In a series of columns and essays that renowned journalist and former presidential adviser Sidney Blumenthal wrote in the three years following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a unifying theme began to emerge: that Bush, billed by himself and by many others as a conservative, is in fact a radical--more radical than any president in American history. In ...
In a series of columns and essays that renowned journalist and former presidential adviser Sidney Blumenthal wrote in the three years following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a unifying theme began to emerge: that Bush, billed by himself and by many others as a conservative, is in fact a radical--more radical than any president in American history. In "How Bush Rules," Blumenthal provides a trenchant and vivid account of the progression of Bush's radical style--from his reliance on one-party rule and his unwillingness to allow internal debate to his elevation of the power of the vice president. Taking readers through pivotal events such as the hunt for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the rise of the foreign-policy neoconservatives, Abu Ghraib, the war on science, the Jack Abramoff scandal, and the catastrophic mishandling of Hurricane Katrina, the book tracks a consistent policy that calls for the president to have complete authority over independent federal agencies and to remain unbound by congressional oversight or even the law. In an incisive and powerful introduction, Blumenthal argues that these radical actions are not haphazard, but deliberately intended to fundamentally change the presidency and the government. He shows not only the historical precedents for radical governing, but also how Bush has taken his methods to unique extremes. With its penetrating account of a critical new era in American leadership, "How Bush Rules" is a devastating appraisal of the Bush presidency.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-07-10 Before joining the Clinton White House as a senior adviser, Blumenthal was a political correspondent for magazines like Vanity Fair and the New Yorker; with this collection of articles published in Salon and the British Guardian, he returns to his journalist roots. Because the majority of the columns are only two or three pages long, it's difficult for Blumenthal to create a sustained argument. The effect is more like a string of scattershot reactions to current events out of which recurring themes occasionally emerge. But even these themes-the incompetence of Bush's closest advisers, the president's voracious assumption of executive powers, the creation of American gulags-fall short of cohering into a pointed attack, despite Blumenthal's best efforts to assert "a crisis over democracy." Instead, his thoughts wander to matters like U.S./U.K. relations or the decline of the columnist Robert Novak, while explosive topics like Vice-President Cheney's unprecedented powers get lost in the shuffle. Thus, Blumenthal's most heated rhetoric, like his claim of "a revolt within the military against Bush," winds up feeling overblown. The effect is especially frustrating given his keen observations of microscopic political detail-it's too bad this collection doesn't add up to the sum of its parts. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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