MISUNDERESTIMATED – The President Battles Terrorism, John Kerry, and the Bush Haters
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10 Regan Books – An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, 2004, 351 PP
George Bush consistantly catches his liberal adversaries off guard by under promising and over delivering. His frequent malaporisms and "aw shucks" attitude appeal to his core consticutancy of every day working Americans, while causing him to be dismissed as shallow by his liberal opponents. The book's title is taken from a statement by Bush on November 6, 2000 just before the election in which he described his opponents by saying "They misunderestimated me" and then went on to win the election. When the election results were in doubt due to the Florida results the Democrats and their allies expected Bush and his party to cave as Nixon did in 1960 by not challenging the graveyard votes delivered by the Daley and Johnson machines in Illinois and Texas. But Bush surprised them by fighting and winning. Since then, despite the fact that every recount of the Florida ballot, including one done by the media, has shown Bush to have won by a small margin of Florida votes, his opponents have spent the past four years arguing that it was the Supreme Court, not the votes of the American people, that gave him his victory.
The book is a very favorable portryal of George Bush as a man and as president. The scope is limited to his years as president and ends prior to the start of the 2004 election. Unlike his predecessor, Bill Clinton, or his recent opponent, John Kerry, George Bush did not grow up intending to become President of the United States. Politics has not been his life and he has plans for life after the Presidency. He still holds the office of President somewhat in awe and looks upon his job as a duty rather than a prize that he has won or a goal achieved. Sammon, who is the White House correspondent for the Washington Times newspaper, devotes a chapter to coverng a Bush vacation at his ranch in Texas. As Bush takes the press pool on a brisk walking tour of the ranch he is genuinely engrossed in pointing out and describing the fauna, flora and other natural wonders of his land while the reporters, huffing from the strain of trying to keep up with him, are only interested in politics and policy. Following the walk he invites them into his home for coffee. One gets the distinct impression that Bush's hospitality is genuine and that he is passionate about things other than politics.
Not only his opponents "misunderestimate" him but many of his aides as well. Bush frequently surprises aides and handlers by disregardng their carefully scripted events and being himself. He was late taking off for his historic appeance on the USS Abraham Lincoln as it arrived home from Iraq. The plan for the event was to fly Bush from the Naval Air Station on North Island in San Diego to the Lincoln with no delay. But when Bush saw the families of the pilot and crew by the fence, he discarded the schedule and went over to shake hands and have pictures taken with the families. Similarly when he landed he dropped the script and mingled with the sailors on board.
The review of this Book prepared by Chuck Nugent