Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America Paperback – Jun 1 2004
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She tried to warn us: With the publication of Shrub in early 2000, syndicated columnist Molly Ivins detailed George W. Bushs privileged rise and disastrous reign as governor of Texas in the mid- to late 90s. In Bushwhacked, she looks at his first term as president. The picture she paints is unremittingly bleakunless, of course, youre a big campaign donor well served by Bushs prescription for all economic ills (deregulation, tax cuts for those who need them least, and lax enforcement of worker and environmental safety standards). As the only president in U.S. history to slash taxes and go to war simultaneously, Bush wins consistently low marks from Ivins for pursuing "crony capitalism" to its inevitably depressing extremes. While many of the topics covered here have been covered extensively (Enron, the war in Iraq), Ivins does a good job of building on whats already been written (proving Bushs close ties to former Enron chief Ken Lay, and laying out the fundamentalist, apocalyptic view of Iraq and the Middle East that drives Bushs foreign policy). Ivins is particularly good in taking arcane federal regulations and showing how the Bush administrations lax oversight has hurt ordinary Americans, making their jobs, homes, water, and food less safe. Ivins is no distanced observer. Shes clearly incensed by Bushs policies, but her reporting is so detailed and writing so witty that even those who come to the book undecided about Bush will likely be outraged by the time they finish it. ----Keith Moerer --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Ivins's mordant wit, political passion and uninhibited energy are unique among political writers and translate into entertaining reading for anti-Bushites. Together with co-author Dubose, Ivins (Shrub) offers a ferocious attack on "Dubya," arguing that he has taken the country in a direction he conveniently failed to mention during the 2000 campaign. That direction, according to Ivins, endangers workers, the poor and disadvantaged, the middle class and, for good measure, the Bill of Rights. Her message is that Bush's education, economic, tax and environmental policies, his energy policy, his response to the Enron scandal all have one thing in common: "setting the fox to guard the chicken coop." The "fox" in this case is business interests; the chickens are the EPA, the SEC, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission and other agencies whose purpose is to protect citizens from capitalism's excesses. Simply put, Bush, according to Ivins, has abandoned the interests of American citizens for the interests of corporate America. Two things distinguish this from the rest of the burgeoning anti-Bush literature: Ivins's substantive arguments and her language and humor, which are refreshingly inventive. Members of the Texas Supreme Court, dominated by then-Governor Bush appointees, are "nine justices beloved for their canine fidelity to corporations." Bush's Middle East policy, which Ivins says is driven by the evangelical right's eschatology, "has produced alliances as peculiar as the Michael Jackson-Lisa Marie Presley union." Nonetheless, readers shouldn't be misled: Ivins and Dubose do not believe Bush is funny; they are outraged by what they identify as his excesses. They want readers to be outraged, too-and many will be.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Many of the recent books on Bush and the Right have focused on the habit and strategy of intentionally misrepresenting positions held by those on the right. They are, in effect, apologias for liberalism and honesty in politics. This book is instead a direct examination of George W. Bush's policies and plans, and what they see scares them and me. As they write near the end of the book, "The six most fatal words in the language are rapidly becoming 'The Bush administration has a plan . . . " (p. 295).
Ivins and Dubose don't discuss the Bush policies in abstract, but in terms of how they affect real live human beings. They argue "this country no longer works for the benefit of most of the people in it" (p. 293) and they are determined to explain precisely why. What is most informative about the book is not just the discussion of the more familiar failures of the Bush administration, but overlooked or under considered facets of their policies. For instance, in Texas they have already undergone school reform of the kind promoted by Bush in the No Child Left Behind act. In fact, as they demonstrate, it is a perfect recipe for leaving vast numbers of children behind, as high schools out of self-protection refuse to promote underachieving students past ninth grade, in many instances keeping them there until they turn eighteen and are no expected to stay in school. Or consider the vast number of students in Texas who now graduate by taking the G.E.Read more ›
I've read many of the recent Bush-bashing, liberal-energizing books (Franken's "Lies and the Lying Liars . . .", Moore's "Stupid White Men" and "Dude, Where's My Country"), and I honestly think that this book is the best for someone who wants a good view into what liberals are so worked up about. Franken's book is often more humorous and a somewhat lighter read, so it may be better for you depending on your taste, but Ivins and Dubose here do the best job I've seen of setting out a well-reasoned, well-argued case, with not only the anecdotes but the numbers to back it up (although admittedly I haven't gone through their end-notes and checked up on all their sources).
