Geldof: Bush smarter than people think

posted at 2:55 pm on February 28, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Bob Geldof pens an unusual article for Time Magazine today, extolling the intellect and virtues of President George Bush. He starts off by noting — as have we conservatives since early in the administration — that Bush has no talent for marketing. Geldof instead assigns himself that task and reminds people that Bush may be the most significant President in modern times for the lives he has saved:

The Most Powerful Man in the World studied the front cover. Geldof in Africa — ” ‘The international best seller.’ You write that bit yourself?”

“That’s right. It’s called marketing. Something you obviously have no clue about or else I wouldn’t have to be here telling people your Africa story.”

It is some story. And I have always wondered why it was never told properly to the American people, who were paying for it. It was, for example, Bush who initiated the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with cross-party support led by Senators John Kerry and Bill Frist. In 2003, only 50,000 Africans were on HIV antiretroviral drugs — and they had to pay for their own medicine. Today, 1.3 million are receiving medicines free of charge. The U.S. also contributes one-third of the money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — which treats another 1.5 million. It contributes 50% of all food aid (though some critics find the mechanism of contribution controversial). On a seven-day trip through Africa, Bush announced a fantastic new $350 million fund for other neglected tropical diseases that can be easily eradicated; a program to distribute 5.2 million mosquito nets to Tanzanian kids; and contracts worth around $1.2 billion in Tanzania and Ghana from the Millennium Challenge Account, another initiative of the Bush Administration.

So why doesn’t America know about this? “I tried to tell them. But the press weren’t much interested,” says Bush. It’s half true. There are always a couple of lines in the State of the Union, but not enough so that anyone noticed, and the press really isn’t interested. For them, like America itself, Africa is a continent of which little is known save the odd horror.

Geldof doesn’t pull punches where he disagrees with Bush. In fact, he spends most of the article outlining his disagreements. However, he also paints a picture of a man of intellect and deep belief, and one who has been shortchanged by the media, at least on Africa. He also understands that while he disagrees with Bush on many policies, Bush is motivated by his own sense of what is right.

The Anchoress notes:

But I do like that he gives the president serious credit not just for his humanitarian aid to Africa, but for his smarts in general. The press narrative since 1999, has been that Bush is “incurious and slow.” Geldof writes precisely the opposite, noting after a discussion of Africa and trade tariffs, “he’s curious and quick.”

And while in not engaging the president on is a bit unfair because does not allow rebuttal to Geldof’s own meme’d musings, the Irish rocker does allow Bush to make his case as to the steadiness of his interest in Africa, going back to his debates w/ Gore.

Indeed. Rather than the two-dimensional caricature that so many pundits and journalists have created, Geldof gets much closer to describing Bush as he is — intelligent, emotional, combative, and unusually open. In the end, Geldof and Bush have to agree to disagree on Iraq, but Geldof obviously has some affection for Bush despite the media-driven cardboard cutout most people choose to see.

This does not surprise me much. I have had the pleasure of participating in two round-table conference calls with Geldof, and he surprised me with his openness to all points of view. Like Bush, he has grown a thick skin through years of political combat. His last project, a series of concerts intended to produce pressure on the G-8 nations to forgive African debt and pledge more assistance, drew a lot of naysayers — and Geldof almost seemed to relish engagement with them, in order to change minds.

In some ways, Geldof appears to recognize a bit of that in Bush, and has a difficult time not liking it.

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It’s hard for a person to be less intelligent than the mass press portrays Bush.

Number 2 on February 28, 2008 at 2:59 PM

I read the article, and I give Mr. Geldof a lot of credit for his candor – both pro and con of the President.

It’s a good read.

jake-the-goose on February 28, 2008 at 3:00 PM

It’s a good read.

Indeed. Although a little rough around the edges, Bob is very diplomatic in his exchanges with GWB. It was a nice touch.

Beside a somewhat weak ending paragraph, it was a good article.

natesnake on February 28, 2008 at 3:03 PM

Ed, you left out the most important part of the article. There are presential M & M ‘s

noelgallagher2k on February 28, 2008 at 3:03 PM

The “Bush is dumb” meme is ridiculously wrong on its face and has always been wrong. Harvard doesn’t give out MBAs to dumb people, and the Air Force doesn’t let dumb people fly supersonic interceptors. End of discussion.

skydaddy on February 28, 2008 at 3:05 PM

Wow, so Bush is a real person and not a caricature like say, Al Gore.

Beware media darlings for they have no soul.

Kini on February 28, 2008 at 3:06 PM

However, he also paints a picture of a man of intellect and deep belief, and one who has been shortchanged by the media, at least on Africa.

I do think the press covered Bush dancing in Africa.

