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Bush Country: How Dubya Became a Great President While Driving Liberals Insane Hardcover – February 23, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (February 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312324723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312324728
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,071,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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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Customer Reviews

That and the guy can't seem to acknowledge BTW, I myself am not gay but see nothing wrong with it.
finulanu
Yes, Mr. Podhoretz's sub-title, "How Dubya Became a Great President While Driving Liberals Insane," is correct.
Tom Zampino
It focuses too much on defending against certain op-eds or fleeting anti-Bush ideas over the past few years.
William Franklin Jr.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Maggie on June 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
Three years on, with Podhoretz himself repudiating Bush's views, and with Bush's approval ratings hovering around 30%, it seems clear that Bush cannot be considered a "Great" anything, let alone a leader of the 21st Century. The failures of his Administration are too lengthy and obvious--not to mention depressing--to document. It is small wonder that this hagiography has plummeted down the Amazon sales list like a lead brick dropped from a plane.

In years to come, I suspect that many conservatives will attempt to explain that they really, truly didn't like Bush, or trust him, or believe that he was a "real" conservative in the Reagan mold--we can already see the revisionism beginning as I write this. But when there are books like this out there, it's going to be mighty difficult for Podhoretz and his ilk to run away from their record. I suspect, however, that they will try anyway.
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43 of 54 people found the following review helpful By concerned citizen on February 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Podhoretz's attempt to portray the Bush administration in sunny optimistic terms is partly a desperate bid to recapture the fabled halcyon glow of the Reagan years. It falls flat, because let's face it, the Bush administration is pretty darn nihilistic. It takes extreme mental hopscotch to try and feel that same optimism that Podhoretz apparently does. To give the devil his due, Podhoretz does acknowledge that 53 million American voters-- the majority as it were--beg to differ.

Podhoretz is all sport in his mythmaking. Prince Hal was born in Connecticut, but perceiving the hostility to the North in his new-found land of Texas, he quickly adopts the walk and the talk. Hal cut his teeth in politics, as a member of the "Scrub Team." He was responsible for enforcing loyalty to poppy's administration. Although Bush worked hard to establish his own identity, he doesn't like "psychobabble," i.e. self-reflection. The son was liberated by his father's defeat. No more moderation. As liaison to the Christian Conservatives, Bush forged bonds, assuring the righteous ones that one day he'd "reciprocate by hewing to their views on social issues like abortion."

For the most part, Podhoretz avoids the Anne Coulter School of partisanship. He's more insidious. He likes to plant seeds of slander here and there, sometimes in the midst of some seemingly innocuous statements, e.g. "The view from Paris is, as has been the case so often, echoed by Leftists in the United States." By inference, dissenters are all leftists, whose ideas contain the germ of foreign thinking, rather than the old-fashioned, corn-pone, home-spun, heimat homilies of the righteous right (when in need of a good propaganda thrust, always resort to xenophobia & commie-baiting.
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45 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Ernest Gundel on February 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Until now, it seemed the anti-Bush crowd had all the big books out there. I thought "An End To Evil" would be the first good defense of Bush, but despite an impressive pedigree, it was too preachy and narrow in focus. I had low expectations for Bush Country, and did not much appreciate the subtitle. But after a few pages, I was hooked, and found myself blind-sided by an exceptional repudiation of Bush haters, leaving no anti-Bush charge unanswered.
Liberals will not appreciate this book (especially the way "liberal" ends up being synonymous with "wrong"). They will be irked by almost every Bush-loving sentence. But they will be hard pressed to dispute anything this book says.
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54 of 73 people found the following review helpful By William Franklin Jr. on July 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
First off, full disclosure:
I am slightly right of center. I am a Bush fan. I worked on the first Bush campaign. I plan on voting for Bush in 2004.
I bought this book because Podhoretz wrote such a scathing insider tell-all book (Hell of a Ride: Backstage at the White House Follies 1989-1993) about Bush's father, George Herbert Walker Bush, in whose administration Podhoretz worked, so I figured that gives Bush Country some automatic semblance of credibility. In other words, he is willing to tell it like it is and call it like he sees it, as demonstrated by his former criticism of Bush "41." Sure, he clearly has a pro-Bush agenda in this book, but I figured his previous Bush book gives him some wiggle room there--- and it does. But that's not what is wrong with this book.
The book does a decent job making the case against those who are against President Bush, but it doesn't really strike out to make the case for President Bush, independent of those criticisms. It focuses too much on defending against certain op-eds or fleeting anti-Bush ideas over the past few years. For example, it gives the "Bush is stupid" argument credibility by spending so many words disproving it. And it fails to address entire lines of argument put forth by the slew of books that have hit stores in the past year or so, lines of argument that are honestly pretty easy to anticipate and shoot down. It also contradicts itself a few times, and gets a few things just plain wrong in my humble opinion.
For example, why try to shoot down the "Bush is a cowboy" line of anti-Bush argument by claiming that Bush is a land owner and therefore would be in conflict with the lifestyle of the cowboy? That is just so petty and shallow. Why get into that kind of muck? It's pointless.
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