OK, I give up
The very future of this Republic may well rest on whether or not anyone can, or will, stop George W. Bush.
Agree or disagree, it's a very famous quote from an obviously famous man, one George Harleigh.

He's so famous I feel like a complete idiot going to my readers for help like this, and I'm sure I'll feel even more idiotic when someone finally provides me with the details I cannot find anywhere. (I want to know where he taught, and in what capacities he worked for Nixon and Reagan.)

"George Harleigh" is quoted in innumerable web sites, and he's a retired Political Science professor who worked in both the Nixon and Reagan administrations. I feel like a total idiot, because I'm unable to find out anything about him. His name doesn't appear in the indexes of any of my books on Nixon or Reagan, I can't find a Wikipedia entry on him, and I can't even ascertain the university where he taught.

In 1999 he was said to be from "Southern Illinois University.":

Does the heady atmosphere of Congress turn honest men and women into a criminal class? Or is elected office simply a magnet for those who lie, cheat and steal for a living?

It could be a little bit of both, say political scientists and Constitutional scholars.

"There's no doubt that politics attracts the glib, the fast talker and the con artist," says retired Southern Illinois University political scientist George Harleigh. "It's a natural place for those who think fast on their feet."

Congress has always had its share of rogues and scoundrels:

But when the same quote appeared this past March, Southern Illinois University was not mentioned:
Does the heady atmosphere of Congress turn honest men and women into a criminal class? Or is elected office simply a magnet for those who lie, cheat and steal for a living?

Political scientists and Constitutional scholars say it could be a bit of both.

"Politics attracts the glib, the fast talker and the con artist," says George Harleigh, a retired political science professor who worked in the Nixon and Reagan administrations. "It's a natural place for those who think fast on their feet."

Congress has always had its share of rogues and scoundrels:

What about Southern Illinois University? Was he there? If you google "George Harleigh" and "Southern Illinois University" and you get only 44 hits (all originating from the same source), but if you google his name plus Nixon and/or Reagan, you'll get thousands. Googling his name plus both former presidents turns up 349 hits. But the "Southern Illinois University" reference doesn't occur in the same sentence with work in the Nixon or Reagan administrations.


Professor Harleigh was quoted in a report not long after the Reagan funeral:

Capitol Hill Blue has an unsourced report that, amid rumors of proposed Bush ads featuring Reagan's image,
Former First Lady Nancy Reagan has sent a message to the White House expressing her “extreme displeasure” at any attempt to use her late husband as a campaign tool in the Presidential campaign
.and quotes retired Southern Illinois University political scientist George Harleigh.
"Ronald Reagan has achieved god-like status among conservative Republicans and you don’t mess with his memory. If they are smart they will pull the plug on the campaign and order the ads destroyed. Unfortunately, the Bush campaign has not yet impressed us with its intelligence."
If Harleigh in fact worked for Reagan, wouldn't that be relevant to point out in a piece written near the time of his death?

He's quoted as an expert on Nixon too, because, it is claimed, he worked there. In the second administration:

The carefully-crafted image of George W. Bush as a bold, decisive leader is cracking under the weight of new revelations that the erratic President is indecisive, moody, paranoid and delusional.

“More and more this brings back memories of the Nixon White House,” says retired political science professor George Harleigh, who worked for President Nixon during the second presidential term that ended in resignation under fire. “I haven't heard any reports of President Bush wondering the halls talking to portraits of dead Presidents but what I have been told is disturbing.”

Two weeks ago, Capitol Hill Blue revealed that a growing number of White House aides are concerned about the President's mental stability. They told harrowing tales of violent mood swings, bouts with paranoia and obscene outbursts from a President who wears his religion on his sleeve.

Can't find him in any account of Nixon or Reagan anywhere.

After wasting an hour, I'm stumped.

There has to be an easy explanation. Surely this George Harleigh is a famous man, and I'm missing something.

Can anyone help?

AFTERTHOUGHT: This is not the first time something like this happened, and it shows the limitations of the Internet as a research tool. If any readers could do a Nexis search, I'd be much obliged.