Now, do you remember Obama’s trip to Africa two years ago? That was a beautiful time for all of America.

MayBee on February 28, 2008 at 3:06 PM

So why doesn’t America know about this? “I tried to tell them. But the press weren’t much interested,” says Bush. It’s half true. There are always a couple of lines in the State of the Union, but not enough so that anyone noticed, and the press really isn’t interested.blockquote>

I liked this passage. What Bob fails to see is that if GWB ever tried to play this angle up with the press, they would consider it “changing the conversation” about the war in Iraq.

I believe that GWB knows this very well and didn’t want to sour a good program by having it’s values tossed aside in its comparison to Iraq.

GWB is proud of what he’s done in Africa. It’s his special place.

natesnake on February 28, 2008 at 3:08 PM

So why doesn’t America know about this? “I tried to tell them. But the press weren’t much interested,” says Bush. It’s half true. There are always a couple of lines in the State of the Union, but not enough so that anyone noticed, and the press really isn’t interested.

I liked this passage. What Bob fails to see is that if GWB ever tried to play this angle up with the press, they would consider it “changing the conversation” about the war in Iraq.

I believe that GWB knows this very well and didn’t want to sour a good program by having it’s values tossed aside in its comparison to Iraq.

GWB is proud of what he’s done in Africa. It’s his special place.

natesnake on February 28, 2008 at 3:09 PM

So it’s OK for the left to think GWB is somewhat smart now? Because Bob Geldof told them so?

Ka-Bar03 on February 28, 2008 at 3:11 PM

There are presential M & M ’s


And M & M’s make friends.

A few weak moments in the article but I thought that Geldof did a good job.

alilianstrom on February 28, 2008 at 3:13 PM

If only Bush could have articulated his actions better.

TroubledMonkey on February 28, 2008 at 3:15 PM

Says W is a good man. I knew that.

dingbat on February 28, 2008 at 3:17 PM

I think what he means is that Bush is a lot smarter than mindless, group-thinking leftist morons think.

DaveS on February 28, 2008 at 3:20 PM

The “Bush is dumb” meme is ridiculously wrong on its face and has always been wrong.

And yet, according to the “Bush lied” crowd, he was still able to deceive most of Congress into wrongly thinking that Saddam had WMD’s. If such a “dumb” person is able to deceive others, how dumb are the deceived?

Bigfoot on February 28, 2008 at 3:20 PM

“I think history will prove me right,”

I agree. History will prove him right.
Bob Geldof is the man. Pinky.

Geronimo on February 28, 2008 at 3:24 PM

A man of character and one who sticks to his deep beliefs is so foreign to the MSM and the far left for that matter. They do not know understand this and do not want to. That is the fundamental difference between us…

d1carter on February 28, 2008 at 3:27 PM

I thought it was funny that neither Bob Geldof nor President Bush knows what Bono’s real name is.

Come to think of it, neither do I.

Anton on February 28, 2008 at 3:28 PM

Bush will be a good man, for as long as he flushes billions of your tax dollars down the African commode.

For as long as tribalism, marxism and Islam are the rule, Africa will continue to be nothing but a catchword for collectivization, famine, starvation and genocide – no matter how much tax payer monies are poured down the drain.

OhEssYouCowboys on February 28, 2008 at 3:30 PM

This part was harsh:

At one point I suggest that he will never be given credit for good policies, like those here in Africa, because many people view him “as a walking crime against humanity.” He looks very hurt by that. And I’m sorry I said it, because he’s a very likable fellow.

Imagine telling that to someone to their face? And then Geldof sounds surprised by his hurt reaction.

terryannonline on February 28, 2008 at 3:30 PM

Waiting for some moonbat in his mother’s basement on his computer to read the article and think, “So Bush is smart, eh?
“Smart enough to have set up 9/11! It must have been an inside job!!!!11″

Spc Steve on February 28, 2008 at 3:30 PM

Anton on February 28, 2008 at 3:28 PM

With his past connections, I can see why he’d keep it secret.

- The Cat

MirCat on February 28, 2008 at 3:34 PM

I saw Geldof speak in person at an event in Las Vegas a few months back. Prior to his speech, I half-expected to get up and leave a few minutes in as I just KNEW he was going to be some liberal, clueless, rock star pontificating about things he knew nothing about. Instead, I sat there for his slightly over an hour speech as was thoroughly impressed by his background, his honesty, his thought process, his humor, and his goals. Very impressive dude.

Sugar Land on February 28, 2008 at 3:35 PM

Few people are the caricatures that they’re made out to be, good or bad.

JFK wasn’t a saint.
Reagan wasn’t an idjit.
Dubya isn’t shtoopid, neither is he another Hitler.

