Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)leads America
In these extreme politically charged times, it is difficult to navigate the volume of books out there in the arena of words that proclaim to be the standard bearers of virtue against the evils of the right or left, depending on your political persuasion. Alterman and Green attempt to communicate to the world and especially to the American public just how President Bush has continually (mis)led America. They are not the first and I doubt they will be the last voices heard on perhaps the most controversial president in modern American history.
Alterman and Green’s intended audience seems to be the general voting public, but as a result of the divisive issues in this election year, only the "choir" will appreciate the book, regardless of the facts the authors have laid out.
Alterman and Green go about presenting a court case, so to speak, to the American people, issue by issue, such as: environment, economy, taxes, healthcare, national security, Iraq, and other topics which are likely to be rallied under in this election year. The authors present what Bush says then document his action, which invariably contradicts his initial statement—regular old bait and switch. For example, Alterman and Green quote Bush:
Alterman and Green then take a closer look at the action taken by the Bush Administration and contrast it with the president’s public statements, thus providing evidence to their argument that Bush’s actions flagrantly contradict his statements. For example, in reference to the above quote, they state:
Which, at least according to this reader, makes the $1083 figure utterly meaningless, regardless of whether you are a Bush "fan" or not.
This style of presentation runs throughout the book, accompanied by sarcastic or smart remarks. In case after case Alterman and Green present examples, where Bush (mis)leads not only America but also the world by saying one thing and then doing another. The old adage, “action speaks louder than words” comes to mind.
Despite all the valid points made in the book, it is difficult not to perceive Alterman and Green’s disdain for George W. Bush in the constant stinging sarcasm, which depending on the reader's perspective can either irritate or amuse, or as in this reader's opinion add icing on the cake. The French intellectual Roland Barthes said, “What I claim is to live to the full the contradiction of my time, which may well make sarcasm the condition of truth.”
Alterman and Green certainly paint an unflattering picture of Bush. They present him as a president not too engaged in matters of state and prepared to delegate policy development to political advisors who are liaisons for the “base.” Such views are confirmed by the recent revelations of Richard Clarke and Paul O’Neill, as well as those of other investigators.
President Bush’s disengagement from policy development is the catalyst for his delegation of the said development to his advisors such a Karl Rove and others, who may be more interested in the political advantages they will gain than in whether they will actually succeed or not.
There can be no question that big business is ecstatic about the rolling back of federal regulations, or weakening the enforcement capability of regulatory agencies by slashing their budgets. Big business is also taking advantage of cheaper labor as a result of sending jobs to other countries while more and more Americans are getting laid off.
The neocons got what they had wanted for years—the invasion of Iraq, where weapons of mass destruction still have not been found, contrary to all the statements by the Bush administration before the war.
As for the religious right, it thought it was a great idea to put limits on stem cell research because of their “life starts at conception” belief:
and Green definitely give George W. Bush quite a severe "thrashing"
on all fronts. Some readers will say deservedly, while others will
just chalk it up to another leftwing smear campaign. Again, it will
depend on what side of the political fence the readers are on. It
is clear that the authors are not very keen on George W. Bush,
and the most neutral reader would be hard-pressed to perceive much
objectivity in the writing. Alterman and Green's intense use of derision
to drive their point home could be seen as disserving the well-researched
presentation of facts in the book. However, given the high stakes
of this divisive election year, keeping one’s passion from permeating
into the current political arguments is easier said than done. The
book is certainly coming from the left side of the political spectrum,
but that does not mean the facts it puts forth are inaccurate.