New York Post
columnist John Podhoretz has equal amounts of love for George W. Bush and scorn for Bush's prominent liberal critics. In this energetic defense of the president, he paints a picture of Bush as being much cagier and politically clever than some of the more well-known voices on the left give him credit for. As Podhoretz describes it, Bush's classic maneuver is to take up a position thought to be unpopular among Washington insiders, such as not one but two rounds of sizeable tax cuts. He then rallies public support behind the idea, thereby outflanking possible opposition, scoring political victories, and increasing his political capital. Bush Country
presents chapters on what the author says are some of the most common "crazy liberal ideas" about the President and then sets out to disprove them. But by using the most incendiary descriptions possible ("Bush is a puppet," "Bush is a moron," and "Bush wants to bankrupt the government") to describe the ideas, Podhoretz makes the disproving that much easier. And one does get the sense that he's trying to eat his cake and have it too as he complains about liberals' hatred and viciousness even as he attacks them right back and calls them crazy. But Podhoretz does not necessarily march in lockstep with every Republican official. He has much scorn for the first President Bush and talks openly about his initial misgivings as "Dubya" rose to power and prominence. The book is at its best when describing the ways in which the son has made efforts to learn from the father's mistakes and distance himself from George H.W. Bush's legacy. Written with plenty of passion and humor, Bush Country
will likely please Bush supporters who have watched the president take hits from the Al Franken, Michael Moore, and others on the left. --John Moe
From Publishers Weekly
Over the past three years, liberals have been far from shy in expressing their distaste for George W. Bush. Now conservative commentator Podhoretz (Hell of a Ride) offers up a thorough defense of the president as well as a scathing attack on his most vocal detractors. Podhoretz takes a series of the more popular attacks on the presidentâ"what he calls "crazy liberal ideas"â"and debunks them one by one. These include "Bush is a moron," "Bush is a fanatic," "Bush is Hitler" and "Bush is a liar," charges he cites as being made by some leading liberal writers: Paul Krugman, Michael Lind, Maureen Dowd and Todd Gitlin, among others. Podhoretz claims that the president is, in fact, an intelligent, savvy, principled and honest leader, who responded to the September 11 tragedy with inspiring courage and determination. Bush's presidency will be remembered as "one of the most consequential... in the nation's history." Podhoretz even claims that Bush is "the best presidential speaker" since Franklin Roosevelt. Moreover, he says, the intensity of the Bush-bashing cannot be attributed to "mere partisan rancor," but is the result of Bush's defiant and infuriating success as president. Podhoretz's book is polemical, written for a specific niche: conservative political junkies who relish cutthroat partisan politics. Considered in this light, the book is well done: provocative, witty, in-your-face and honest.
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