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|Introduction: A False Restoration||1|
|1||A Dishonest Candidate||11|
|2||A Dishonest Campaign||33|
|4||Lying in Office||65|
|5||Tax Policy Cheat||79|
|8||Stem Cells and Star Wars||117|
|12||Selling a War||203|
|13||Return of the Tax Policy Cheat||241|
|Conclusion: How He Gets Away with It (So Far)||309|
Barnes & Noble.com: The Lies of George W. Bush comes out at a time when a slew of left-wing "anti-Bush" books are being published. What sets your book apart from the rest?
David Corn: Some of the other "anti-Bush" books target the entire right wing. I look at only Bush and his crew. I take their statements and policy explanations on critical issues -- the Iraq war, tax cuts, global warming, homeland security, corporate crime, missile defense, stem cell research, Afghanistan reconstruction, oil drilling in Alaska, education, and more -- and truth-test them. My aim was to do this in a straightforward, journalistic manner. I avoid gags, satire, and (for the most part) sarcasm. I compare Bush's assertions to the known facts. I report, you decide. I ignore the media war and the left-right face-offs.
B&N.com: Does George W. Bush lie more than previous presidents?
DC: I've been asked that a lot. My first response is that, in a way, it doesn't matter because he is the president we have now. But I understand such a response does not satisfy most people. So I note that I do think he has been a distinctive prevaricator for several reasons. First, he campaigned on the pledge that he would "restore" honesty and integrity to the Oval Office. So by lying he has broken one of his most prominent campaign promises. Second, he has been untruthful in office during a period when the American public and the world particularly need a president with rock-solid credibility. Third, he has built the two pillars of his presidency -- his large tax cuts and his invasion and occupation of Iraq -- on foundations composed partly of untruthful assertions.
B&N.com: Your book documents quite a few Bush lies. Has this administration deliberately lied to achieve its policy goals, or are the lies more a result of "damage control" when things go wrong?
DC: Both. I haven't added up the different types of untrue statements, but my hunch is more of the former than the latter. If you look at Bush's false statements on Iraq, his tax cuts, global warming, Social Security, energy policy, stem cell research, and the like, you will see that much of the time he and his aides are proactively putting forward false premises to win on policy fights. There are times when they resort to disingenuous statements in order to deal with bad news -- such as the still-missing WMDs in Iraq or the White House leak that revealed the identity of a CIA operative. But many of the key lies and untrue statements I document in the book are more offensive (in both senses of the word) than defensive.
B&N.com: Has the mainstream news media done a good job of reporting the inconsistencies in Bush's statements?
DC: Yes and no. I go into this in the conclusion of the book. In many instances, the mainstream print media (The New York Times, The Washington Post, et al.) does note when a Bush remark is inconsistent with the facts. But usually this is covered far into the story. It usually is not the point of the story. Consequently, the gap between Bush's rhetoric and reality is rarely highlighted.
On March 18, 2003 -- the day before Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq -- The Washington Post ran a news article that began, "As the Bush administration prepares to attack Iraq this week it is doing so on the basis of a number of allegations against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that have been challenged -- and in some cases disproved -- by the United Nations, European governments and even U.S intelligence reports." Over the article ran a damning headline: "Bush Clings to Dubious Allegations About Iraq." Yet this article appeared on page A13. I give the Post credit for dealing with the subject. I am unaware of any similar pieces that ran about that time in The New York Times or other top-tier newspapers. But why was a story reporting that Bush was leading the nation to war on the basis of false assertions (or assumptions) not front-page news?
B&N.com: Did Bush and his team lie to start a war? If so, and the lie is proved over time, isn't that a serious offense?
DC: Yes. Damn serious. His main argument for war was that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (he said intelligence gathered by U.S. intelligence agencies left "no doubt" of that) and that at any moment Saddam Hussein could slip some of his WMDs to al Qaeda, with whom (Bush asserted) he had an operation alliance. On the first point, we now know that the intelligence did not leave "no doubt." In fact, David Kay, the administration's chief weapons hunter, told Congress in October 2002 that the prewar intelligence was "bounded by large uncertainties." The Republican chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees have said the same. So it is undeniable: Bush falsely characterized the intelligence on Hussein and WMDs.
On the second point -- al Qaeda and Hussein -- Bush before the war maintained that Hussein was "dealing" with al Qaeda. And during his infamous May 1, 2003, speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln, he declared that al Qaeda was an "ally" of Hussein. There has been no evidence to back that up. When Bush was asked in July 2003 by a reporter to specify what evidence he had to make such assertions, he dodged the question. More recently, Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters that there was no conclusive evidence of a link between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. So Bush used two false premises to initiate a war. That is a proven fact. To me that's a firing offense. But ultimately it is up to the public to decide how serious such lying is.
B&N.com: Did the president lie about the state of the economy in order to push his tax-cut policies?
DC: Not so much about the state of the economy, but more about the benefits of his tax cuts. He insisted at one point that "the vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum." This was not true. At that time, he was pushing a $1.6 trillion tax-cut package of which 42.6 percent of the benefits would go to the top 1 percent of taxpayers and only 12.6 percent would go to the lowest 60 percent. In many other ways, he has made similarly false claims to defend himself against the charge that his tax cuts are not tilted toward the well-to-do. He also claimed in 2000 and 2001 that there was no reason to fear that the surplus would not cover his tax cuts. Yet even before 9/11 the surplus was gone, in part due to his tax cuts.
B&N.com: With the election cycle heating up, do you expect to see a new wave of administration lies on the horizon?
DC: I assume so. Not telling the truth has served Bush well up to now. I gather he will continue to use the tactics that have gotten him this far.
B&N.com: Why do average Americans believe presidential lies? Is it denial, or just wishful thinking?
DC: Americans who are predisposed to support a president tend to accept what he says. Many want to believe in their man. Many probably assume that he is acting in good faith, which is an assumption that Americans should be able to make. Unfortunately, too often presidents abuse such trust. And I do think that some Americans want to give the president the benefit of the doubt because they do not want to -- or don't have the time to -- examine his remarks carefully and reach their own independent conclusions about his truthfulness.
B&N.com: Finally, what will be the next presidential lie concern, if you had to predict?
DC: After the 2000 election, I gave up predictions. But I assume in the near future we will hear something like, "I told you the truth about the threat from Iraq" -- as more evidence emerges that Bush did not.
Posted February 18, 2015
Posted October 3, 2006
I have watched as Bush told these lies ,but it is scary to see them in black and white, how sad that this man and his Cronies are in the White House ,i guess we have to respect the office ,But as this book shows we sure cant trust or respect,or believe this President ,Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 19, 2005
This is a book that every American should have read before the 2004 election, but it's not too late for 2006. It is full of well-documented revelations about the workings of the Bush administration and his 2000 presidential campaign. After reading it you may never trust an American President again.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 24, 2010
No text was provided for this review.
Posted October 27, 2008
No text was provided for this review.