My Other Websites
Michael Lind: Made in Texas
Book: Michael Lind: Made in Texas: George W. Bush and the Southern Takeover of American Politics (New American Books). This is as important and urgent as any book I've seen on the current political struggle, because it lays out the political, economic, and philosphical roots that makes the Bush administration so consistent in its policies and so destructive in its achievements. Lind argues that Bush is the second triumphal return of the South's plantation aristocracy -- the first being the deal that the South cut in 1876 (the other pivotal back-room minority election in U.S. history) to end Reconstruction, leading to the restoration of white supremacy in the feudal South. This is the complement to Kevin Phillips' book on the Bush family, American Dynasty.
The book also deals with what Lind calls the modernist tradition in Texas politics, dating back to the arrival of German liberals in the 1840s and folowing them through the New Deal and the presidency of Lyndon Johnson. In his chapter on "A Choice of Traditions" Lind tries to posit Texas modernism as an alternative not only to the Bush travesty but also to the coast-centric liberalism that is its popular alternative. That chapter is the weak spot of the book, even if it's not without suggestive value. But the new paperback edition needed an "Afterword" to catch up with the Bushes, and this one hits hard. The final lines read, "Trigger-happy, free-spending, Bible-thumping Southern conservatism of the kind symbolized by George W. Bush is doomed in the long run. The only question is how much damage it will do before its unregretted demise."