The Assault on Reason


Al Gore




Date Reviewed:

October 8, 2007

he Assault on Reason is a bit depressing to read. Al Gore lists all the many ways that the Bush administration has broken the law, and acted in manner that is contrary to the best interests of the country. Most of this stuff you will remember if you follow the news; the depressing part is trodding over the same bleak terrain again. The Enron scandal? Oh yeah - that was during the Bush administration too - it seems so long ago! I did not know that Kenneth Lay had "vetted" the appointment of members to FERC, the federal agency that was supposed to be overseeing companies like Enron.

Gore's list is pretty extensive. Bush has been in office 7 years now, and the list of his crimes and failures is enormous, while the list of his accomplishments is non-existent. What is the best accomplishment Bush can claim? "There hasn't been ANOTHER 9/11 attack while he was in office" - never mind that no previous president had even one terrorist strike on the scale of 9/11. Sometimes I wonder what future historians will fault Bush for the most - will it be his decision to invade Iraq while Osama Bin Laden was still on the loose? Will it be his fiscal insanity that drove US debt above $9 trillion dollars? Will it be his absurd denial of global warming? What about his converting America into a nation of torturers and illegal wire-tappers? (I have never understood why the wire tapping had to be warrantless - didn't the FISA courts pretty much rubber stamp any warrant placed in front of them? Couldn't the warrants be approved by the court retroactively? In other words, Bushco could already wiretap anyone that they wanted - so why break the law and not get the warrants???)

The trouble with this book is that Gore is preaching to the choir. No rabid Republican is going to put down Ann Coulter's latest screed and give Gore's book a try. Gore isn't going to convince anyone. Nor is a liberal going to get a kick out of reading this book - sure, W comes across as the worst president in history, but we all knew that already. Instead, reading this book is sad - geez, Bush really screwed this country up, it is going to take decades to straighten things out. Like I said, it is a depressing read.

Although each mistep by Bush has (usually) been reported by the major media, Gore uses his book to paint the complete picture of this failed adminstration. Events and actions are tied together - the bad laws and bad policy didn't just happen, it was deliberately concocted by Bush/Cheney, who seem to desire nothing so much as to rule (rather than govern).

Gore tries to end on a positive note, hoping that the Internet will allow common citizens some voice in the political discourse, which for the past several decades has been dominated by the medium of television (a one way channel of images and entertainment that allow the existing power-brokers to broadcast their propaganda, but not be held accountable before the people.) Personally, I am not a big believer that the Internet is going to change our political system, so I didn't find the uplifting final chapter very convincing.