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The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception Hardcover – September 30, 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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The Best Worst President: What the Right Gets Wrong About Barack Obama by Mark Hannah
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As Washington editor for the Nation, Corn has had his eyes and ears open for what he construes as lies from the Bush White House, and here he has assembled what many will see as an impressive body of evidence. Corn states that Bush has "mugged the truth-not merely in honest error, but deliberately, consistently and repeatedly to advance his career and his agenda." Corn carefully documents alleged falsehoods dating back to the campaign trail covering a full range of issues-from Enron to education, global warming to stem cell research. But this is no simplistic anti-Bush rant; it also faults the media for not underlining the apparent lies and the public for not caring enough.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

It's getting a little hard to find a book about George W. Bush that doesn't have the word lie in the title. First came Joe Conanson's Big Lies [BKL Ag 03], which was followed by Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars That Tell Them [BKL S 15 03]. Corn's take on the topic is straightforward and chronological. No raised voices here. The longtime editor of the Nation, Corn sets out to build a serious case against Bush in which the president's own words indict him. Beginning with the 2000 campaign ("I am a uniter, not a divider"), Corn examines Bush's record on many issues--the environment, health, the war on terror--all referenced to the president's words, e.g., "The bottom end of the economic ladder receives the biggest percentage [tax] cuts." Obviously, how one views the Bush presidency will color one's reaction to the conclusions drawn here, and though Corn sources much of his material within the text, it is too bad there are no notes appended. It is also unfortunate for Corn that so many books about Republican dissembling have come out lately (others include those by Molly Ivins and Eric Alterman). This is a judicious and readable offering, but the target audience may feel they've heard it all before. Still, Corn is sure to do a round of talking-head appearances, so there may be enough buzz to create demand. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (September 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400050669
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400050666
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,610,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
For those of us who have devoured the recent books outlining the depradations of the Bush Administration such as those by Vidal, Ivins, Franken, and Moore you will find little revelatory here. However, David Corn is a fine journalist and serious scholar with evident professional integrity. So, what is rewarding about "The Lies of George W. Bush" is its comprehensive, well documented, and scholarly approach -- making it above reproach in terms of research and accuracy.
Corn's basic point and most poignant observation is at the book's beginning. There is nothing unique about Bush as a politician being a liar; in that respect he is in good company. However, he campaigned on a self righteous, moralistic platform asserting that he would maintain clean campaigns and straightforward, honest leadership. It was on this basis that he proclaimed he was entitled to the mantle of leadership rather than Al Gore, whose occasional bending of the truth the Republicans branded reprehensible and immoral. His constituents also assert that unbending commitment to the truth and morality is their quest, yet they relentlessly lie in their ruthless quest for power and profit as they trample the rights and exploit the majority of Americans, and endanger the safety of the planet.
Probably the best, and most telling chapter in the book deals with Bush's "White Collar Lies". He comprehensively outlines Bush's violations of SEC regulations, outright lies, and theft during his involvement in Harken Energy and substantial profits from insider trading, which foreshadowed the later Enron scandal that mirrored this scandal. Corn skillfully compares the two and, in an understated fashion, points out the glaring irony.
Corn very effectively and eloquently outlines that George W.
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Format: Hardcover
I completely agree with David Corn's assessment of George W. Bush's struggle with personal honesty, and would go a step further and insist that is his most probably the most dishonest president in the history of our nation. When he writes, "So constant is [Bush's] fibbing that a history of his lies offers a close approximation of the history of his presidential tenure, " he makes as profound a statement about the nature of this administration as is possible. Moreover, I found myself virtually never disagreeing with any statement that he makes in the course of the entire book. Also, as one of the key figures in covering the current (as I write this) story of two White House senior aides blowing the cover of Joseph Wilson's CIA agent wife, I am grateful to his superb journalist efforts over the years.
So why am I not thrilled with the book? Because it is more or less just a laundry list of lies, and not a great deal more. It is a one-note song. My complaint is not with the book that it is, but with the book that it should have been. After cataloging Bush's lies for over three hundred pages, I think only the most partisan of individuals could deny that Bush has a problem with truth telling. The man is patently dishonest, and the book performs a valuable service by articulating all the ways that he engages in dishonesty.
But at the end of the book, I found myself dissatisfied in many ways. Why this enormous reliance on disinformation in the Bush White House? Does it originate from him or from his advisors or from some ongoing movement in the Republican right wing (I believe it is all three)? What does this reliance on distortion and misleading the public say about American culture?
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Format: Hardcover
Though I think the author overstates some things in the book, it is effective in showing a pattern of deception with George W. Bush that preceded his advent to the Whitehouse and characterizes his administration today.

What is most alarming about the book is the lesson that lying actually can work. With a propaganda machine of neocon pundits running interference for him, this President has taken more liberties with the truth than even Nixon.

One thing that would have greatly strengthened the book was the use of footnotes. I find it likely that the author has good sources for his statements, but the lack of footnotes severely weakens book as a means of clearly showing the lies told by George W. Bush.
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Format: Hardcover
The only thing wrong with this book is that there is no chance that more than a minuscule percentage of the electorate will read it, and most of them will be the already knowledgeable.
Journalist David Corn, who writes for The Nation and other publications in addition to having appeared on many TV and radio news shows, including NPR and Fox News, begins the book with the words, "George W. Bush is a liar. He has lied large and small. He has lied directly and by omission."

Corn obviously had to get that off his chest and out in the open since that is something he and all the other reporters who have followed the career of George W. know only too well; and yet it is something they have seldom felt free to say in so many words.

Corn recalls all the major Bush prevarications, from the weapons of mass destruction that weren't there, to the tax cuts that emptied the treasury for his buds, back to the 1990 Harken Energy (a kind of mini-Enron) insider trading scandal that saved George W. from what would have been another business failure. He was on the board of directors of Harken when he sold off his shares two months before the company's stock took a 20% nose dive after its losses became public. Bush denied trading on inside information. Because the SEC consisted of mostly friends of his father, George W. was given a clean bill of heath. Imagine what would have happened to him if his name had been, say, Martha Stewart.

In the final chapter, "Conclusion: How He Gets Away with It (So Far)" Corn attempts to explain why Bush's lies haven't hurt him. He blames the press for not having the gumption (maybe I should just say "guts") to contradict the president or to print the unvarnished truth themselves.
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