Can a book endorsed by Rush Limbaugh, who promotes "advanced conservative thinking" in ways that would make the founding fathers shudder, be of value? In a word -- maybe. It does not live up to its subtitle; there is little "how" in Sammon's text -- it is more a matter of "what happened." Yet, I recommend it as required reading for those who find their political leanings in opposition to the current Republican platforms, some of which (Texas Republicans for example) are to the right of Atilla the Hun. Those of a Republican persuasion will enjoy it, for it is a story of the "good guys" winning and the "bad guys" looking foolish. Bill Sammon, an engaging and very clear writer, a correspondent for the Washington Times, portrays the current occupant of the White House in flattering terms. The title, "Strategery," invented by a TV comedian to point fun at Bush, was picked up by the White House staff who adopted it as an inside joke. The book concerns itself primarily with the 2004 election; those who wish to work for a Democratic reversal in 2006 or 2008 need to read it carefully. George W. Bush is shrewder than many of his critics understand, and the Republican political party is formidable.
None of the three issues (oil, fundamentalist Christianity or financial deficits) addressed in AMERICAN THEOCRACY is addressed, or even hinted at. Rather, the book is directed to an audience of the already committed Republican right wing, and many seemingly controversial claims are taken for granted. For example, "Everybody knows" that the media is biased, that the 2000 Florida results were close only because the media interfered with the process, and that the Swift Boat zealots were motivated only by pure and lofty motives. The list of "bad guys" is long -- Katie Couric, Peter Jennings, ABC, CBS, NBC, Stephen Spielberg, The New York Times, Stephen Ambrose, Clinton, Kerry, etc. etc. And there are the "good guys," J. C. Watt, Zell Miller, the Fox network, Alito, Roberts, Ashcroft, Rove, Rumsfeld, and, of course, Rush Limbaugh. Tom DeLay and Ken Lay are strangely absent; Enron never happened.
There are now several books in print on the George W. Bush administration. Those by Ann Coulter are dreck. This one is better, but only by comparison. There must be a good one somewhere -- if not, perhaps George Will, John McCain or William Buckley will write one. In the meanwhile, this is the best (of a poor lot) that I've seen.
John Burgeson, Rico, Colorado