Leave Liz Cheney Alone!
This is a Slate piece about Liz Cheney — daughter of Dick and a former State Department official — and what her senior undergraduate thesis on executive power from Colorado College tells us about the Bush presidency. As far as I can tell, it is entirely sincere. This is not an Alan Sokal/Social Text-style hoax determined to parody Slate by tricking Slate into running the most absurdly Slate-ish piece — in which something is superficially clever but substantively hollow — of all time. If it is, and I have escaped its subtlety: bravo, author Zac Frank, bravo.
If it needs to be said, though: Liz Cheney’s senior undergraduate thesis tells you nothing at all about the Bush presidency.
Liz Cheney would have been 21 or 22-years-old when she submitted her thesis. Her views were still forming. The idea that someone would read some sort of meta-textual significance into the fact that both the thesis and the Bush administration took a sunny view of a powerful chief executive is daffy. If I went to the bar this evening and told someone, “You know what has predictive capability for determining how people will behave in positions of authority? What their children write as undergrads. Well, their big papers, anyway,” I would be viewed as someone with poor reasoning skills. I’m betting neither Frank nor his editors actually stated his thesis out loud before running his piece.