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Shrub : The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush Paperback – October 10, 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Vintage Books ed edition (October 10, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375757147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375757143
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #401,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

"Youthful political reporters are always told there are three ways to judge a politician," write Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose in Shrub. "The first is to look at the record. The second is to look at the record. And third, look at the record." The record under scrutiny in this brief, informative book belongs to one George W. Bush--dubbed "Shrub" by Ivins--governor of Texas and 2000 presidential hopeful. These two veteran journalists know how politics are played in Texas and they've done their homework, writing a comprehensive examination of Bush's professional and political life that's a lively read, to boot. And if the title alone doesn't convey their particular slant, perhaps the following caveat from the introduction will: "If, at the end of this short book, you find W. Bush's political résumé a little light, don't blame us. There's really not much there. We have been looking for six years."

Beginning with his admission to the Texas National Guard during the Vietnam War (where he bypassed a waiting list of about 100,000), the authors go on to deconstruct his losing congressional bid, his failed career as an oil executive, and his role as managing partner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, revealing how he was helped every step of the way by wealthy and influential friends of the family. Ever popular, Dubya has always been good at rounding up powerful players to bankroll a variety of ventures, including political campaigns. For this reason, explain the authors, along with his lineage and social status, Bush's primary allegiance is to the business community. While his speeches may deal with the "entertainment issues" of "God, guns, and gays," Bush is a "wholly owned subsidiary of corporate America," they write. They further point out that Texas ranks near the bottom of the nation in terms of a number of social categories, such as poverty, health insurance for children, and pollution, spearing the governor for his less-than-compassionate conservatism.

Shrub is not a complete Bush whacking, though. The authors laud the governor's record on education, in which he has managed to raise standards, push local control of schools, and launch a successful reading campaign. They also cite his wooing of the Hispanic vote and his ability to bridge the gap between the Christian right and the economic conservatives within the Republican party as evidence of true political acumen, though they maintain he lacks a penchant for actual governing: "From the record, it appears that he doesn't know much, doesn't do much and doesn't care much about governing." Bush has admitted that he dislikes reading, particularly about policy issues, and that he hates meetings and briefings, causing the authors to wonder, "The puzzle of Bush is why someone with so little interest in or attention for policy, for making government work, would want the job of president, or even governor."

Love him or leave him, Shrub leaves much to consider about the man who would be president. And it can be read in about a day. --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Colorful, popular and very Texan syndicated columnist Ivins (Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?) takes on Republican front-runner "Dubya" Bush in this short, informative, fun and obviously partisan political biography. The book is designed to make liberal readers laugh (and vote) and to make moderates change their minds. Behind the down-home style and tasty jokes, Ivins and DuBose (who edits the Texas Observer) lay out plenty of well-documented dirt on GWB's career--though it isn't nose candy they're after: instead, the authors make a case that the affable governor has climbed ladders, traded favors, bent rules and enriched himself, without doing much for the people he governs. W.'s oil ventures "lost more than $2 million of other people's money," netted him $840,000 and tied him to international banking scandals, say the authors. Former Texas governor Ann Richards, plus settlements from tobacco litigation, they say, brought the state the fiscal well-being for which W. takes credit. The authors claim that he's spent his own term repaying political favors, "protect[ing] major air polluters," ending successful drug treatment programs, hurting the working poor and executing the mentally retarded. For Ivins and DuBose, "Dubya's" real accomplishments--besides his last name--lie in his sense of political timing and positioning: while his views make him "a CEO's wet dream," his manner, his often-touted religious beliefs and his savvy advisers help him appeal to "gay-bashing gun-toters" too. Ivins combines a liberal worldview, a sense of the ridiculous and a just-folks delivery--and enough work like hers might just derail the Bush train. But don't bet on it: "This guy is not just lucky: if they tried to hang him, the rope would break." First serial to Time magazine. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

