HERE�S ONE DIFFERENCE. I have quite a few thoughts about Noemie Emery�s piece in the current Weekly Standard arguing that Bush is Truman, today�s neocons are the heirs of HST, and so on.

But let me start with this side note. I remember reading, either in Dean Acheson�s memoir or in James Chace�s biography of Acheson, the following anecdote. One night, the Trumans and the Achesons were having dinner. For some reason, Central Asia and the Caucasus came up. Truman suddenly launched into a long and very informed disquisition on the history and culture of this �stan and that one. Mrs. Acheson was blown out of her shoes. She asked how he knew so much, and Truman said words to the effect, �I just started reading about it one day in the library when I was young, and I was fascinated. So I read everything I could on the region.�

The point here isn�t simply to bash Bush as an intellectually incurious dullard who would never in a million years have chosen to auto-didacticate himself -- as a youngster; not as President -- on the history and culture of a remote region of the world (although of course that�s part of the point). The main point is that Truman, dismissed though he is as a mere haberdasher, brought deep knowledge to his engagement with the world. One has only to read the aforementioned memoirs of Acheson to see how impressed that product of Groton, Yale, and Harvard was with Truman�s intellect and knowledge.

The MSM, of course, has developed its way of covering up for W�s complete lack of intellect and knowledge by speaking of his �instincts� and �convictions.� But we�ve seen where instinct and conviction have gotten us. What a joke.

--Michael Tomasky