News & Reviews
Sidney Blumenthal has a message in book ‘How Bush Rules’ -- vote
Review by Michelle Simon
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS; 416 PAGES; $26.95
Since stepping back from a political career as a former assistant and
senior advisor to President Clinton, Sidney
Blumenthal has catalogued how the Bush Administration
systematically stripped Americans of their basic freedoms, evoked
trickery regarding the invasion of Iraq, and undermined one of the
country’s basic tenements: separation of the executive and legislative
branches. Blumenthal tackles these issues in his new book How Bush Rules: Chronicles of a Radical
Regime that Princeton University Press published in time for
this year’s heated midterm elections.
While George W. Bush seems to
have became the favorite target of political pundits in this election
year, Blumenthal’s work addresses some of its more disturbing legacies
denying the torture of prisoners in Abu Graib and Gitmo, lying about
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, dismantling social programs such
as social security, and its courting of the religious right -- before
Bush became every political hack’s favorite punching bag. Many of the
chapters were originally published way back in 2003.
Blumenthal salvaged much of How Bush Rules from columns he wrote for
the Guardian UK, and Salon.com. How Bush Rules, a
collection of essays Blumenthal wrote over the years of Bush’s
presidency, sometimes meanders from point to point. Still, he writes
about many defining moments of this administration that readers will
find familiar and worth revisiting.
One remarkable moment for me was this administration’s response to
Hurricane Katrina. First, in 2001, the Federal Emergency Management
Agency predicted that a major flood would hit New Orleans, yet federal
funding for the Army Corps of Engineers was drastically cut and
funneled into the war in Iraq, a failure that Blumenthal describes with
the accuracy of a sniper’s gunfire.
One amusing anecdote includes the White House giving press credentials
to a fake reporter who in real life was a gay prostitute, which
Blumental gloats is an example of how low the Administration is willing
to sink in order to manipulate the press. James Guckert, aka Jeff Gannon, was
given unlimited clearance by the Bush gang to help divert queries
during press conferences when questions from real reporters got too
heated. Guckert wasn’t subjected to the usual security checks from the
FBI as other reporters were.
Blumenthal’s analysis of the Bush regime and the Republicans is
thoughtful and concise, but his premise appears to say that if we just
got them out of office and voted for the Democrats everything would be
fine. What this country needs is a serious third party to oppose the
Republicans and the Democrats, who both are slaves to corporate greed.
Democrats do everything Republicans do; the main difference is they are
more sneaky about it.
Scale: 5 stars: Incredible!...
4 stars: Excellent... 3 stars: Good... 2 stars: Mediocre... 1 star:
Rating: 3 stars
Michelle Simon, a graduate of
Holy Names University, is an assistant director at a San Francisco Bay
Area university and a political activist. She still fits into her
Catholic high school uniform.
Back to News & Reviews Home