The Chameleon President: The Curious Case of George W. Bush

By Clarke Rountree | Go to book overview

Introduction

Imagine we took some of the worst events in American history and crammed them into a span of eight years: the Great Depression, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Vietnam War, the Red Scare, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and the Alien and Sedition Acts (passed in 1798 by President John Adams and used to quash the constitutional rights of his political enemies). For many Americans, that’s what eight years of George W. Bush’s administration felt like: We had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, the 9/11 attacks, a quagmire in an unnecessary war in Iraq, widespread fear of terrorism (bolstered and used for political purposes by Bush), Hurricane Katrina and the government’s pathetic response, and the Patriot Act, which also allowed the government to run roughshod over citizens’ rights. The only thing missing is the Civil War (unless the partisan warfare waged by the not-so-compassionate Bush, Tom Delay, and Trent Lott can be counted).

With Bush gone, we may now say, in the words of President Gerald Ford, “our long national nightmare is over.” Well, not “over” exactly, but the man who piloted (or perhaps “sunk”) our Ship of State is sitting on his porch in Crawford, Texas (or inside his gated community in Dallas) without a care in the world. (He always seemed too damnably chipper, even as he was steering us toward the icebergs—what few were left after he did nothing about global warming.)

This book is a postmortem on the ugly body of work known as George W. Bush’s presidency. It seeks to consider the role of Bush himself in this debacle and to discover what kind of man yields this kind of presidency. It draws upon the record itself and many interpretations of that record that

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The Chameleon President: The Curious Case of George W. Bush
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Chapter 1 - Not the Sharpest Tool in the Shed 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Callow Frat Boy 21
  • Chapter 3 - The Born-Again President 43
  • Chapter 4 - The Conservative Texan 67
  • Chapter 5 - The Man Who Would Be King 81
  • Chapter 6 - The Incredible Oedipal Bush 101
  • Chapter 7 - The Corporate Crony 121
  • Chapter 8 - The Evil President 145
  • Chapter 9 - Cheney’s Puppet 175
  • Chapter 10 - The Victim of Circumstances 201
  • Chapter 11 - The Far-Seeing Patriot 219
  • Conclusion - Would the Real George W. Bush Please Stand Up? 235
  • Notes 241
  • Index 275
  • About the Author 288
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