Bush and Rove

A couple links about Bush and Rove today.

Link 1 was that I happened to catch Fresh Air on the radio today, and Terri Gross was interviewing Wayne Slater, co-author of the book Bush’s Brain : How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential. Slater was apparently based in the Austin bureau for the Dallas Morning News, and covered Bush from the beginning of his political career. There were some interesting anecdotes about Rove’s tactics, and how he planned Bush’s path to the presidency from day one, even before he’d convinced Bush to run for governor of Texas.

Which brings us to link 2. A friend of mine had heard about a tape of the debates between George W. Bush, master of malapropism, and Ann Richards, when they were running for the governorship. I’ve heard Ann Richards speak on the radio, and she comes across as a very bright person, intelligent and articulate. And apparently, Bush destroyed her in the debates, outarguing her, and generally demonstrating a level of intelligence that most nationwide voters would be surprised by. My friend tracked down this report on the web which indicates the same thing – James Fallows, author of Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy, which I quite liked, wrote an article in the current issue of the Atlantic Monthly reviewing a tape of that debate, and talking over the implications with my favorite professor, George Lakoff. It’s fun to speculate about the change in image that Bush is projecting now from then.

Also recommended to me recently was the book The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge. It traces the rise of the conservative movement over the last few decades. The friend of a friend that recommended it says that the authors claim that the conservative think tank movement is a reaction to the liberal university environment of the 60s and 70s. Since conservative thinkers had no place in the university, they created their own, one specifically geared towards politics. And, unsurprisingly, since they were oriented towards politics, they grew much more effective at turning thought into action than the liberal thinkers remaining at the universities. Lakoff is starting to fight this with his RockRidge Institute, but they’ve got a big lead.

Whee. Too many books to read. And that’s not even counting the 5 books I currently have checked out from the library, the three books I bought from a used bookstore recently, or the 10 books sitting in my shopping cart at Amazon, not to mention the 81 books on my Amazon wish list. Argh. But Bush’s Brain sounds really interesting, y’know, for studying up when I open my political consultancy. Yeah, right. I only wish.