Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics

Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics

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by Glenn Greenwald

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A takedown of the GOP’s deceitful propaganda machine from the hugely popular blogger of’s Unclaimed Territory and the author of the New York Times bestsellers How Would a Patriot Act? and A Tragic Legacy

Long since Americans were wooed by images of Ronald Reagan astride a horse, complete with cowboy hat and rugged good


A takedown of the GOP’s deceitful propaganda machine from the hugely popular blogger of’s Unclaimed Territory and the author of the New York Times bestsellers How Would a Patriot Act? and A Tragic Legacy

Long since Americans were wooed by images of Ronald Reagan astride a horse, complete with cowboy hat and rugged good looks, the Republican Party has used a John Wayne mythology to build up its candidates and win elections. Their marketing scheme of evoking brave, courageous, heroic warriors has been so persuasive and strikes such a patriotic nerve, that many citizens have voted based on this manipulative imagery even when they’ve flat out disagreed with the GOP’s positions on key issues.

Glenn Greenwald puts this bogus GOP mythology under microscopic critique and successfully argues that none of these men is, in fact, a brave, strong moral warrior—far from it. Rather, most have dodged military duty, have strings of broken marriages and affairs, and live decadent, elitist lives, which they so ruthlessly condemn Democrats for doing. Such false archetypes—that GOP leaders are exclusively fit to command the military, represent traditional family values, and are fiscally restrained and responsible because they’re just regular folk like us—are so firmly entrenched in our culture as to allow the GOP to sit back and let their time-tested marketing ploy spin itself silly while avoiding debate on real issues. When they actually do voice opinions, it’s nothing more than a smear campaign of the supposed weakness and elitism of the Democrats.
To prevent this tired marketing scheme from succeeding again, Greenwald takes off the gloves and knocks down the hoaxes and myths, exposing the tactics the right-wing machine uses to drown out both reality and consideration of real issues. But he also calls on Democrats to shake off the defensive posture (“We love America too,” “We support the troops too,” “We also believe in God”) and start attacking the Republican candidates for the hypocrites they, in truth, are.

The first book to dissect the Republican Cult of Personality and leave it openly exposed in its unabashed, shameful depravity, Great American Hypocrites is a deeply necessary call-out to Democrats to attack the GOP with their competitor’s very own weapons.

Ever since the cowboy image of Ronald Reagan was sold to Americans, the Republican Party has used the same John Wayne imagery to support its candidates and take elections. We all know how they govern, but
the right-wing propaganda machine is very adept at hijacking debate
and marketing their candidates as effectively as the Marlboro Man.
For example:

Myth: The Republican nominee is an upstanding, regular guy who shares the values of the common man.
Reality: He divorced his first wife in order to marry a young multimillionaire heiress whose family then funded his political career.

Myth: Republicans are brave and courageous.
Reality: It’s a party filled with chicken hawks and draft dodgers.

Myth: Republicans are strong on defense and will keep us safe.
Reality: They prey on fears, and their endless wars make America far less secure.

Myth: The Republicans are the party of fiscal restraint and small, limited
Reality: Soaring deficits, unchecked presidential power, and an increasingly invasive surveillance state are par for their course.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

With this provocative book, Greenwald, a former constitutional lawyer and author of A Tragic Legacyand How Would a Patriot Act, purports to expose the "rank myth-making and exploitation of cultural, gender and psychological themes" by the Republican Party. The author begins his attack by targeting John Wayne, whom he sees as a template for right-wing notions of "American courage and conservative manliness." Wayne's avoidance of military service and his string of divorces, both at odds with his public image, are emblematic in this account of a fundamental hypocrisy implicit in conservative mythologies. Greenwald goes on to argue that prominent Republicans from Ronald Reagan to Mitt Romney display the same hypocrisy in their public ideologies and personal lives. Shouldering much of the blame are the press and the media, including Matt Drudge, Ann Coulter, Chris Matthews and even Maureen Dowd, all of whom propagate popular attitudes about virile Republicans and effeminate Democrats. Despite the antipathy the author feels for Coulter, his writing is much like hers. More a partisan screed than a reasoned argument meant to persuade undecided readers, this repetitive text frequently devolves into personal attacks and vast generalizations. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Attorney-turned-blogger Greenwald's hypocrites-e.g., John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, Rush Limbaugh, and the Bush administration-have been thus labeled before. Greenwald's examination of them as marketers who successfully created images of themselves and their causes through use of favorite American themes (e.g., the rugged cowboy, the thirst for freedom) isn't all that new either. He's caustic but supports his points with sound research. The results may well have appeal in public libraries.

