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Citations of George W. Bush as Uncurious, Explained

Web pages linked here all describe George W. Bush as uncurious, even if they don't use that exact word.
Listed newest to oldest.

2007 | Apr–Dec 2006 | Jan–Mar 2006 | 2005
Oct–Dec 2004 | July–Sep 2004 | May–June 2004 | April 2004 | March 2004 | February 2004 | January 2004
Oct–Dec 2003 | Jul–Sep 2003 | Jan–Jun 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 and earlier

This page: Oct–Dec | Jul–Sep | Apr–Jun | Jan–Mar

October–December 2001

Liberties Be Damned (washingtonpost.com)
By Richard Cohen
Tuesday, November 27, 2001

The Bush administration has also announced that it will have the military conduct the secret trials of certain alleged terrorists. The penalty could be death -- please, Mr. President, stifle your yawn -- by a two-thirds vote of the tribunal. Even in a court-martial, it takes a unanimous jury to apply the death penalty. Bush has done away with that -- and with appeals of any kind. . . .

The new procedures would be less troubling if we had a president who had shown himself to be commendably suspicious of police power and who appreciated that civil liberties do not favor the guilty but protect the innocent. The record shows, however, that he is not the type, that he is tenaciously incurious and jaw-droppingly gullible in his approach to criminal justice matters. Unlike some Texas defense lawyers, our defender is not asleep. He's merely indifferent.

Re: Mr. T vs. the Confederacy!
Oldest known original-to-Usenet reference to George W. Bush as uncurious and explaining it
From: "Bruce Weiers" <BruceW07@aol.com>
Newsgroups: alt.war.civil.usa
Subject: Re: Mr. T vs. the Confederacy!
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 21:40:51 -0800

George W. Bush is a profoundly uncurious and uncontemplative man, and that
is very dangerous. As far as anyone can tell, he doesn't read books, let
alone write them. George W.'s wartime service was in the air national
guard, and he blew off the last few months of that. He'd never so much as
been to Europe, before he became President. The one moment of enlightened
self-realization in his life was the consequence of drinking too much, once
too often on his 40th birthday.

Darwin, Dolts and Baseball, by Warren Pease - Democratic Underground
November 13, 2001

Bush the Younger was an inflexible nitwit on September 10 and he remains one today. How anyone can emerge from both Harvard and Yale without any perceptible effect is astonishing, but the evidence is manifest. This intellectually lazy, incurious, verbally challenged incompetent ranks far below even the abysmal benchmark of contemporary American political standards.

This also appears slightly differently at:
Darwin, Dolts and Baseball: Painting the Corner in the Land of the Brain-Dead (© 2001)

the Usurper in Chief was an inflexible ninny on September 10 and he remains one today. How anyone can emerge from both Harvard and Yale without any perceptible effect is astonishing, but the evidence seems clear. This intellectually lazy, incurious, verbally challenged incompetent ranks far below even the abysmal standards of contemporary American politics.

New York Times: Correspondent; Building on Prosperity
October 20, 2001, Saturday
By Bill Keller ( Op-Ed ) 1438 words

SHANGHAI -- THE last time George W. Bush visited China, it was 1975 and he was just out of business school. His father was ambassador to Beijing. The son found the country unbearably drab and yearned to go back to Texas and seek his fortune. The few sentences he devoted to that youthful experience in his 1999 campaign biography have been mocked as evidence of his incurious nature and his knack for the obvious. . . . Mr. Bush took no notice of political or religious repression or the explosive question of Taiwan. He did not suggest that China might be tamed by American pressure.

Passing out credit, dispensing blame
San Francisco Chronicle
Jon Carroll
Thursday, October 18, 2001

But our vices are excesses of our virtues, and that's true of Bush and his administration. The president is a finder, not a seeker. He has found his faith. Of all the presidents we have had in my lifetime, he is the most incurious. He likes to be told answers; he does not find it necessary to formulate questions.

I think that has to do with his family, which encouraged received wisdom rather than intellectual adventure, and with his faith, which offers one-stop shopping for all moral questions. That's my problem with true believers: Their worlds tend to be hermetic.

Common Sense: October 2002 [sic: it should be October 2001.]
Common Sense
Volume 16, Number 1
October 2001
Mary Rose D'Angelo

This is the text of a speech given at the protest of the 2001 Notre Dame graduation ceremony, in which President George W. Bush was guest speaker and recipient of an honorary degree.

Many of you are no doubt wondering the same thing I am - why any institution of higher education would offer an invitation to Incurious George, the alleged president of these United States. . . .

As far as I can see, Incurious George’s policies are largely dictated by what he doesn’t want to know.

This speech uses "Incurious George" fifteen times. Click the above link and read it!

July–September 2001

salon :: :: news :: feature :: Uncurious George, By Arianna Huffington
August 23, 2001
Uncurious George
There's a lot to be learned from the president's encounters with elementary school students.

The only book President Bush reads to children is "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." What can we learn from this?

Gather 'round, little ones, it's story time. Today's is a scary one. It's about a president utterly lacking in imagination. It's called "The Very Uncurious President."

This article also appears on Arianna Huffington's own website:

August 23, 2001 - The Very Uncurious President

Bush patronizes and insults us
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Tuesday, August 21, 2001
Marianne Means is Washington, D.C., columnist with Hearst Newspapers.
Also appeared in the Tulsa World August 22 as "The Bush Vision" and the Houston Chronicle August 18 as "Bush lecture is breathtaking hypocrisy."

WASHINGTON -- President Bush launched his new crusade to promote morality and manners last week with a lecture about the importance of respecting others and teaching children "traditional values."

His advisers think this theme will appeal generally to moderate voters and particularly to suburban women, who thus far have been resisting his charms. They also hope it will help overcome the public suspicion that Bush is too intellectually incurious to understand the problems of ordinary families.

Rushford Report | Archives: 08-2001
Mr. Tung Comes to Washington
August, 2001: Cover Story
By Greg Rushford
Published in The Rushford Report

Only a few hours before the Tung-Bush meeting, Tung's subordinates in Hong Kong had been busy kicking through the Legislative Council a Chief Executive Election Bill that explicitly gives Beijing the power to fire any chief executive at will. The measure was furiously objected to by lawmakers who advocate democracy. But George W. Bush was uncurious.

Did anybody explain the importance of this to the uncurious George W? Was his meeting with Tung another sign that the new president is still at the low end of the foreign-policy learning curve? Didn't anyone tell Bush how important it is to impress upon Tung that when it comes to freedoms, Hong Kong should be influencing China and not the other way around?

Re: Bush supremely confident of ... abilities (?)
From: "Hoyer" <hoyertaCANNEDPORKPRODUCT@home.com>
Newsgroups: alt.current-events.clinton.whitewater,alt.politics,alt.politics.bush
Subject: Re: Bush supremely confident of ... abilities (?)
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2001 08:22:47 GMT

It is too late for that ol' dog. He seems neither  in the habit of reading
much, nor, at times (practically always), ever to have been in the habit.
It's all he can do to keep his staff from bothering him with more than a
page's worth of details. He's the president who stopped inaugural poetry;
it's poetic irony that he's earned  the dunderhead label from so many.

Bushrub epitomizes the findings of recent research by Dunning of Cornell
that the "incompetent are often supremely confident of their abilities. They
are blissfully ignorant, because the skills required for competent
assessment are also the ones they are missing."

To the degree that reasonably wide surveys of literature reward the reader
with insight into our shared culture, Smirk is an interloper who prefers
. I think he so often appears  ill-at-ease because he lacks the
perspective that comes with fairly trained intellect. He is the perfect
example of the waste of a great education.

The question is asked: are our president learning? Well, it's too late for
that, however ill-prepared he has made himself to learn. Now, he's too busy,
incurious George! It's a bitch to cure a lack of curiosity, and he's not
much interested, anyway...

American Prospect Online
When Losers Win
By Mark Schmitt
Issue Date: 07.02.01
Book Review (two books)
Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the american Consensus, Rick Perlstein. Hill and Wang, 671 pages, $30.00.
Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right, by Lisa McGirr. Princeton University Press, 395 pages, $31.95.
This excerpt is apropos of the first book.

In Perlstein's account, he [Barry Goldwater] comes across more like George W. Bush, relatively uncurious and governed by a few unquestioned conservative beliefs, principally that government never did a damn thing for him or his constituents. (The fact that they lived in an air-conditioned desert must have appeared just a happy accident or a tribute to their hardworking western spirit.)

April–June 2001

Medill School of Journalism
Inside Medill News
May 22, 2001
Alter: Be Conservative About Executions

Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter, co-author of the [Newsweek] series [on DNA testing and the death penalty], appeared yesterday in Fisk Auditorium as part of the Crain Lecture Series, and he accepted Medill's 2001 John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Service Magazine Journalism on behalf of himself and reporting partner Mark Miller. . . .

As governor of a state where 256 people have been executed since 1976, the most in the nation, Bush cut death-penalty case briefings from an hour long to a half-hour, and basically only asked two yes or no questions: Did they have access to the courts?, and, Are they guilty?

"He thinks that's all he has to do," Alter said. "I call him 'In-curious George.' He's not a stupid person, he's just not very intellectually curious."

Smirk's top 10 Cold War Retreads
Oldest known Usenet reference to George W. Bush as Incurious George. Some explanation provided, too!
From: "Gandalf Grey" <gandalfgrey@infectedmail.com>
Newsgroups: alt.current-events.clinton.whitewater,alt.impeach.bush,alt.politics.bush,alt.thief.george.w.bush
Subject: Smirk's top 10 Cold War Retreads
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 11:05:56 -0700

I understand that I expect too much from Incurious George. After all, this
is a man who on Friday declared Timothy McVeigh -- whose trial we now know
was bungled by a prosecution more eager for judgment than for the truth --
guilty as charged because the Oklahoma City bomber confessed in a recent
book. "I take him at his word," the "president" said. Interesting that he
would take a convicted murderer of 168 people, many of them children, at his
word. I was surprised Bush didn't follow up with, "He's a good man. He's got
a good heart."