UPDATE: Dennis found nothing via a Nexus/Lexis (or is that a car?) search, so in despair I called the phone number listed at the Southern Illinois University website. The woman I spoke with checked the emeritus list and said the name "Harleigh" did not appear. The list, she said, went from "Hargraves" to "Harlow."

(If only it was so easy to call the Nixon and Reagan administrations. . .)

MORE: The reason I'd like to know whether "George Harleigh" is on the level is that the only man who seems able to quote him says other things I'm unable to verify. A couple of examples

  • President Bush tortured cats when he was a boy;
  • President Bush said the Constitution was "just a goddamned piece of paper."
  • What troubles me is that these stories are widely linked and repeated, but only by leftists. Neither the MSM nor the right wing seem to pay much attention.

    Does that mean that it doesn't matter whether the reports exist? Or that it doesn't matter whether they're true?

    MORE: Not only is "George Harleigh" alive and well, he has just weighed in on President Bush's recent "open mike" remarks:

    Blair said Rice has "got to succeed" if she goes to the region. Bush replied: "What they need to do is to get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit."

    It's not the first time the unwary President, who claims to be a born-again Christian, has been caught cursing. He called a New York Times reporter a "son of a bitch" to an open mike, told Wall Street Journal reporter Al Hunt "fuck you" in front of his daughters and, in a meeting with members of Congress, called the Constitution "just a goddamned piece of paper."

    "Like Nixon, Bush's private persona is much different," says retired political scientiest George Harleigh, who served in both the Nixon and Reagan administration. "Nixon cursed like a sailor when he was out of public view. So does Bush."

    The U.S. president blames Syria and Iran for supporting Hezbollah guerrillas operating in southern Lebanon.

    MORE: Commenter Scott below is "starting to think George Harleigh is an Alan Smithee type person." Alan Smithee, FYI, is a Hollywood pseudonym for directors who do not want their names to go on bad films. The problem is that in the case of "Smithee," it is beyond dispute that there was a director who actually directed a film. (Something that can be verified by the existence of the film.) How could we ever know whether the statements imputed to "George Harleigh" were uttered by anyone other than the writer?

    UPDATE (07/19/07): My thanks to Clayton Cramer who links this post and comments:

    Okay, so some leftist reporters are making people up. What's the big deal? "George Harleigh" has some credibility in attacking Bush because of his obvious impeccable credentials, as a political science professor, and as someone who worked for two conservative presidents. But if he exists only in the imagination of leftists, then he's a lie.
    But he might as well be true, because obviously someone did say whatever it was he should have said, and for every "George Harleigh" who didn't exist, there must be ten genuinely outraged members of the Nixon and Reagan admininstrations who did! And someone needs to represent them, right? So that means figuratively it's almost as true as if it was literally true.

    Also, thanks to commenter Scott below, who has emailed Doug Thompson "asking for Contact Information for George Harleigh, or a list of publications, articles, or books that he's written."

    I can't wait!

    If I am wrong, I'll apologize to Mr. Thompson as well as Mr. Harleigh.

    MORE: George Harleigh disappears. New post here.

    MORE (07/21/07): New visitors, please be aware of my more recent post thoroughly debunking what appears to be an incredible game of cyber musical chairs.

    Plus, a look at Doug Thompson here.

    posted by Eric on 07.17.06 at 07:46 PM


    LesixNexis turned up nothing.

    Dennis   ·  July 18, 2006 8:11 AM

    Testing, please ignore...

    Raging Bee   ·  July 18, 2006 10:10 AM

    So why was I unable to post a comment in response to your "RINO" post? I was repeatedly told it was "banned" due to "questionable content."

    Raging Bee   ·  July 18, 2006 10:14 AM

    Might have mentioned [v]iagra or [c]ialis or any of the words or phrases that get sucked into the MT Blacklist software. I hate it when that happens. One time it automatically banned [...] which drove me crazy. If you email it to me, I'll chase it down as I'm sure there's something like that mucking it up again.