Lurking Observer on February 28, 2008 at 3:38 PM

I thought it was funny that neither Bob Geldof nor President Bush knows what Bono’s real name is.

Come to think of it, neither do I.

Anton on February 28, 2008 at 3:28 PM

Paul Hewson

CurtZHP on February 28, 2008 at 3:38 PM

Paul Hewson

CurtZHP on February 28, 2008 at 3:38 PM

They found him!

MirCat on February 28, 2008 at 3:40 PM

I think his praise of Bush has more to do with how MUCH MONEY HE HAS GIVEN AWAY. (That money coming from you and me.) That’s about all I see in that article that he highlights as good.

Meanwhile, as Bush keeps doling out money (Mirida Initiative now, =BILLIONS of aid to Mexico), we’re sinking in debt. When does it stop?

stenwin77 on February 28, 2008 at 3:48 PM

The Anchoress notes:

Yea! An Anchoress fan blogging on Hot Air!

bnelson44 on February 28, 2008 at 3:49 PM

W, first African-American president.

Sorry Bill, ye of first black president status.

fogw on February 28, 2008 at 3:53 PM

Cool. The “First Black President of America” watches and does nothing as a genocide happens in Rwanda, and a “Fascist” is responsible for saving thousands and perhaps milliions of innocent lives. Cool.

THE CHOSEN ONE on February 28, 2008 at 3:55 PM

This is why you can respect Geldof and Bono..even tough you might not disagree with some of their views atleast they truly believe in what their doing not being phony like most in the entertainment industry..and they don’t lash out in hate filled attacks against “our side’..they actually try to work with us..like Bono went to Jesse Helms instead of attacking him to work on Africa and the same with Bush..Geldof and Bono don’t suffer BDS.

mlong on February 28, 2008 at 3:59 PM

Cool. The “First Black President of America” watches and does nothing as a genocide happens in Rwanda, and a “Fascist” is responsible for saving thousands and perhaps milliions of innocent lives. Cool.

THE CHOSEN ONE on February 28, 2008 at 3:55 PM

well said. I knew how tough it was to get elected POTUS twice. Bush always seemed like a dumb fox.

saiga on February 28, 2008 at 4:03 PM

Yep, Bono = Paul David Hewson. Mother Anglican, Father Roman Catholic. Raised Anglican (Church of Ireland). Bono is from his early nickname/stagename “Bono vox from O’Connell street”. Bono Vox is derived from Latin Bona Vox (good voice).

Got this from wiki.

aquaviva on February 28, 2008 at 4:13 PM

So it’s OK for the left to think GWB is somewhat smart now? Because Bob Geldof told them so?
Ka-Bar03 on February 28, 2008 at 3:11 PM

Yes: It’s OK for the left to be told that George Bush is smart NOW.

But, of course, it was absolutely verboten for the liberal media to say that until the Republican Party had a new putative leader.

As liberals are constantly reminding us; we must always question their timing.

logis on February 28, 2008 at 4:14 PM

Let’s see Rosie graduated from..uhhh
Sean Penn graduated from…uhhhhh
Tom Cruise graduated from….uhhhhh
Tim Robbins graduated from….uhhhh
maybe someone should get Brooke Shields or Jodie Foster’s opinions on something since they graduated from Harvard.

flytier on February 28, 2008 at 4:14 PM

Just another example of the real Bush in contradiction to media Bush.

Mutt on February 28, 2008 at 4:14 PM

The stories are there…it isn’t his marketing…they just don’t want to report it.

tomas on February 28, 2008 at 5:06 PM

“Stop coming to Africa feeling guilty. Come with love and feeling confident for its future.”

“When we see hunger we feed them. Not to spread our influence, but because they’re hungry.”

“U.S. solutions should not be imposed on African leaders.”

“Africa has changed since I’ve become President. Not because of me, but because of African leaders.”

What’s funny is that he (Geldolf) tries to turn around the solutions quote on him and use it towards the action in Iraq. The irony is that the Iraqi solution is actually what is now working in Iraq.

Kai on February 28, 2008 at 5:13 PM

Abstinence is all they want to talk about

tomas on February 28, 2008 at 5:15 PM

Cap.n Ed, don’t be fooled by Geldof: he is as left as they come. He is only stating the obvious to anyone saavy enough to face facts.

jimbo2008 on February 28, 2008 at 5:24 PM

Cap’n Ed, don’t be fooled by Geldof: he is as left as they come. He is only stating the obvious to anyone saavy enough to face facts. NO ONE BECOMES PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA that isn’t very intelligent, at least about how to win elections.

jimbo2008 on February 28, 2008 at 5:26 PM

NO ONE BECOMES PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA that isn’t very intelligent

Tell that to the left.

