Sunday, February 19, 2006
Bush’s chat with novelist alarms environmentalists, Christian groups
WASHINGTON, Feb. 18—One of the perquisites of being president is the ability to have the author of a book you enjoyed pop into the White House for a chat.
Over the years, a number of writers have visited President Bush, including Natan Sharansky, Bernard Lewis and John Lewis Gaddis. And while the meetings are usually private, they rarely ruffle feathers.
Now, one has.
In his new book about Mr. Bush, “Rebel in Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush,” Fred Barnes recalls a visit to the White House last year by Michael Crichton, whose 2004 best-selling novel, “State of Fear,” suggests that global warming is an unproven theory and an overstated threat.
Mr. Barnes, who describes Mr. Bush as “a dissenter on the theory of global warming,” writes that the president “avidly read” the novel and met the author after Karl Rove, his chief political adviser, arranged it. He says Mr. Bush and his guest “talked for an hour and were in near-total agreement.”
“The visit was not made public for fear of outraging environmentalists all the more,” he adds.
Environmentalists were not the only group Mr. Bush considered during Mr. Crichton’s visit. “They covered the entire spectrum of Crichton’s work,” said Mr. Barnes. “Crichton warned the President that the rapacious Japanese economy would soon crush America, that female executives are often the perpetrators in sexual-harassment cases, and, most important, that the lost city of Zinj is populated by murderous talking gorillas. As in their discussion of global warming, Mr. Bush was in near-total agreement.”
Environmentalists have responded with alarm to the news. “This shows the president is more interested in science fiction than science,” Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, said after learning of the White House meeting. Mr. O’Donnell’s group monitors environmental policy.
Curiously, however, Christian conservatives have also expressed concern. “The president met with Michael Crichton for an hour and they never discussed the dangers of genetic research? That’s an outrage,” said the Rev. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family. “While we understand that the president needs to stay informed about global-warming charlatans, sexually predatory women and dangerous talking gorillas, we strongly believe that he should take a stand against scientific research conducted by atheistic madmen. The president needs to reassure Christians that the Culture of Life® will not be threatened by genetically engineered dinosaurs, human-animal hybrids, or deranged robots with Yul Brynner’s face.”
Toxic, rapidly-reproducing crystalline organisms from outer space could not be reached for comment.