Those who would repeat history . . .

By Kir Slevin

So this summer, the President is reading Salt: A World History. That is, when he gets done with Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar. Or maybe he's first reading The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History. I'm not sure of the order, but I am surprised. Not even I, a bona fide Ph.D. nerd addicted to books with footnotes, read tomes like this on vacation. My 400-page summer books are by Lisa Scottoline. So am I impressed? Well, not really. Apparently the media was not either; of major papers, only the L.A. Times covered the booklist as straight news. Makes you wonder if the mainstream outlets are catching on, finally, and that they saw the administration's attempt to portray Bush as an intellectual as what it was: a big lie, the deliberate seeding of misinformation. It's not the first or only "big lie," of course, to come out of this administration. When you google "big lie" you get 500,000 results, and if you refine your search with "Bush" and "Iraq," you get 110,000 results. Nearly a quarter of recent discourse about the "big lie" concerns Bush's Iraq fiasco, and surely a few tens of thousands more also cover Bush administration lies about global warming, private Social Security accounts, the deficit, James "Jeff Gannon" Guckert, Valerie Plame, Terry Schiavo, Intelligent Design, and just about every other issue that has come before it. (And, yes, some of the discourse accuses liberals of using varieties of the "big lie" to attack Bush -- in particular labeling the truthful accusation that Bush has been deceptive as a "big lie" itself!)