Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Presidential reading

I find this passage, from a National Review column by Tevi Troy that's excerpted on today's WSJ op-ed page, not very persuasive:
If you look at President Obama's reading list over the years, it has a clear ideological tilt. He has read a host of books by such liberal authors as Thomas Friedman, but precious few books by conservative ones. Bush, on the other hand, often mixed liberal authors, including Kurlansky and even Camus, in with his Natan Sharansky ("The Case for Democracy") and Eliot Cohen ("Supreme Command").
If Bush's "liberal authors" were Camus -- who wrote philosophical novels, was to the right of many French intellectuals of his time and is long dead -- and Kurlansky, who writes microhistories about subjects such as salt and codfish, then Bush was hardly immersing himself in liberal policy analysis. It doesn't seem to me that either Bush or Obama is very well-versed in writings that disagree with their own preconceptions -- but then, how many of us are nowadays?

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