—Donna L. Davey, Margaret Heilbrun
From the Publisher
"The best book I've read on how the media works since Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. . . .If you want to understand how politics and the media work today, how the Republican party has betrayed the principles it purports to defend, and how opinion is manipulated by appeals to fear, prejudice, and other irrational emotions, Great American Hypocrites is indispensable.
"You won't be able to put it down, and you'll never read the paper or watch the news the same way after."
—Barry Eisler

“Those who ignore what Greenwald has to say act at our collective peril.”
—John W. Dean, former Nixon White House counsel and author of Conservatives Without Conscience

“There are few patriots on Capitol Hill. You can count them on your hand. . . . Glenn Greenwald, constitutional lawyer, is one such patriot.”

“One of the smartest and most important new voices to emerge in politics in years.”
—Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, founder of Daily Kos and coauthor of Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics

"Glenn Greenwald has done it again.  He’s about to release another great book. . . . From the myth that John Wayne was a great American hero (he was a WWII draft dodger), to how the media perpetuates false images of right-wingers (so much for the “liberal media”) . . . to the falsehood that Republicans bring us smaller government, Glenn lays it out beautifully."
—Alan Colmes

"I rely on Glenn Greenwald, above all, for understanding the assaults by this administration on the Constitution, and for pointing the way toward regaining a republic.  There's no one whose work has impressed me more."
—Daniel Ellsberg

"This book is written with such vicious joy that it is just really fun to read....I'm always amazed by the clarity of [Greenwald's] writing and his ability to indict the conservative mindset with well-articulated factual patterns."
—Matt Stoller, Open Left

"The peerless Glenn Greenwald."
—Josh Marshall

"One of the best political commentators out there . . .Unlike most other bloggers, Greenwald practices journalism . . . Few others are better than Greenwald at sussing out the accidental propaganda inflicted on us by the mainstream press"
The Village Voice

"Perhaps the most influential civil-liberties writer on the Web"
The American Prospect

"Blogosphere superstar"
Mother Jones

"Among the most intelligent and widely read practitioners of blogging"

Product Details

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Meet the Author

GLENN GREENWALD is a former constitutional law attorney and now a contributing writer at Salon. His political reporting and analysis have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the American Conservative, numerous congressional reports, and various other publications.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
James Rogers More than 1 year ago
I agree with the premise of the book, but it's hard to slog through all the repetition and redundancy. This is not poorly written, it's just a good magazine article that the author tried to stretch into a book to make more money. Frankly, I got bored.
Stevenh More than 1 year ago
We need more of this stuff. The lunacy that pervades the media now is a giant wart on the USA.
It would be nice if some of our bigshot journalists had the courage to call these lunatics out for what they are. Cowards, traitors, hypocrites.
Thank you Glenn Greenwald.
MRETUTT More than 1 year ago
Every one (red and blue) should read this succinct expose.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Greenwald indicts the easily fooled press and the conservative right utilizing countless examples from the right wing truth fabrication machine and the laziness and incompetence of mainstream media. Those on the right will howl and fume at being called to the carpet while those on the left will howl and fume at the nightmare Greenwald illustrates with outrage and endless detail.
LLFL More than 1 year ago
Glenn Greenwald is dismissed, and dissed, by the GOP right wing. But the facts he relates make GOP labeling ring hollow. The singular great myth is that of the GOP tough guys, the macho men strong on military matters. Men like John Wayne, Ronald Reagan and George Bush II--none of whom ever served a single day in the military. The right wing disses as wimpish and weak men like George Bush I, Jimmy Carter and John Kerry--all of whom served honorably in the military. It this type of contrast between what is said and what is done by the right wing that makes for an enjoyable and eye-opening read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago