President George W. Bush is sometimes a boastful anti-intellectual, but in the past year he has been touting his reading lists and engaging in who-can-read-more contests with Karl Rove, his chief political adviser. There is even a White House book club.
The most recent selection wasA History of the English-Speaking Peoples since 1900 by Andrew Roberts, the conservative British writer.Mr Bush invited Mr Roberts for a discussion over lunch at the White House earlier this month. The author was joined by Dick Cheney, the vice-president, Mr Rove and a variety of other neo-conservative intellectuals, officials and journalists. Mr Bush's embrace of Mr Roberts' book is hardly surprising, given how it glorifies his presidency. But it does suggest that all the reading he has been bragging about lately may not be opening his mind.