When George W. Bush became President in January 2001, he took office with a comfortably familiar surname, bipartisan rhetoric, and the promise of calming a public shaken by the convulsions of impeachment and a contested election. Then nine months later, after the tragedy of 9/11, both the country and the world looked to him for leadership that could unite people behind great common goals.
Instead, three years into his term, George W. Bush has squandered the good will felt toward America, turned allies into adversaries, and is running the most radical and divisive administration in the history of the presidency.
The Book on Bush is the first comprehensive critique of a president who is governing on a right wing and a prayer. In carefully documented and vivid detail, Eric Alterman and Mark Green, two of the leading progressive authors/advocates in the country, not only trace the guiding ideology that runs through a wide range of W's policies but also expose a presidential decision-making process that, rather than weighing facts to arrive at conclusions, begins with conclusions and then searches for supporting facts.
But what is the Bush administration's rationale for an agenda that includes waging preventive wars and pursuing regressive tax cuts, stratospheric deficits, the abolition of affirmative action and choice, and the gutting of environmental regulation? While other commentators and authors have plumbed a particular policy (or policies) or chronicled his provable deceptions, Alterman and Green connect the dots of what's behind all the policies and prevarications. The Book on Bush reveals a president who, while determinedly uninformed, uncurious, and unyielding, is messianic in pursuing the goals of his three leading constituencies: the religious right, big business and neoconservatives. With few exceptions, the interests of these groups have been served so effectively that the result for America is nothing less than the attempted rolling back of the progressive gains of the past century.
As the public begins a yearlong dialogue about whether to return this president to office, The Book on Bush is an invaluable resource that exposes plutocracy posing as patriotism and, in area after area, the encroachment of radical conservatism into a moderate country. Its unsparing yet readable critique will enable readers to understand how Bush has again and again said one thing while doing another, offering "compassionate" language to mask his "conservative" policies. As the authors explain, it is these policies that have turned the world against us, shifted trillions in wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest 1 percent, and refused to recognize global warming.
If you are interested in your families, your neighborhoods, and your country, you owe it to yourself to understand what George W. Bush is doing for us, and to us. In what is certain to be one of the most closely contested elections in decades, there will be no more important voice than a book that steps beyond partisan headlines to figure out who truly benefits, who loses, and why.