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The Tally Ho

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Found on Dog Fight '04 Blog

I meant to post this earlier, but I feel like I have been terribly busy and its just going to get worse. But while reading the blog DogFight04 I was sent to Salon article from 16 September 2004. The article is titled The Dunce and is written by Mary Jacoby. It is worth a free day pass if you don't have a subscription. Here are a few quotes:
"I don't remember all the students in detail unless I'm prompted by something," Tsurumi said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "But I always remember two types of students. One is the very excellent student, the type as a professor you feel honored to be working with. Someone with strong social values, compassion and intellect -- the very rare person you never forget. And then you remember students like George Bush, those who are totally the opposite." ...

...One of Tsurumi's standout students was Rep. Chris Cox, R-Calif., now the seventh-ranking member of the House Republican leadership. "I typed him as a conservative Republican with a conscience," Tsurumi said. "He never confused his own ideology with economics, and he didn't try to hide his ignorance of a subject in mumbo jumbo. He was what I call a principled conservative." (Though clearly a partisan one. On Wednesday, Cox called for a congressional investigation of the validity of documents that CBS News obtained for a story questioning Bush's attendance at Guard duty in Alabama.)

Bush, by contrast, "was totally the opposite of Chris Cox," Tsurumi said. "He showed pathological lying habits and was in denial when challenged on his prejudices and biases. He would even deny saying something he just said 30 seconds ago. He was famous for that. Students jumped on him; I challenged him." When asked to explain a particular comment, said Tsurumi, Bush would respond, "Oh, I never said that." A White House spokeswoman did not return a phone call seeking comment.

In 1973, as the oil and energy crisis raged, Tsurumi led a discussion on whether government should assist retirees and other people on fixed incomes with heating costs. Bush, he recalled, "made this ridiculous statement and when I asked him to explain, he said, 'The government doesn't have to help poor people -- because they are lazy.' I said, 'Well, could you explain that assumption?' Not only could he not explain it, he started backtracking on it, saying, 'No, I didn't say that.'" ...

...Bush once sneered at Tsurumi for showing the film "The Grapes of Wrath," based on John Steinbeck's novel of the Depression. "We were in a discussion of the New Deal, and he called Franklin Roosevelt's policies 'socialism.' He denounced labor unions, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Medicare, Social Security, you name it. He denounced the civil rights movement as socialism. To him, socialism and communism were the same thing. And when challenged to explain his prejudice, he could not defend his argument, either ideologically, polemically or academically."

People change and grow emotionally and intellectually, but this article infuriated my cousin - problably due to the fact that he works full time and basically attends a highly rated MBA program close to full time. Later on in the article the professor recalls asking Bush how he got into Harvard's MBA program - which he supposedly replied 'My dad has good friends.' But there were other things in the article, being in TANG and "fanatically for the war [Vietnam]." The article is all based in the perspective of retired Prof. Tsurumi, but it is still somewhat a glance at Mr. Bush in past. When I was reading it I though about Bush as the 'compassionate conservative.' Then reading past comments about SEC (Kenny Boy, Harkin Energy), Medicare (give away to drug companies), etc. Like I said, people change their opinions over the years, but... whatever

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