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
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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.
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