While I love all the recent liberal-lit---preaching to the converted may not help so much, but we do so enjoy the sermon---"Bushwhacked" impressed me most for an argument that's both compelling and rational. If I can find an equivalent on the conservative side (it's hard to slog through the partisan reviews and find out anything useful about many of these books, and I hope my review isn't more of the same), I'd read it for such a good view into the other perspective.
Ivins and Dubose link Bush's failures as a governor to the failure he has been as a chief executive. Bush claims to be a sucessful businessman prior to running for governor of Texas. However financial rescue after rescue by his father's wealthy friends and associates account for the fact that this man was not a total failure. They document how ENRON has consistently supported the political career of Bush, even if he now distances himself from that travesty. The ENRON employees were not allowed to trade the shares in their 401(k) and lost 1.2 billion whereas the top executives conducted insider trading and made off with 1.1 billion. You do the math! We have to ask ourselves, has the SEC now been strengthened to ensure this type of fraud doesn't destroy family savings and retirement in the future? You can bet you bottom dollar that the SEC will remain weak with Bush in the White House.
I will never eat deli meat again after reading how Bush policies have weakened USDA inspection of cooked meat products. I invite all Bush supporters to eat a healthy sandwich of smoked turkey and Listeria. When they emerge from the hospital, they can thank their President.
After 20 years of discussion and compromise, worker guidelines on ergonomic injury were finalized in the last days of the Clinton administration. These guidelines were the first to be gutted by the new President Bush.
In 1995 Newt was successful in defeating the Superfund legislation.Read more ›
But Bushwacked wasn't even a fun read. Molly Ivins is smarmy, self-congratulatory, and arrogant, all of which come through in every sentence.
Her thesis in this book is, "Bush is wack and those of us who lived in Texas while he was governor tried to tell you so," as if Bush weren't wildly popular in Texas, where he beat Gore by 30 points, the largest margin of victory for either candidate in any state.
To make her case, she focuses in on individual cases -- people who have been hurt by one of Bush's policies. With each succeeding story, told in her "woe is me" voice, the sappiness of the violin playing in your head gets louder.
Worst of all is that she takes herself so seriously. Even if you're not a Bush fan it's hard not to be turned off by her holier-than-thou attitude.
This is a terrible book. If you're in the mood for an anti-Bush rant, go with Franken's Lying Lies etc. Unlike Ivins, he at least understands that the current crop of mainstream polemics is a little ridiculous and has fun with it.
Most recent customer reviews
Books like this completely amaze me as they seek only to fuel peoples hatred. It's quite clear Ivins goal is to be among the elite crowd of Bush-haters by pointing out idividual... Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by Mike_H
molly ivins is a texan, and like a texan, she is blunt: bush is an unqualified jerk! good book, some humor, worth a read!Published on July 12 2004 by Jeremy Jones
Quite honestly, this tales of this book didn't surprise me in the least. George Dubya is sneaky crook who somehow became president. Read morePublished on July 10 2004 by A. Vegan
Ivins is an idealogue who despises all conservatives and Republicans; her problem is not with Bush but rather with anyone who isn't liberal. The book makes this quite apparent. Read morePublished on July 3 2004
... when you start tracking down the "facts", you find they often don't say quite what was implied, or the very facts themselves are contradicted by overwhelming evidence... Read morePublished on July 1 2004
When I finished this book last night, I began to think of what, besides voting, I needed to do to help ensure that President Bush becomes the next former president this... Read morePublished on July 1 2004 by Debbie the Book Devourer
So maybe you agree with the title of this review, but when you get into a debate with a neo-conservative Dubya lover, you are just lacking in ammo, not because Dubya's right, but... Read morePublished on June 30 2004 by H. Huggins
Ivins kicks butt again!..I know when I read any of her books I prepair myself to get my brains kicked around to what is happening around me. Read morePublished on June 30 2004 by Jethro52 48
For folks that have a hard time with Michael Moore's dubious attention to details but appreciate his larger intention look no further. Read morePublished on June 27 2004 by B. Lane
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