I know you are not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but I did. When I first saw this book, I knew that I wanted to read it. I love the picture of Pres. Bush on this book. The picture and title perfectly captures the laid-back, down-to-earth attitude of our 43rd president.
I finished this book yesterday, and I think I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t super fantastic. Frank Bruni was a journalist that followed the Bush campaign around during the elections of 2000. I enjoyed seeing Bush act and behave as a human being: Bruni portrays him as being funny (often at inappropriate times), a prankster (also at often at inappropriate times) and at times showing great depth and intelligence. The big question Bruni asks in this book is: how can a man who thinks “misunderestimate” is a word be a good leader of the most powerful nation in the world? Will he take the presidency seriously? In the end, (at least from this books perspective of shortly after September 11th) Bruni thinks that this guy might just have a chance.
At times, I felt like Bruni was maybe a little too harsh in constantly pointing out Bush’s flaws as a presidential candidate. Although, the point of the book was to show how this fellow, the most unlikeliest presidential candidate that has been seen in quite some time, attempted to transform himself and play politics.
Bruni was fair in his observations and criticisms, though, as he also poked fun and pointed out flaws in the other candidates, and even himself and the other journalists.
The book itself seems to amble around in the telling of the story, but for me that was part of the enjoyment. My favorite sections are the chapters in which Bruni relates the hardships of the journalists being on the campaign trail. (See my Teaser Tuesday quote about smoking next to jet fuel The mental image he portrays about these sleep and shower depraved guys cramming into a hotel room to watch “Sex and the City”.
This book was published back in 2002, during a time when Bush’s approval rating was riding high. I wonder how different the book would have been written if it were published today? This book and the current public opinion of Bush makes me wonder will there ever be a book written that portrays him in a positive light? There might be, but it may not be any time soon. Now that the door is closed on his presidency, the benefit of history and forgetfulness might be on his side. Only time will tell. In the mean time, I would recommend this book. It isn’t too critical of Bush, but nor is it too worshipful of him. I think Bruni tries hard (and for the most part succeeds) to present a fair and balanced view of him and everyone involved in the election mess of 2000.