Book Review

    A Divider, Not a UNITER: George W. Bush and the American people

    Gary C. Jacobson

    Without relying on Kitty Kelly’s grapevine gossip or Oliver Stone’s simian caricatures, Gary Jacobson tackles George W. Bush’s eight-year reign with a pundit’s penchant for statistics.

    Democrats and Republicans alike had a tumultuous relationship with the commander in chief, and isn’t hard to see why as controversies seemed to surface every six months.

    After Sept.11 and the capture of Saddam Hussein, Bush’s ratings floated on secondhand patriotic highs — only to take a tumble after the levees broke in Louisiana and photos leaked from Abu Ghraib’s prisons.

    Unlike most books on Bush, Jacobson’s thoroughly academic chunk of research doesn’t dwell too long on political indictments — though you might still catch them, couched between to-the-point prose and hanging from line graphs.

    Dour political tensions weren’t entirely Bush’s fault either, as Jacobson takes pains to explain in his first chapter. In 2000, Bush entered a political arena still seething from an inglorious impeachment trial less than a year before. And, to make matters worse, he rode in on the carcass of the Florida recount.

    Whether you thought him an honest stalwart who stuck to his guns or a stubborn dolt without any political gumption, Jacobson’s plethora of polls and surveys create a collective canvas hard to dismiss as sheer liberal bias.

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