One of the favorite, entirely false nostrums of the left was that President George W. Bush was an ignorant rube. In fact, he was and is a voracious reader.

President George W. Bush with the late First Dog, Barney-Washington Post


And he is now a painter. In his unpresumptuous way he lets on just how active is his inner life. ABC News reports:

Bush has said he was inspired to paint by reading Winston Churchill’s “Painting as a Pastime.” He told Sawyer that his new activity has helped him continue to learn, following the example of his father, former President George H.W. Bush.

“You know what the interesting lesson is though, that you can keep learning in life. I mean, some guy one time said to me, ‘Man, you deserve to rest.’ And I don’t wanna rest. I wanna live life to the — I wanna follow the example of President 41 and, you know, sprint into the grave.”


Painting, Bush said, has “been eye-opening for me. I mean, I look at colors differently and I see shadow. . . . By the way, that’s not that easy to paint, water hitting water just so, you know, and the perspective… It’s a beauty, isn’t it?” he said. “It may reflect my precocious nature, me painting myself in a bathtub,” he added half-seriously, playing art critic.

And unlike the current Oval Office inhabitant, Bush has an essential humility that never changed. ( “Look, the signature is more valuable than the painting.”)

Media elites are cultural snobs, but they are narrow-minded and to a large degree prejudiced. They mock, even now, his accent. They roll their eyes at his sincere expressions of faith. (Recall when he said Jesus was his favorite philosopher.) They can’t quite get their minds around the notion that Bush gobbles up history books. Yet they are taken in by the pose of intellectualism by a president who continually mangles history and whose worldview and economic views are straight out of discredited leftist scripts.

The media’s off-kilter assessment is in large part the bias of cultural familiarity: People who sound like them, went to top schools and hold their beliefs are sophisticates. Pomposity is confused with wisdom. Directness is misdiagnosed as simplistic.

Political karma is quite rich. In his retirement Bush is now well regarded for his artistic sensibility. If the media were more honest they might even concede he is deep and philosophical (!). Well, he certainly is more intellectually curious and endearing than the current president.