From Publishers Weekly
Partisan political writing generally enjoys the life expectancy of a weather report, but this collection of Kinsley's trenchant commentary is worth preserving. Kingsley has assembled 127 essays on the American political scene from the Clinton administration to the present. He eschews deep analysis in favor of poking fun at the foibles, evasions, contradictions and hypocrisies of American public figures and the media that feed off them, with occasional detours into his personal life. Inevitably, some pieces show their age, but readers will relish his skewering of the 2000 and 2004 elections. Kinsley is irresistible when he steps back from reporting to pose his trademark provocative—often humorous—questions: Why is it admirable for scientists to love science and businessmen to love business, but political candidates must proclaim how much they hate politics? Is Pat Robertson anti-Semitic or simply nuts? Does President Bush really
believe his claim that all Muslims and Jews are going to hell because they don't accept Jesus? While essays from recent years naturally feel more relevant, every essay in this collection sparkles with Kinsley's trademark brand of wit. (Apr.)
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Successor to Kinsley’s previous collection, Big Babies (1995), this volume gathers the best since then of the liberal pundit’s commentary, which appeared in Slate, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and elsewhere. Readers who believe President George W. Bush is a liar, stupid, or, in a typically backhanded Kinsleyism, “not a complete moron” can relive Bush’s iniquities. It was stem-cell research that provoked Kinsley’s sarcastic absolution of Bush from the Bush-is-dumb trope, but whether he advocated tax cuts, privatizing Social Security, invading Iraq, or appointing conservative judges, Bush and his policies come in for rarely remitting criticism from Kinsley. Politics dominates these pages, which occasionally give way to observations on journalistic ethics, the Internet’s impact on journalism, and now-forgotten headlines, for instance, the gambling addiction of moralist Bill Bennett. The Washington whirl also makes way for two personal pieces, which discuss his Parkinson’s disease and recent brain surgery. Health problems aside, Kinsley seems in fine fettle for continuing the liberal brief on the American scene. --Gilbert Taylor