Years after his presidency, the left still tries to convince us that President George W. Bush is stupid. After all, he’s from Texas and isn’t the best public speaker. On any mainstream media news show, his lack of intelligence is taken as an established fact.
But as it turns out, they couldn’t be more incorrect about Dubya. Keith Hennessey, an economics professor from Stanford Business School, who served in the Bush administration as an economic advisor, just shared the indisputable facts about George W. Bush’s brilliance! As it turns out, this Harvard MBA is no dummy.
During a class, Hennessey ended up having a discussion with students about just how smart Bush is. They wanted to know how involved he was in the day-to-day operations, which was a polite way of asking just how Bush – with his supposed lack of intelligence – could keep up with his smart advisors.
Hennessey, who considers Bush a friend, shot back at the students. He noted that he is smarter than anyone in this classroom. The students thought he was joking, but he was deadly serious.
Our friends at YoungCons provided us with what Professor Hennessey wrote about that discussion with misguided students:
I am not kidding. You are quite an intelligent group. Don’t take it personally, but President Bush is smarter than almost every one of you. Were he a student here today, he would consistently get “HP” (High Pass) grades without having to work hard, and he’d get an “H” (High, the top grade) in any class where he wanted to put in the effort.
For more than six years it was my job to help educate President Bush about complex economic policy issues and to get decisions from him on impossibly hard policy choices. In meetings and in the briefing materials we gave him in advance we covered issues in far more depth than I have been discussing with you this quarter because we needed to do so for him to make decisions.
President Bush is extremely smart by any traditional standard. He’s highly analytical and was incredibly quick to be able to discern the core question he needed to answer. It was occasionally a little embarrassing when he would jump ahead of one of his Cabinet secretaries in a policy discussion and the advisor would struggle to catch up. He would sometimes force us to accelerate through policy presentations because he so quickly grasped what we were presenting.
I use words like briefing and presentation to describe our policy meetings with him, but those are inaccurate. Every meeting was a dialogue, and you had to be ready at all times to be grilled by him and to defend both your analysis and your recommendation. That was scary.
We treat Presidential speeches as if they are written by speechwriters, then handed to the President for delivery. If I could show you one experience from my time working for President Bush, it would be an editing session in the Oval with him and his speechwriters. You think that me cold-calling you is nerve-wracking? Try defending a sentence you inserted into a draft speech, with President Bush pouncing on the slightest weakness in your argument or your word choice.
In addition to his analytical speed, what most impressed me were his memory and his substantive breadth. We would sometimes have to brief him on an issue that we had last discussed with him weeks or even months before. He would remember small facts and arguments from the prior briefing and get impatient with us when we were rehashing things we had told him long ago.
And while my job involved juggling a lot of balls, I only had to worry about economic issues. In addition to all of those, at any given point in time he was making enormous decisions on Iraq and Afghanistan, on hunting al Qaeda and keeping America safe. He was making choices not just on taxes and spending and trade and energy and climate and health care and agriculture and Social Security and Medicare, but also on education and immigration, on crime and justice issues, on environmental policy and social policy and politics. Being able to handle such substantive breadth and depth, on such huge decisions, in parallel, requires not just enormous strength of character but tremendous intellectual power. President Bush has both.
Bush was perhaps the smartest President on every major issue a President could handle – including war, taxes, energy, regulations, and healthcare.
Just because his Texas-personality was the butt of jokes from late night comedians for years, doesn’t mean their jokes are true. Bush is smarter than those comedians, too!
It is so refreshing to learn the TRUTH about Dubya! For all his faults, he was and is a real American patriot.
Do you miss having Bush in the White House? Please leave us a comment and tell us what you think.