Sunday, May 01, 2005
"I said to him the other day, 'George, if you really want to end tyranny in this world, you're going to have to stay up later'... Nine o'clock and Mr. Excitement here is in bed, and I am watching 'Desperate Housewives' -- with Lynne Cheney. Ladies and gentlemen, I am a desperate housewife."(Laura Bush at the White House correspondents annual dinner on Saturday)
Actually, not wanting to be too harsh on the First Lady who was joking anyway, I don't think there is much relation between Presidential sleeping habits and the spread of peace, freedom and democracy.
For his nine o'clock bedtime, Bush has already managed to liberate Afghanistan and Iraq and helped to unleash winds of change now sweeping through the Middle East, Central Asia, and the former Soviet Empire.
Ronald Reagan, famously accused of napping during the Cabinet meetings, helped to bring the Cold War to an end and destroy the Evil Empire.
On the other hand, Bill Clinton was famous for all-nighters (meetings, that is) and regularly subsisted on five or six hours' sleep. He did manage to end two Balkan wars on his (night) watch, but botched the opening rounds of the war with Islamofascism and fell asleep at the wheel in driving through the heart of darkness that was Rwanda.
Lyndon Johnson couldn't do just with the normal eight hours and took naps during the day. And Calvin Coolridge needed eleven hours every night. Neither is very well known for having extended the frontiers of freedom during their presidencies, although LBJ had at least tried.
So, it's not how long your working day is - it's how you use it.
Update: Here's the video of the First Lady's appearance.