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A Devastating And Compelling Indictment

October 16, 2003

by Jeff Koopersmith

Review: David Corn's "The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception"

David Corn, political editor of The Nation, has gifted us a new and riveting book gaping at the lies, half-truths, and masquerades of President George W. Bush. "The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception" is an essential answer to who, what, where, when, why and how the United States has launched itself, in only a few years, on a path seemingly hell-bent for self-destruction.

At Amazon.com there are 210 books with the word "liar" in the title, 2,378 books with the word "lie" in the title and another couple hundred with the word "lying" in the title. It appears that lies and lying are nothing original. Yet, no other president in history has had seven books -- all labeling him an almost pathological liar -- published within months of each other.

Corn joins six reliable writers recent books have focused on the misdeeds of the present administration. The writers include Al Franken, whose serious but entertaining "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right" was propelled to bestseller status by one of the book's subjects, FOX News Channel's Bill O'Reilly; Christopher Scheer, who focuses on the Middle East in "The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us about Iraq"; Joe Conason's elouqent compilation, "Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth"; Thierry Meyssan's "9/11: The Big Lie"; the brilliant "Bushwhacked" by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose; and a fresh book by guerilla filmmaker Michael Moore, "Dude, Where's My Country?"

This is the seventh, and perhaps the most significant, examination of the President's pretenses, and unquestionably the most damaging to the White House, as Corn leads the reader not only through Mr. Bush's lies relating to the military escapade in Iraq and terrorism, but through the entire range of his agenda -- including his stated falsehoods regarding education, neoconservative Republican politics, the 2000 presidential campaign, tax policy, and the President's relationships with big business con artists -- with he himself among them.

Likewise, this author has a book in the works, not specifically about George W. Bush, but which includes a chapter on the President, originally with the working title -- Big Lies, Big Liars, then changed to the "Neoconservative Media and Politics -- Hitler's Big Lie Theory in Practice." Will this be the eighth or the eightieth book marveling at American's gullibility and Mr. Bush's penchant for pernicious prevarication? Or, are each and every one these authors, including me, barmy or propagandists?

Are seven books calling the President a liar inadvertent?

I do not think so. Books labeling the President a liar are now published profusely, and not by publishers known only to print left wing party line.

The facts, no matter how you parse them, support Mr. Corn's astonishing opening sentence:

"George W. Bush is a liar."

Keep in mind that these six simple words were written by a national political editor with a White House press pass.

Mr. Corn, and others with courage who dare write about President Bush's penchant to turn his back on the truth, have much to lose if they evidence naughtiness or pen their own lies in these studies of this president. For this reason alone, American voters should make an effort to read and to understand the impact of not only Mr. Bush's lies, but those of the advisors around him who peddle deceit to the Oval Office in what seems a fire sale of falsehood. Educators should also introduce the facts as presented by Mr. Corn into their lesson plans.

Mr. Corn's style is simple, elegant, and devastating. Yet the neoconservative press -- which is the majority press -- has predictably panned the well-outlined and heavily-supported three-hundred-plus pages laying out a case that Mr. Bush is in dire need of some mendacity management.

Don't believe them. Corn's book is a stunning exposť and a must read by any earnest voter before Election Day, November 2004.

I have only one small grievance with regard to David Corn's book: it loses some of its punch born of the author's preference for honesty, and in pursuing it perhaps too earnestly to present a true "fair and balanced" picture of politicians who lie.

Mr. Corn may have spent too much time comparing lies of other Presidents with Mr. Bush's implausible whoppers -- which results perhaps in a corresponding psychological shrug from already conservative voters along the lines of, "Well, see that, they all do it."

David Brooks, the most recent prominent conservative journalist who is now notably writing for the New York Times as well as presenting his rightisided view for PBS's NewsHour, demonstrates the problem of Mr. Corn's try for evenhandedness best:

"Corn, whose weekly's October 13 cover depicts Bush's with a long Pinocchio nose, concedes in his book that 'a liar in the White House is not a remarkable development. Most presidents lie, many brazenly and with impunity.'"

Thus, Mr. Corn has given the ultra-right an out -- a reason to "spin" based on his own attacks. That is not what voters need at this moment in history. They need a wake up call.

However, Mr. Corn well redeems this soft-pedal with his carefully crafted and well-thought-through manuscript that will leave voters on both sides of the aisle wondering aloud whether President Bush and his minions are worthy of another four years as leaders of the free world -- for freedom's underlying principle is, of course, truth.

And for that reason, "The Lies of George W. Bush" is a must-read for any American concerned with the direction the United States is taking, both in foreign and domestic policy.


American Politics Journal E-mail Edition Copyright (C) 2003 American Politics Journal Publications, Inc All rights reserved. ISSN No. 1523-1690
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