A takedown of the GOP's deceitful propaganda machine from the hugely popular blogger of Salon.com's Unclaimed Territory and the author of the New York Times bestsellers How Would a Patriot Act? and A Tragic Legacy Long since Americans were wooed by images of Ronald Reagan astride a horse, complete with cowboy hat and rugged good looks, the Republican Party has used a John Wayne mythology to build up its candidates and win elections. Their marketing scheme of evoking brave, courageous, heroic warriors has been so persuasive and strikes such a patriotic nerve, that many citizens have voted based on this manipulative imagery even when they've flat out disagreed with the GOP's positions on key issues. Glenn Greenwald puts this bogus GOP mythology under microscopic critique and successfully argues that none of these men is, in fact, a brave, strong moral warrior--far from it. Rather, most have dodged military duty, have strings of broken marriages and affairs, and live decadent, elitist lives, which they so ruthlessly condemn Democrats for doing. Such false archetypes--that GOP leaders are exclusively fit to command the military, represent traditional family values, and are fiscally restrained and responsible because they're just regular folk like us--are so firmly entrenched in our culture as to allow the GOP to sit back and let their time-tested marketing ploy spin itself silly while avoiding debate on real issues. When they actually do voice opinions, it's nothing more than a smear campaign of the supposed weakness and elitism of the Democrats. To prevent this tired marketing scheme from succeeding again, Greenwald takes off the gloves and knocks down the hoaxes and myths, exposing the tactics the right-wing machine uses to drown out both reality and consideration of real issues. But he also calls on Democrats to shake off the defensive posture (""We love America too,"" ""We support the troops too,"" ""We also believe in God"") and start attacking the Republican candidates for the hypocrites they, in truth, are. The first book to dissect the Republican Cult of Personality and leave it openly exposed in its unabashed, shameful depravity, Great American Hypocrites is a deeply necessary call-out to Democrats to attack the GOP with their competitor's very own weapons. Ever since the cowboy image of Ronald Reagan was sold to Americans, the Republican Party has used the same John Wayne imagery to support its candidates and take elections. We all know how they govern, but the right-wing propaganda machine is very adept at hijacking debate and marketing their candidates as effectively as the Marlboro Man. For example: Myth: The Republican nominee is an upstanding, regular guy who shares the values of the common man. Reality: He divorced his first wife in order to marry a young multimillionaire heiress whose family then funded his political career. Myth: Republicans are brave and courageous. Reality: It's a party filled with chicken hawks and draft dodgers. Myth: Republicans are strong on defense and will keep us safe. Reality: They prey on fears, and their endless wars make America far less secure. Myth: The Republicans are the party of fiscal restraint and small, limited government. Reality: Soaring deficits, unchecked presidential power, and an increasingly invasive surveillance state are par for their course.
With this provocative book, Greenwald, a former constitutional lawyer and author of A Tragic Legacy and How Would a Patriot Act, purports to expose the "rank myth-making and exploitation of cultural, gender and psychological themes" by the Republican Party. The author begins his attack by targeting John Wayne, whom he sees as a template for right-wing notions of "American courage and conservative manliness." Wayne's avoidance of military service and his string of divorces, both at odds with his public image, are emblematic in this account of a fundamental hypocrisy implicit in conservative mythologies. Greenwald goes on to argue that prominent Republicans from Ronald Reagan to Mitt Romney display the same hypocrisy in their public ideologies and personal lives. Shouldering much of the blame are the press and the media, including Matt Drudge, Ann Coulter, Chris Matthews and even Maureen Dowd, all of whom propagate popular attitudes about virile Republicans and effeminate Democrats. Despite the antipathy the author feels for Coulter, his writing is much like hers. More a partisan screed than a reasoned argument meant to persuade undecided readers, this repetitive text frequently devolves into personal attacks and vast generalizations. (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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April 14, 2008
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