OVERRIDE

Utter Incompetents

Ego and Ideology in the Age of Bush

Thomas Oliphant

St. Martin's Griffin

The collapse of the Bush presidency has been acknowledged by comedians, politicians, and foreign allies and enemies. Failures include the early flop on energy policy, the fallout of Hurricane Katrina, and the ongoing war in Iraq. The challenge, Oliphant says, is to understand why the past seven years have been so disastrous.

Thomas Oliphant attributes the failures of the George W. Bush administration to that President himself. The political team led by a man with an MBA came to Washington with the mission to run the government in an orderly, businesslike manner. Instead, the country has faced domestic policy issues, international goofs, soaring energy prices, and a health care crisis. Leading into the 2008 election year, the Republicans had lost Congress and promises for future change had not been met.

While few analysts have looked beyond the easy hits and quick gibes and analyzed the totality of the Bush Administration, Oliphant seeks to answer the question: "How could some of the smartest, most experienced and politically savvy people in Washington screw up so badly?" Oliphant inspects the initial projections and promises of Bush and his key senior officials, and the ways in which they lost control of these well-publicized and highly confident plans. By comparing their rhetoric to their record, Oliphant analyzes the Bush administration. His book aims to show how a system so seemingly competent and mechanized could fail.

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Utter Incompetents
1SCREWING UPWe've done a lot of hard work together over the last three and a half years. We've been challenged and we've risen to those challenges. We're climbing the mighty mountain. I see the valley below and it's a valley of peace.--President George W. Bush, first debate with John Kerry, September 20, 2004 
 
 
 
IN THE BEGINNING, there was an orgy of order, or so it seemed at the time.The third conservative government since Ronald Reagan's ascension in 1981 prepared to take office deeply committed to a style of leadership befitting the first
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REVIEWS

Praise for Utter Incompetents

“Tom Oliphant is one of the true chroniclers of America. He uses his wit and wisdom to offer critical, insightful, and loving observations of our politics, culture, and society. He is the Will Rogers of our time.” ---Madeleine Albright

“Done right, political discourse is a feast. And Tom Oliphant brings more to the table than anyone I know.” ---Al Franken

“We’re lucky that in this book, [Oliphant’s] chosen to focus on the Bush administration---even if Bush isn’t. Cheney won’t like this story, the real story. Readers will love it.” ---Robert M. Shrum

“The book not only teems with detail but also will tell the future historians, long after living memory has faded, just what Bush's contemporary critics thought of the man and his record.” ---St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“[T]his competent narrative will appeal to readers yearning for one more fix of righteous liberal indignation.” ---Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Thomas Oliphant

  • Thomas Oliphant has been a correspondent for The Boston Globe since 1968 and its Washington columnist since 1989. He is a native of Brooklyn, a product of La Jolla High School in California, and a 1967 graduate of Harvard. He was one of three editors on special assignment who managed the Globe’s coverage of Boston's traumatic school desegregation, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1975. He has also won the writing award given by the American Society of Newspaper Editors. He has appeared on ABC’s Nightline, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Face the Nation, The Today Show, Good Morning America, and CBS News’ This Morning. He has been named one of the country’s top ten political writers and one of Washington’s fifty most influential journalists by The Washingtonian magazine. Mr. Oliphant lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, CBS correspondent Susan Spencer.

  • Thomas Oliphant

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Utter Incompetents

Ego and Ideology in the Age of Bush

Thomas Oliphant

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

St. Martin's Griffin

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