Kai on February 28, 2008 at 5:27 PM

Still don’t understand why the left continues to hang on the idea that Bush is unintelligent. There is no way he could have gotten where he is without being pretty darn smart.

Dannic on February 28, 2008 at 5:42 PM

The vast majority of lefties won’t ever accept that Bush might be intelligent. The vast majority of lefties will never believe that anyone who is not a lefty knows anything about anything. Since most lefties operate only at the level of belief and feeling, Geldorf could talk till he’s blue in the face and they’ll look at him like he’s talking a foreign language.

snaggletoothie on February 28, 2008 at 6:17 PM

Anton on February 28, 2008 at 3:28 PM

Haha. It’s Paul Hewson.

aengus on February 28, 2008 at 6:40 PM

The one time I called in and talked to Rush Limbaugh (I was a stuttering mess) was to defend Bob Geldof after one of those conference calls . You can say he has his head in the sky over what progress can be made in Africa, but it’s obvious that his cause is more important to him than scoring cheap political points with liberals by attacking their caricature of President Bush.

frankj on February 28, 2008 at 6:42 PM

His last project, a series of concerts intended to produce pressure on the G-8 nations to forgive African debt and pledge more assistance, drew a lot of naysayers — and Geldof almost seemed to relish engagement with them, in order to change minds.

Remind you of anyone?

His last project, a series of posts intended to make people take a closer look at the next President of the United States, drew a lot of naysayers — and Red Pill almost seemed to relish engagement with them, in order to change minds.

Red Pill on February 28, 2008 at 7:00 PM

By the way, expect a Second Edition version of this book, written about Huckabee.

Red Pill on February 28, 2008 at 7:03 PM

maybe someone should get Brooke Shields or Jodie Foster’s opinions on something since they graduated from Harvard.

Yale.

Bob's Kid on February 28, 2008 at 7:34 PM

Man I have to move to Africa. I have to pay for health care here. . . . wait a tick… Who’s paying for all that free care in Africa?

Oh I am … sh\t ,I feel like I am getting screwed.

TheSitRep on February 28, 2008 at 7:57 PM

He can’t find one good thing about our efforts in Iraq and calls our troops un-American.
I award Geldof no points.

joewm315 on February 28, 2008 at 9:01 PM

1) MBA from Harvard
2) jet fighter pilot
3) ran a multi-million-dollar corporation profitably (Texas Rangers ball club)
4) popular governor of a huge state
No idiot.

jgapinoy on February 28, 2008 at 9:56 PM

While we’re at it, Bush is also one of the most open and honest presidents we’ve had in a while.

But that won’t phase the “Bush lied, people died” crowd

theregoestheneighborhood on February 28, 2008 at 10:20 PM

History will be very kind to Mr. George Walker Bush. His greatest strength is that Texas persistence. I loved the Geldof piece.

carbon_footprint on February 28, 2008 at 10:28 PM

— and they had to pay for their own medicine. Today, 1.3 million are receiving medicines free of charge.

You’re welcome.

MikeyB on February 28, 2008 at 11:17 PM

Glad to see some entertainers with their head on straight. But Still……..

I Don’t like Mondays!!!!!

StatenItaly08 on February 29, 2008 at 12:01 AM

Cool. The “First Black President of America” watches and does nothing as a genocide happens in Rwanda

And did nothing when al Qaeda bombed Kenya and Tanzania

and a “Fascist” is responsible for saving thousands and perhaps milliions of innocent lives. Cool.

THE CHOSEN ONE on February 28, 2008 at 3:55 PM

GWB will always have a spot in my heart because of this.

baldilocks on February 29, 2008 at 12:20 AM

Wow, that was a very good article Geldof wrote…

ketket on February 29, 2008 at 12:52 AM

So it’s OK for the left to think GWB is somewhat smart now? Because Bob Geldof told them so?
Ka-Bar03 on February 28, 2008 at 3:11 PM
Yes: It’s OK for the left to be told that George Bush is smart NOW.

But, of course, it was absolutely verboten for the liberal media to say that until the Republican Party had a new putative leader.

As liberals are constantly reminding us; we must always question their timing.

logis on February 28, 2008 at 4:14 PM

No…no…no…you have it wrong. See- The Libs will now proclaim that Geldof is now “stupid”. In their eyes, Bush doesnt lose his dummy crown, they simply make another crown, and crown each “crony” as they come along.

HunnyWaggin on February 29, 2008 at 9:21 AM

I’m sorry, but doesn’t handing out free drugs to treat AIDS lessen the incentive to either abstain or practice safe sex? Having lived in South Africa for several years, I noticed that most people do not care about the dangers of AIDS, despite it being so prevalent and deadly. This can only add to the problem.

iamse7en on February 29, 2008 at 12:24 PM