George W. Bush has a different way of viewing the world. His motives for official political policy are encouraged not by reason, open debate, or any type of sensible discussion. No, Bush issues his marching orders and conducts the running of the country by relying on something completely different: The idea of absolute moral righteousness and its correct place over the reality of evil. Bush doesn't see any gray area; doesn't consider that he might be wrong; and doesn't revamp his strategies- either foreign or domestic- when they have been shown not to work. He stubbornly moves forward, even when every indicator shows that his policies are a total and complete failure.
Many books have been written about the endless failures of the Bush presidency with each book's author offering his/her own perspective on George W. Bush, his life, his many mistakes, and the motives that make him act the way he does. I have read many of these books, and I have come away with mixed feelings on what it is that truly motivates or guides our forty- third president. Some authors make Bush sound like an out- of- control maniac. Others make him out to be just another spoiled son of a wealthy father who is enjoying his reign of power and sharing the benefits with those he calls his friends.
But among all the books I have read about George W. Bush, "A Tragic Legacy" ranks as the best of all. It marks the first time I have read a book that critiques the Bush mindset in this absolutist "good vs. bad" manner, and it really nails squarely the way that Bush views the world and how this forms the basis of his government policy decisions. It is this "good vs. evil" mentality that has led Bush in his quest to conquer "evil" nations like Iraq and to declare nations like North Korea, Iran, and others as an "Axis of Evil". Bush simplifies the world in this manner; attempting to place the different nations around the globe and the different events that take place in the world in these nice, neat, this-way-or-that-way packages.
Most people know about Bush's supposed ties to his religious faith and the president openly talks about them every now and then; sometimes sprinkling his speeches with religious language. I have always felt that Bush's religious persona was a political maneuver to win votes. But this book takes a different stand and offers convincing evidence for his theory on the Bush mind. The author believes that Bush is completely sincere when it comes to religion and that the only reason he doesn't talk even more openly about it is because he knows it doesn't make good politics. He also believes that the Manichean worldview that Bush has adopted is completely the result of his religious beliefs. And like other evangelical types, Bush is completely, 100 percent convinced he is on the side of good; making him incapable of making a bad decision and making it a requirement that he continue to fight the good fight every day, lest he be condemned in the afterlife for caving in to the forces of evil.
If you examine the president's actions, what this book says makes perfect sense. There is, without question, a tendency on the part of Bush to divide people and world events into two categories. And, invariably, it is always his side that is fighting for good. It matters not that his policies have been failures. It doesn't even matter if he lies. As the book accurately states, the Manichean thinker is so convinced of his/her own "rightness" that it pervades everything he/she does, up to and beyond the point of ever admitting a mistake. In fact, if things are going poorly, the Manichean proponent is likely to try even harder rather than admit wrongdoing.
I very much like the fact that the author wrote this book in such a calm, yet confident and respectful way. He doesn't degrade the president for thinking the way he does. He doesn't make fun or resort to name calling. Instead, he just explains the observations that he and the rest of the world has seen with Bush, adds a few good quotations, and proceeds to describe his theory about Bush's mode of thinking. He expresses himself very well, showing how Bush's thinking is so different from other presidents and explaining why it is so damaging when used to make official government decisions.
George W. Bush, the forty- third president of the United States, is going to leave a long legacy behind him. Unless something miraculous takes place in the next fifteen months, Bush will likely go down in history as one of America's worst chief executives. This tragic legacy was crafted by Bush himself and there is no one else he can blame. A good vs. evil mindset is perfectly fine for individual decision making but it has been shown over and over again to have devastating effects when used to guide government actions. This, my friends, is the legacy of George W. Bush and it is explained articulately and flawlessly in this book, "A Tragic Legacy". It is the best book I have read so far on our forty- third president.