In Fraud, leading political and media analyst Paul Waldman exposes the truth behind the rise of George W. Bush. What is revealed is more shocking than just a pattern of lies and incompetence. It is the story of how a clever political machine built a high-stakes game of deception, a policy of lies to capture the highest office in the free world, a fraud that continues to this day.How to Build a Fraud:
Portray son of one of America¹s most influential families as down-home Texan
Berate media as "liberal" until they stop asking tough questions
Take advantage of reporters¹ tendency to not check the facts
Mask reactionary policies in compassionate words and pictures
Push false stories from right-wing media into mainstream media
Extol the virtues of workers while systematically pushing an anti-labor agenda
Propose a series of tax cuts aimed at the wealthy, but sell them as a boon to ordinary Americans
Disguise destructive initiatives with friendly sounding names
Befriend media with "genuine guy" routine
Keep the public from accessing information
Maintain message discipline at all times
Question patriotism of anyone who disagrees
Repeat above until it all seems true
At some point, George W. Bush took a good long look at who he was and what he wanted for the country and decided that the American people would never buy it if he gave it to them straight. So Bush and his political machine made their decision: the American people would have to be lied to. They would construct a persona that would be everything Bush was not.
They would take the same reactionary agenda and cloak it in comforting catchphrases and pleasing visuals, presenting to the public a false image of sympathy.
And they would repeat this message endlessly.
The power of the fraud lies in the ability of the Bush machine to manipulate the press, and thereby avoid having the truth exposed. Waldman¹s findings reveal an astonishing record of how the nation¹s media has not only given Bush a pass again and again, but have failed to follow up on even the most openly dishonest parts of the Bush agenda. For all Americans who have been uneasy about the honesty of the Bush administration, but unsure what it means or how far it goes, Fraud is a shocking wake-up call.
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Read an Excerpt
from the Introduction
The unfortunate truth is this: George W. Bush is a fraud.
From the moment he arrived on the national scene, George W. Bush has been telling us how honest he is, and for just as long-despite the ever-mounting evidence for the opposite conclusion-most Americans, even many of those who oppose him politically, have agreed. He may be unqualified and of questionable competence, and he may have a retrograde agenda, but at least he's honest. However, this belief is entirely false. As Thomas Paine wrote, "a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom." Bush's supporters will no doubt raise such an outcry at the assertion that Bush is fundamentally dishonest, but as you will see, the facts speak for themselves.
What Bush and his advisers have perpetrated is nothing short of a fraud-and an epic one at that-that started when they began planning his ascension to the White House in the early 1990s and continues to the present day. The fraud involves the propagation of a set of central lies about Bush, each carefully crafted and spoken with a numbing repetition. He and his compatriots have known from the beginning that if the lies are asserted often enough, they will stand despite being refuted on a continual basis by Bush's actions. They have said that George W. Bush is an ordinary guy, that he believes in American values, that he loves freedom and democracy, that he is compassionate, that he brings Democrats and Republicans together, and above all, that he is a man of great character and integrity. Each of these contentions isdemonstrably untrue, but each has nonetheless been often accepted by the press and largely accepted by the American people, including a healthy portion of those who voted against Bush in 2000 and plan to do so again in 2004.
Contrary to what he seems to never tire of assuring us, George W. Bush is not a man of integrity; in fact, he ranks among the most dishonest presidents in American history. For this president, lying is only sometimes done ad hoc, as a reaction to an unexpected question or a discomforting criticism. But most often it is the essence of his political strategy, the key to every major policy move. Whether the topic is taxes or Social Security, the environment or education, Medicare or foreign wars, the aggressive deception of the American people is the foundation on which each Bush policy is built. He consistently deceives the American people by masking his agenda in a carefully constructed cloud of misleading rhetoric, pleasing pictures, disingenuous displays of emotions unfelt, and outright lies.
We have seen in recent years how anger at political opponents can all too easily devolve into the belief that those one opposes are not merely wrong but positively evil. I make no such claim about George W. Bush. While he has a multitude of shortcomings as a president and a person, Bush is not evil. He believes, as all of us do, that he's trying to do the right thing. He often lies, but that does not mean that he is incapable of telling the truth. His policies are often ill-considered and detrimental to the goals he claims to espouse, but this does not mean that he does not occasionally make a good decision or two. So why would he choose this path of deception?
At some point, George W. Bush took a good long look at who he was and what he wanted for the country and decided that the American people would never buy it if he gave it to them straight. He came to understand that they would never elect to the highest office in the land a man of such limited skills who had been given so much and accomplished so little, whose claim to power rested solely on his last name, who was so plainly hostile to the values on which their nation was founded. They would never assent to a reactionary agenda whose every element was opposed by a majority of Americans. They would never knowingly elect someone whose most passionate convictions lay in enhancing the wealth of the wealthy and the power of the powerful.
So Bush and his political machine made their decision: the American people would have to be lied to. They would construct a persona that would be everything Bush was not. They would take the same old Republican agenda and cloak it in comforting catchphrases and pleasing visuals, presenting to the public a false image of sympathy. And they would repeat this message endlessly...
Table of Contents
|Chapter 1||Just a Good Old Boy, Never Meanin' No Harm: Constructing the Myth of "Dubya"||1|
|Chapter 2||Dodging Bullets: Triumphs of Spin Control||23|
|Chapter 3||"That's Trustworthiness": A Strategy of Lies||55|
|Chapter 4||The Emperor's Fashion Critics: How to Make the Press Love You||99|
|Chapter 5||Working the "Liberal" Media: How to Make the Press Fear You||139|
|Chapter 6||Putting the Con in Compassionate Conservative: Bush's Ideological Two-Step||157|
|Chapter 7||New-Doo Economics: George W. Bush and Taxes||199|
|Chapter 8||Bushocracy: The New Face of Democracy||235|
|Epilogue: Fool Me Twice||277|
|Appendix||The Elements of Fraud: A Guide to Key Lies and Misdirections||285|
|About the Author||311|