    Eric Scheie   ·  July 18, 2006 10:27 AM

    As I learned to my eternal shame, the filter will sometimes say your message didn't get through...even though it really did. That's why there are three messages in a row from me on the first post about evil toilets.

    Jon Thompson   ·  July 18, 2006 12:16 PM
    Nexus/Lexis (or is that a car?)
    I don't think so... but Lexus Nexus would be a great name for a dealership, especially if it were in the Monolith Auto Mall: "My god - it's full of cars!"
    Eric Wilner   ·  July 18, 2006 12:31 PM


    Eternal shame???

    You do realize how guilty that makes me feel, don't you?

    Eric Scheie   ·  July 18, 2006 2:18 PM

    Eric, I shouldn't have been posting that stuff anyway. It was just a few dumb links to another man's (admittedly genius) essay on the evils of sentient toilets.

    Jon Thompson   ·  July 18, 2006 3:12 PM

    I found a comment by him here


    but it doesn't say who he is to Floyd County, or even if it's the same George.

    He's quoted so often, and in ways that so directly slam the administration, that I'm starting to think he's a ficticious character.

    Scott   ·  July 18, 2006 3:13 PM

    I found another quote in an article, by a fellow named Christopher Kelly of Miami University. He showed up right away on a google search.

    I'm starting to think George Harleigh is an Alan Smithee type person.

    Scott   ·  July 18, 2006 3:54 PM

    Tha famous director who doesn't exist. You may be right.

    Eric Scheie   ·  July 18, 2006 4:13 PM

    I've emailed Capitol Hill Blue, asking for Contact Information for George Harleigh, or a list of publications, articles, or books that he's written. We'll see what happens.

    Worldcat, my interlibrary loan system, has no books listed for Mr. Harleigh, which is odd for a retired professor. Neither could I find any articles by or about this person, also odd for a professor. Publish or perish, after all.

    I really think he's a fictional person, much like the sources that Jayson Blair used.

    Scott   ·  July 19, 2006 12:51 PM

    Likewise, nothing by "George Harleigh" on EBSCOHost Academic Search Premiere, either

    jon   ·  July 19, 2006 2:20 PM


    George Harleigh may be a real person after all.

    Remember the comment in Floyd County website? Well, it turns out that Mr. Doug Thompson, aged 14, moved to Floyd, and worked with the Floyd Press.

    Unfortunately, the quote by Mr. Harleigh on the FloydCounty.com is not on the site anymore. It is only in the cached version. Very odd.

    Here's more on Floyd: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floyd,_Virginia

    Interestingly, The former lead singer from Pink Floyd just died. Coincidence?

    I can't find a white pages that covers Floyd, to check on Mr. Harleigh. We just want to know that he exists, and is safe.

    Scott   ·  July 19, 2006 2:55 PM

    Spoke too soon.

    FloydCounty.com is owned and operated by Blue Ridge Creative, which is owned by, you guessed it, Doug Thompson. So, our only source of Harleigh quotes comes back to Mr. Thompson again.

    This is maddening. I'm just trying to find the guy. He's made some interesting quotes, it'd be fun to read some other stuff he's done, in the course of his career.

    If he exists.

    Scott   ·  July 19, 2006 3:18 PM

    Scott and Jon, that's great work you're doing. Hope he replies to your email, Scott.

    Jon, what is "EBSCOHost Academic Search Premiere"?

    Eric Scheie   ·  July 19, 2006 6:10 PM

    Here's a guess. He exists and his political and academic credentials are correctly cited. But he had to change his name after having criticized Bus[h]itler thus attracting the attention of the Rovian death squads.

    That will be the liberal CW if your suspicians prove correct.

    Anonymous   ·  July 19, 2006 7:49 PM

    Ah yes! The Deep Throat professor of Political Science! Feared for his life at the hands of angry right wing extremist academicians!

    Eric Scheie   ·  July 19, 2006 10:47 PM

    Not to speak for Jon, but Academic Search Premier is an academic subscription-only database of newspaper and journal articles. EBSCO is the vendor. So it is similar to Lexis-Nexis as a database of previously published articles. Most research libraries subscribe to it, as well as some public ones.