220 of 246 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
One of the things that so often distinguishes Molly Ivins from her D.C. counterparts is that she consistently recognizes that the public OUT there is not necessarily the public DOWN there. In Shrub, her latest opus, Ivins takes a good hard look at the record of Texas governor George W. Bush. Her painstaking assesment of the often Byzantine politics of "The Greatest State" and Bush's ascension to the Governor's office provides readers with a view of the candidate rarely glimpsed in other organs of the media. From land deals to environmental policy and from welfare reform to tort reform, the book examines both the games and the players in Bush's rise to national prominence. The hard facts about Bush's military service and his dealings within the world of Texas oil are reason enough to read the book. They are also proof that the truth is far often more interesting (and amusing) than even the most bizarre fiction. Ivins been nominated at least twice for the Pulitzer Prize. Read Shrub and see why.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Scott Swift on March 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I had never heard of Molly Ivans before reading Shrub. I thank her for this quick, easy to follow, read. I received her book compliments of a pal who questioned my voting for Gov. Bush. I began reading with total skepticism but eventually accepted that I voted in total ignorance (not the first time unfortunately). I urge anyone who is truly seeking to be an informed voter to purchase this book. IT SHOULD BE REQUIRED READING FOR ALL VOTERS. You'll quickly see through the rhetoric you've heard in television ads and shake your head in wonder. Given that this man was handed the baton to be our next leader, I'm terribly offended that we haven't heard more about his coattail accomplishments and seedy record, especially where children and lawsuits are concerned. Now when I hear him or one of his allies say "tort reform" I scream at the TV! Clinton is an embarrassment but even he hasn't been personally bailed out by the taxpayers. Yet. God help this country!
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71 of 78 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Political columnist Molly Ivins is well-known as a "liberal gadfly" in Texas, and so it's hardly surprising that her political biography of George W. Bush paints an unrelentingly unflattering picture of Dubya. However, in critiquing the accomplishments (or lack of same) of George the Younger, Ivins writes with grace and wit, and without undue rancor toward her political opponent. She lets the facts speak for themselves. The result is a highly readable, entertaining, and yet clearly disturbing book. How is it possible that someone so eminently unqualified can be so close to becoming the next President of the United States?
The story Ivins tells is one that is a damning indictment of the current U.S. political system. George W. Bush was hand-picked by monied corporate interests some time ago to be groomed as a potential "capitalist tool," a figurehead politician who will do their bidding unquestionably while possessing the personality traits essential to appealing to a broad spectrum of voters. It's the stuff out of which bad Hollywood movies are made, and yet it's real. Consequently, although there is much wry humor in Ivins' narrative regarding how this ne'er-do-well, pampered inheritor of the Bush political legacy, the story she weaves is also frightening.
What I found particularly disturbing was Bush's indifference toward the natural environment. His lack of commitment to protecting the health of Texans from pollution is incredible. Given the high level of support that Americans overall have expressed for strong environmental laws, this issue alone ought to be sufficient to disqualify Dubya from the presidency.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By G. Beason on August 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Having read these reviews well after I read the book, I have had a chance to look at some of the claims.
To the criticism that the book makes challenging or verifying their facts difficult, this is somewhat true. I checked out several statistics, especially the ones on the environment. Most I found easily verified. I took the anonymous sources with a grain of salt. However, to say this book is without facts, without support, is willful misreading.
Living in Dallas, I've watched the corporate media at work, and it's hardly a myth. The Belo Corporation is unabashedly pro-Bush:
+ Reports on Bush are extremely favorable. (In one week of watching channel 8 evening news, I counted 8 Bush stories to 1 Gary Mauro story during the recent governor's race.)
+ For many months, the Dallas News website had links to the Bush campaign site. They did not provide links to opponents' sites.
Sometimes, contrary opinions do make their way out of the Belo media outlets. But the overwhelming presentation from Belo (which owns several Texas newspapers--including the Dallas Morning News--, the Texas Cable News network, and television stations) is that Bush should be president. Consider too the Center for Media & Public Affairs analysis: Bush has been treated more often and more favorably by the news media than Gore.
It's in this environment that this book is refreshing. It's an approachable examination of recorded actions and outcomes, not "talking head" summaries of sound bites and propaganda that pass for political analysis.
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