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.
And so it has, fueling a common perception among environmental groups that Mr. Crichton's dismissal of global warming, coupled with his popularity as a novelist and screenwriter, has undermined efforts to pass legislation intended to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas that leading scientists say causes climate change.
On the other hand, when Natan Sharansky met with Bush, I'm sure that despots all over the world quaked in their boots. So maybe the despotic environmental movement's response is appropriate.
I will let you decide on your own regarding the evils of Michael Crichton. You can buy State of Fear from my sidebar; but even better, I recommend you check out two major speeches he has given: "Aliens Cause Global Warming" given at Cal Tech in 2003; and a talk given in Washington last year, "Fear, Complexity, & Environmental Management in the 21st Century". Both will make you think about the environmental movement in a different way than perhaps they would like.
The key word here is think.