“Gripping, never-before-heard detail” about Bush’s decisions! That’s what the former present’s memoir promises, and boy! Does it deliver. As long as you haven’t read any other books from the former members of the Bush Administration.
Ryan Grim at Huffington Post reports that what Crown Publishing got out of its exclusive deal for Dub’s memoirs is:
“…a mash-up of worn-out anecdotes from previously published memoirs written by his subordinates, from which Bush lifts quotes word for word, passing them off as his own recollections.”
That’s right! Bush stole sections of his book word for word from people he had on the payroll. Who had already published them. This sort of violates the first rule of College Plagiarism: If you steal a paper, don’t turn it in to a class with the same TA who graded it last term when your roommate took the class. In fact, this is something most of us learn in high school — or at least we did in my day, when this weighty subject was covered on a Very Special Episode of Welcome Back, Kotter. It’s Episode 64, “Epstein’s Term Paper”; would I be going too far to suggest that former US Presidents shouldn’t need life lessons from ’70s television?
But that wasn’t enough for Bush; according to Grim:
He took equal license in lifting from nonfiction books about his presidency or newspaper or magazine articles from the time…
…Bush, on his book tour, makes much of the fact that he largely wrote the book himself, guffawing that critics who suspected he didn’t know how to read are now getting a comeuppance. Not only does Bush know how to read, it turns out, he knows how to Google, too. Or his assistant does. Bush notes in his acknowledgments that “[m]uch of the research for this book was conducted by the brilliant and tireless Peter Rough. Peter spent the past 18 months digging through archives, searching the internet[s], and sifting through reams of paper.” Bush also collaborated on the book with his former speechwriter, Christopher Michel.
…In one prime instance, Bush relates a poignant meeting between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a Tajik warlord on Karzai’s Inauguration Day. It’s the kind of scene that offers a glimpse of a hopeful future for the beleaguered nation. Witnessing such an exchange could color a president’s outlook, could explain perhaps Bush’s more optimistic outlook and give insight into his future decisions. Except Bush didn’t witness it. Because he wasn’t at Karzai’s inauguration.
Bush also writes first-person anecdotes about conversations that never occurred between John McCain and himself.
Guess what? So far no one’s surprised; in fact a resounding “What did you expect?” seems to be the response of the nation. But surely Bush’s neoliberal proponents will continue to blather on about his character and his successor’s lack of it. The media will, meanwhile, thoroughly ignore a case of a powerful man with just about everything in the world who still couldn’t be bothered to refrain from stealing. In this case, he stole the one thing he’ll ever, ever have on his own. Thoughts.
Will history please prove me wrong? Will somebody sue this guy?
There’s a bumpersticker in my neighborhood with a picture of Bush that says, “Miss Me Yet?” It’s on an SUV.
Right, buddy. Right. Right.