This piece was posted the same day to a website:

The Spleen: George W. Shrub's top 10 Cold War Relics
by adam joyce
brooklyn, ny

Guardian Unlimited | Guardian daily comment | Jonathan Freedland on Bush's record
Presidency of dunces
One hundred days in office and what does George Bush have to show for it? It is a sorry record for America
Special report: George Bush's America
Jonathan Freedland
Wednesday April 25, 2001
The Guardian
Doesn't use the words "Uncurious George" but gets the point across

Is this real life or is it cruel satire? The scene is the Oval Office. The time is early April 2001. The United States and China are locked in a stand-off with 24 American aircrew held captive, their spy plane downed. Behind the desk is President George W Bush. . . . "Do the members of the crew have Bibles? Why don't they have Bibles? Can we get them Bibles? Would they like Bibles?"

January–March 2001

Sacramento Bee
Judicial blinders
Bush closes the door to information on court nominees
Published on March 30, 2001, Page B6
This article was posted to UseNet newsgroups alt.society.liberalism, talk.politics.misc, alt.fan.rush-limbaugh under subject #Putsch moves to refute the "Aw, he ain't THAT stupid!

In choosing federal judges, presidents ordinarily want lots of information about prospective nominees. President Bush has now decided he wants less. He announced last week he would become the first president since Harry Truman not to seek prior review of judicial candidates' professional qualifications by the American Bar Association. Before his presidency is over, Bush's lack of curiosity is likely to be counted as a self-inflicted wound.

Dubya: Smart? Or Dumb? Timothy Noah
Tuesday, March 13, 2001

When Chatterbox uses the word "dumb," he is deliberately sidestepping the great sotto voce debate about Bush: Does he lack innate intelligence, or is he merely "incurious"? (Even Dionne concedes that Bush is "inattentive.") Chatterbox doesn't know, and he doesn't care. All that really matters is that Bush is functionally dumb in the sense that he is visibly ignorant about all sorts of things the president is supposed to know about.

CNN Transcript - Saturday Morning News: Bush Expected to Largely Continue Clinton's International Policies - January 20, 2001

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, a deep sense of nostalgia had been setting in over the last few weeks for the outgoing president, Bill Clinton. Leaders here in Europe, leaders amongst allies around the world have been extolling what they felt were his virtues as president. He had become the elder statesman amongst the Western alliance. He was admired for his intellectual curiosity, for his policy of building personal bridges to get business done. And he really was the most widely traveled U.S. president ever.

In contrast, there has been a certain nervousness, if you like, about the incoming president, George W. Bush. There's always nervousness whenever a U.S. administration changes, but this time it appears particularly pronounced because so much has been made of President George W. Bush's lack of experience, potential lack of interest in the rest of the world.

Irish Examiner - World News - 15, January, 2001
Single-minded Bush aims to do things his way
Mary Smithwick examines the likely course of Bush’s term in office

And what about fears that Mr Bush knows little of what goes on outside his own borders, and cares even less? Does he have any interest in continuing Mr Clinton’s work abroad?

CRITICS often describe him as incurious about the world, and he’s travelled little.

James Traub, "The Bush Years: W.'s World," New York Times Magazine, 14 January 2001

When an interviewer asked him about the Taliban during the campaign, Bush drew a blank. Only when given a hint -- repression of women in Afghanistan" -- did Bush say, "Oh. I thought you said some band. The Taliban in Afghanistan! Absolutely. Repressive."

Critics often describe Bush as "incurious" about the world, but that word hardly does justice to what feels almost like a principled provincialism. . . .

The core issue is not whether Bush is smart enough to grasp the nuances of a complex world -- he has smart advisers for that -- but whether he cares enough. His party is led by figures, from Trent Lott to Tom DeLay, who view much of the foreign world with outright suspicion. Brent Scowcroft, Bush the elder's national security adviser, describes a "mood change" in Congress since his time in office toward a view that is "much more conservative, much more hostile to multilateralism." Will Bush speak unambiguously to these figures, and to the public, about the virtues of active diplomacy? It doesn't seem very likely.

The above 5034-word article is also available for purchase from The New York Times from the archive page.

Citations, Explained, 2007
Citations, Explained, April–December 2006
Citations, Explained, January–March 2006
Citations, Explained, 2005
Citations, Explained, October–December 2004
Citations, Explained, July–September 2004
Citations, Explained, May–June 2004
Citations, Explained, April 2004
Citations, Explained, March 2004
Citations, Explained, February 2004
Citations, Explained, January 2004
Citations, Explained, October–December 2003
Citations, Explained, July–September 2003
Citations, Explained, January–June 2003
Citations, Explained, 2002
Citations, Explained, 2001
Citations, Explained, 2000 and earlier

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