BUSHWHACKED by Molly Ivins

BUSHWHACKED

Life in George W. Bush’s America

KIRKUS REVIEW

Dubya is taking the nation to hell in a handbasket with poisonous policies that here get shot like skeet.

Not everyone gets fed from the same trough in this administration, says peerless rabble-rouser Ivins (You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You, 1998, etc.) with co-author Dubose. The wealthy, abetted by a courtier press corps and the acolytes of regulatory agencies, as well as by the executive branch, get served from a bottomless trough of monetary reward. When it comes down to it, suggest these genuinely populist authors, the whole question “is about who’s getting screwed, and about who’s doing the screwing.” Now that Bush has brought a low-tax, low-service, no-regulation state to Washington, the screwer is the government and the screwee every citizen who can’t claim a six-figure income. No airy abstractionists, the wry and tart Ivins and Dubose are thorough enough to keep us enraged, and they put a human face on suffering to exemplify the effects of bad policy: there are insults and attacks on individuals, along with Hammurabian reminders that law was meant to protect the powerless from the powerful. The writers hold the feet of campaign financing to the fire, as they do with crony capitalism, and they cover the de-funding of superfund sites, the axing of EPA administrators who buck the agency’s sorry recent legacy, and the crushing of OSHA’s influence. “Would you like some shit to go with your quarter pounder?,” they ask—and they’re not kidding. They cite the nasty underpinnings of faith-based initiatives but also mention people with a few units (“that’s Texan for a hundred mil”) who do good with their bounty, like B. Rapaport, an 84-year-old Jewish socialist from Waco, who recognizes a societal debt when he sees one.

A world without Ivins would be a much poorer, much less-informed place.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 2003
ISBN: 0-375-50752-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2003




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