Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency

Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency

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by Glenn Greenwald
     
 

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What will be the legacy of President George Walker Bush? In this fascinating, timely book, Glenn Greenwald examines the Bush presidency and its long-term effect on the nation. What began on shaky, uncertain ground and was bolstered and propelled by tragedy, has ultimately faltered and failed on the back of the dichotomous worldview—good versus evil—that

Overview

What will be the legacy of President George Walker Bush? In this fascinating, timely book, Glenn Greenwald examines the Bush presidency and its long-term effect on the nation. What began on shaky, uncertain ground and was bolstered and propelled by tragedy, has ultimately faltered and failed on the back of the dichotomous worldview—good versus evil—that once served it so well. In A Tragic Legacy, Greenwald charts the rise and steep fall of the current administration, dissecting the rhetoric and revealing the faulty ideals upon which George W. Bush built his policies.

On September 12, 2001, President Bush addressed the nation and presented a very clear view of what was to come—a view that can be said to define his entire presidency: “This will be a monumental struggle of good versus evil.” Based on his own Christian faith and backed by biblical allusions, Bush’s worldview was basic and binary—and everyone was forced to choose a side. Riding high on public support, Bush sailed through the early “War on Terror,” easily defining our enemies and clearly setting an agenda for defeating them.

But once the war became murkier—its target unclear, its combatants no longer seen in black-and-white—support for Bush and his policies dropped precipitously. Glenn Greenwald brilliantly reveals the reasons behind the collapse of Bush’s power and approval, and argues that his greatest weakness is the same rhetoric that once propelled him so far forward. Facing issues that could not be turned into simple good versus evil choices—the disaster of Hurricane Katrina, his plans for Social Security “reform,” and, most ironic, the failed Dubai ports deal—Bush faltered and fell. Now, Greenwald argues, Bush is trapped by his own choices, unable to break out of the mold that once served him so well, and indifferent to the consequences.

A Tragic Legacy is the first true character study of one of the most controversial men ever to hold the office of president. Enlightening, powerful, and eye-opening, this is an in-depth look at the man whose incapability and cowboy logic have left America at risk.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A constitutional-law attorney submits a blistering, highly tendentious brief against President George W. Bush. Greenwald (How Would a Patriot Act?, 2006) unambiguously declares the Bush legacy "one of colossal failure" due almost entirely to the president's response to the attacks of 9/11. According to the author, echoing what has become a well-worn trope on the Left, this response unmasked Bush's Manichean world view, a simplistic proclivity to see events in terms of Good and Evil that precludes any possibility of reexamination or change. This cramped vision, Greenwald argues, is reinforced by the President's "hungry, crazed, warmongering ‘base' " composed of Middle East oil interests, Christian evangelicals and an Israel-centric strain of neoconservatives. The combined interests of these forces, requiring a seemingly endless stream of enemies, accounts for the restriction of our civil liberties, the intimidation of the press, the muzzling of dissent, the alienation of our allies. Where others might congratulate Bush for his moral clarity, Greenwald sees him as the leader of an administration obsessed with its own power. Among his more incendiary charges: Bush wanted to violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to demonstrate "he is more powerful than the law"; he has replaced his alcohol addiction with fervent evangelicalism; and any U.S. action against Iran will be dictated not by geopolitical considerations, but rather by the "President's personality." One endless denunciation follows another in prose so overheated and with judgments so uniformly negative and absolute as to mimic the very worldview the author rails against. What might have made a rousing article for, say, TheNation, collapses at book length, a victim of its own relentless, wild-eyed partisanship. Red meat for Bush haters; a tedious, predictable bore for everyone else.
From the Publisher
“This is the best book about the worst president. Glenn Greenwald is to this administration as they've been to the country: devastating. This is more than a book: It's an act of patriotism."
—Alan Colmes, Hannity & Colmes, Fox News

“Glenn Greenwald’s excoriating analysis of the Bush presidency goes much deeper than mere polemics. His layered interpretation of the Manichean mentality that defines the Bush White House describes a disastrously inappropriate mindset for a modern power in a time of global turmoil. This early portrait of the Bush presidency and the right wingers who cheered it on will be read and appreciated for many years to come.”
—Scott McConnell, editor of The American Conservative

“In the bare-knuckle cacophony of the blogosphere Glenn Greenwald has been a beacon of clarity chronicling President Bush’s unfolding war on the rule of law.  No one is better placed to explain how the president’s embrace of extremism in the battle against extremism has put the country’s most sacred ideals, even the country itself, under the gravest threat.”
—Josh Marshall, editor of Talking Points Memo

“Glenn Greenwald has emerged as one of the nation’s most incisive and articulate exponents of the critique of the Bush Administration. In admirably clear prose and with the ferocity of a former litigator, he is day in and day out building a powerful case against an undeniably consequential and radical presidency.”
—Dan Froomkin, WashingtonPost.com White House Watch columnist

“A compelling examination of how moral beliefs can drive political decisions, with disastrous consequences.”
Booklist

“In A Tragic Legacy, [Greenwald] wrestles with much more significant and amorphous material as he attempts to trace the dangerous, stark philosophy underlying the most pernicious policies of the current administration and to tease out their implications for the character of this nation. To say that he succeeds is a massive understatement. From every aspect—writing, clarity of thought and most importantly, structure of the book (often neglected in similar works)—he pounds his argument home about the utter bankruptcy of thought behind the president’s words and actions: This is extremism. This is immoral. This is, ultimately, un-American at its core.”
—Daily Kos

"[Greenwald] has constructed an impressive argument about the basic template of the Bush Administration, and how it has tried to permanently alter America and our relationship to the world. Anyone who wants to successfully challenge and change that legacy owes it to themselves to read this book as an indispensable guide to how to proceed."
—Paul Rosenberg, AltWeeklies.com

"Greenwald has crafted for us and the world a moving, cathartic, and insightful book that hopefully will give the non-blogging public a new level of comprehension as to the dangers we face under an unbridled chief executive whose view of the world is not much more nuanced nor a great deal less fanatical than that of, say, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who also just so happens to believe that he’s on a personal 'Mission from God'. Ignore this book at your peril."
—FireDogLake.com

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307395214
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
06/26/2007
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
544 KB

Meet the Author

Glenn Greenwald was a constitutional law attorney and is now a contributing writer at Salon and the author of the political blog Unclaimed Territory. Greenwald has appeared on a variety of television and radio programs, including The Al Franken Show, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, Air America’s Majority Report, and Public Radio International’s To the Point. He is a regular contributor to The American Conservative, and his reporting and analysis have been credited in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Slate, and a variety of other print and online publications. His first book, How Would a Patriot Act?, was an instant bestseller.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Smiled "here"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He eters. "I do!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This so frustarateing people keep impersonating me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"All he<_>ll went down. I had to leave for awhle nd when i came bak Nebula and Holly took over. Nebula kicked me out. So i joined the original GOA and No Mercy... but now im with dark destroyers."