THE BUSH BETRAYAL

James Bovard, Author . Palgrave $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4039-6727-5

Writing from a libertarian perspective, Bovard (Terrorism and Tyranny , etc.) offers a fierce critique of the presidency of George W. Bush , focusing on restrictions on liberty and expansion of government. After 9/11, he writes, "[t]he simple solution was to increase the power of good—i.e., government—to vanquish evil." By the fourth chapter, Bovard has moved on to Bush's gyrations on free trade, notably steel tariffs. By the fifth, he's on to No Child Left Behind, arguing that home schooling surpasses government schooling. Bovard takes swipes at AmeriCorps (a wasteful way for Bush to invoke virtue, he says), subsidies for sugar (an industry that gives huge political contributions), the Medicare bill (far more expensive than advertised), the prison industry and the drug war. He asserts that Attorney General John Ashcroft has "effectively encouraged agencies to deny FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] requests" and points out abuses of 9/11 detainees in New York. Americans, Bovard concludes, should cease looking to a president as a savior and instead view him as a hired hand—though he doesn't exactly sketch out the boundaries of such limited government. The book, based on secondary sources, does not break much new ground. It is notable as a comprehensive attack on the administration from a less-often-heard place on the political spectrum. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/26/2004
Release date: 07/01/2004
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