don't think I can get that one out of my head. LOL!

Jess Wundrun said...

zoey I agree that it definately fits. I mean, hell, I'm not arguing that Bush is a genius. Morans are upset that he's making them look bad, after all!

No, I just mean that Mencken, who wasn't exactly a blue-blood, was an elitist. The Dean is probably right and I am probably wrong about Clinton, it's hard to say since Mencken was so full of contradictions himself. The Hope Arkansas Clinton? No. The Rhodes Scholar Clinton? Yes. I think I can say without hesitation that he'd have hated Jimmy Carter, though. We do know that he despised FDR. But that was less for who he was than what he did.

I hope you're not offended that I linked to you to disagree. Cuz' I love you like my luggage, Ms. Me.