Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Bush's Brain: Big News for the Times

Michiko Kakutani of the NYTimes cannot resist a dig when she describes George Bush's reliance on Eliot Cohen's Supreme Command, which argues for the civilian control of military matters, in light of the recent concern that the administration's brain trust ignored the generals and didn't put enough infantry in Iraq. Is this president smart enough to control the generals? Is he getting good advice from all the conservative policy wonks surrounding him and giving him all these books to read?

The concern over the amount of infantry has certainly been dispelled during the last few days. Nevertheless, Kakutani gives a decent, if ordinary, account of the intellectual influences on Bush, despite her inability to resist reminding us that some find the administration's morally-grounded, Reagan-like foreign policy more "moralistic" than moral.

As a general rule, the story of conservative intellectuals and policy-makers doesn't make such a big splash in the Washington Post. The Times, however, a full generation after Reagan's first administration still cannot fathom that people on the right have serious ideas and influence policy. The Times still writes about high-octane intellectuals of the right with surprise, almost as if they are describing aliens or another species.

In Washington, there are conservatives; there's no getting around it. They are your neighbors and co-workers; they are in your carpool and at PTA meetings. In New York, however, it seems as if you could live a lifetime without running into a conservative. The writers of the Times certainly write as if this describes their lives, in any case. Haven't they heard of City Journal?


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