MR. BUSH'S WAR: Adventures in the Politics of Illusion by Stephen R. Graubard

MR. BUSH'S WAR: Adventures in the Politics of Illusion

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In a slashing jeremiad, Graubard (History/Brown; editor of Daedalus; co-editor, with Carol Gluck, of Showa, p. 1512) indicts George Bush for corrupting democracy by using rhetoric left over from WW II to ""infantilize"" the American people. Graubard interprets the political framing of the Gulf War as evidence of Bush's continued use of cold war strategies to manipulate public opinion, the news media, and the political system in his pursuit of reelection. According to the author, Bush had learned from Reagan ""the sorcerer"" how to manage the press and public opinion by inventing fables (like the Soviet Union as ""evil empire""), avoiding public scandal (Iran-contra), choosing battlegrounds (attacking Grenada and not Cuba), and changing positions as political winds shifted (suddenly embracing Gorbachev as a good friend). After showing how Bush supposedly used the same tactics before and during the Gulf War--during which Bush's political strategy, Graubard says, was to model himself on Winston Churchill--the author explains how these tactics may have damaged democratic government: They concentrate political power in the White House, he says, allowing the President to continue to dominate both at home and abroad through astute manipulation of symbols and images. Graubard offers no solutions to the perceived problem, and the tendentious quality of his writing will open few new eyes. But those who follow current events will appreciate his insights into how Bush's background may affect his presidential actions.

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1992
Page count: 175pp
Publisher: "Hill & Wang/Farrar, Straus & Giroux"