If one wants a reason to mistrust the GOP base - assuming it's racism, nativism, and general bigotry and extremism are not enough - "Bush," a new biography of George W. Bush, perhaps America's worse president ever, underscores the idiocy that is viewed with approval by Republican Party. Given this track record for selecting losers, it's little wonder that Donald Trump is now the presumptive GOP nominee. The New York Times has a review of the book. Here are some excerpts:
Mr. Smith leaves no mystery where he stands on Mr. Bush’s place in history. The first sentence of his book: “Rarely in the history of the United States has the nation been so ill-served as during the presidency of George W. Bush.”
The last: “Whether George W. Bush was the worst president in American history will be long debated, but his decision to invade Iraq is easily the worst foreign policy decision ever made by an American president.”
In between are more than 650 pages of fast-paced if harsh biography. In this telling, Mr. Bush’s religious piety took on messianic fervor leading him to turn democracy promotion into a mission from God. He didn’t listen to the generals and diplomats. He badly bungled the response to Hurricane Katrina. He presided over the diminution of American values by authorizing torture and bugging.
“Believing he was the agent of God’s will, and acting with divine guidance, George W. Bush would lead the nation into two disastrous wars of aggression,” Mr. Smith writes. “Bush’s personalization of the war on terror combined with his macho assertiveness as the nation’s commander in chief,” he adds later, “were a recipe for disaster.”
The value of Mr. Smith’s account is not original reporting but a thorough assimilation of the existing record. Mr. Bush declined to speak with him, as he has with other authors since leaving office. Mr. Smith spoke with both Dick Cheney and Donald H. Rumsfeld, but for the most part relies on the existing body of literature, for a complete history of Mr. Bush’s life.
Mr. Smith’s fundamental critique is his belief that Mr. Bush overreacted to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “The events of 9/11 were tragic, but scarcely catastrophic,” he writes. That led Mr. Bush, in his view, to advance policies that were not justified by the actual danger.
The Patriot Act, he writes, “may be the most ill-conceived piece of domestic legislation since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.” In labeling Iran, Iraq and North Korea an “axis of evil,” Mr. Bush “had spoken without weighing the consequences.” Mr. Bush’s refusal to face up to the fact that Iraq had no unconventional weapons “suggests a willfulness that borders on psychosis.” His second-term Inaugural Address making democracy promotion his major goal “must rank as one of the most ill-considered of all time.”