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February 28, 2003
Shrub (Ivins, Dubose)

Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush (by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose)

A depressing book for several reasons.

One is the title. Bush's political life hasn't been nearly short enough to light up my life so far.
Also, this is the book several million middle-of-the-road voters should have read the second it was originally published in 2000. If they had, the world would be a better place today.

"Young political reporters are always told there are three ways to judge a politician. The first is to look at the record. The second is to look at the record. And third, look at the record.'

If only we had a reliable and unbiased national media who had shared Bush's record before the elections.

A few items confused me at first.

Ivins and Dubose make a point of saying how useless it is for a political candidate to try and claim being governor of Texas fits them for the Presidency since Texas is a state where the governorship is largely ornamental. (In terms of power, the governor of this state ranks fifth, behind the lieutenant-governor, attorney general, comptroller, and land commissioner.)

At the same time, the authors claim that the disaster that Texas was once Bush left the office is his fault.

That confused me, but as I read, I understood how a man uninterested in the daily trappings of office could nevertheless wield enough corporate-sponsored power to destroy a state.

And the afterword is amusing. Written post-election, it assures us that Bush isn't stupid (although they qualify that remark) or mean. The authors say, in fact, that they don't expect much out of the guy while he's president. They point out that he has a record (look at the record!) of searching out "father figures" or mentors and that Cheney is obviously destined for that role in the White House. While admitting that Cheney's voting record is "nutsoid", they still insist that he and the Shrub will make a workable team.

And if not, as they point out, we can always hightail it for Canada.

The writing is lively and engaging (what else would you expect from Ivins?), the book is well-researched, and there are some scary but educational parallels between Bush's treatment of the Texas economy and environment and his approach to those of the USofA.

Well worth reading.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:58 AM


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