    Here's the description from the University of Texas Libraries website:

    "Academic Search Premier
    1990 - present. (EBSCO)
    Updated monthly. Provides full text for nearly 3,180 scholarly publications covering academic areas of study including social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, language and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, and ethnic studies. Includes full-page images as well as color embedded images."

    So if a professor of political science was published anywhere reputable in the last 15 years, you'd expect to find a citation here.

    M Bernard   ·  July 20, 2006 6:19 AM

    Publish or perish, after all.

    Perish, apparently.

    Tom Maguire   ·  July 20, 2006 7:08 PM

    The Anagram Server suggests this for "George Harleigh"

    Regale High Gore

    The Comedian   ·  July 21, 2006 11:55 AM

    A Check of Dissertation Abstracts shows that no one named "George Harleigh" presented either a Masters or Doctoral dissertation in the US. The database covers thesis from 1861 to the present. It is possible that he earned his degree outside the US.

    walrus   ·  July 21, 2006 1:58 PM

    This has become quite the hunt.

    From the website http://find.intelius.com/

    We have this search result.

    Expanded Search Information

    We searched George Harleigh and found 0 records nationwide

    We searched Georg Harleigh and found 0 records nationwide
    We searched Giorgio Harleigh and found 0 records nationwide
    We searched Jorge Harleigh and found 0 records nationwide
    We searched Jurgen Harleigh and found 0 records nationwide

    We searched Geo* Harleigh and found 0 records nationwide

    We searched G* Harleigh and found 0 records nationwide

    We searched Harleigh and found 5 records nationwide

    Those 5 results are for a:
    Bryant Hareligh
    C Harleigh
    Kemmerer Harleigh
    Mary Harleigh
    Winkler Harleigh

    walrus   ·  July 21, 2006 2:19 PM

    I was always suspicious of the "...just a goddamned piece of paper" quote. Nobody gets anywhere in American politics saying things like that, in public or private.

    Eric   ·  July 21, 2006 4:09 PM

    Oooo.... this is fun!

    BTW, Eric, your capitalblue link has been updated...with an apology here Excerpt:

    Recently, we received an inquiry from Southern Illinois University saying they were trying to locate the "George Harleigh" who claimed to have taught at their institution but said they did not have any record of a "George Harleigh" or even a "Harleigh" ever teaching at the university's campuses in Carbondale or Edwardsville, Illinois. That inquiry led us to investigate further. We talked with other web sites that have used quotes from the same source and all, like us, received the quotes in an email newsletter format. The newsletter email currently traced back to a qmail account. We also posted inquiries on bulletin boards and other blogs. When we received today's newsletter we immediately mailed back and asked for additional information. We did not receive an answer and followup emails bounced back as undeliverable.



    Darleen   ·  July 21, 2006 4:11 PM

    Doug Thompson is a fraud. I wrote a post about him some time ago. It was called "The Strange Case of Doug Thompson".

    Hopefully this link with work: Link.

    If not, then this is the url:

    You will not find George Harleigh. Thompson made up both Harleigh and his quotes.

    Tuning Spork   ·  July 21, 2006 4:55 PM

    The day that the RIGHT stops making shit up is the day that I worry about 'leftists" circulating and repeating false stories. A few blogs with lousy judgement does not constitute the "left". Whenever "you people" make these generalized accusactions, you never cite specific blogs or define who the "left" is.

    Did Hillary Clinton or Howard Dean repeat it? Did Maureen Dowd or Arianna Huffington? How about Micheal Moore? Gore Vidal for crying out loud? How about Shakira or Tim Robbins? Joe Biden? Frank Rich? Gimme someone of substance, please.

    If those of you on the Right don't feel obligated to take ownership of the occasional trashy falsehood in the Right Blogosphere, why should the entire liberal wing of US politics be held responsible for these silly little pieces of gossip from a gossip site?

    David Duke-Astin   ·  July 23, 2006 9:16 AM
    Jack   ·  July 24, 2006 5:31 PM

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