The title of this book is taken from a statement made by George W. Bush while on the campaign trail last year. It's a great title because it points out the emptiness of our new President's policies. Bush has a history of speaking out of both sides of his mouth. He claims to be a Texan populist, but as this book points out, he mostly grew up in New England, inheriting his father's wealth and political power without doing any real work of his own, all the while favoring huge tax cuts for his rich friends at the expense of the poor and middle class. He claims to care about education, but can't bother to educate himself enough to use correct grammar: the question should be stated "ARE our children learning?", Mr. President.
You won't find information about Bush's current policies and initiatives in this book because it's written more as a quick political biography for Americans who want to bone up on the background of the frontman for Dick Cheney. What you will find is all sorts of information about Bush's amoral misadventures: the year he went AWOL from the National Guard duty that kept him from being sent to Vietnam, the millions of dollars he borrowed from his father's friends to finance failed businesses, and the figurehead role he played in Texas politics as the pretend governor. The chapter I enjoyed most was the one on Bush's Vice President: Dick Cheney, the behind-the-scenes power broker with previous experience in the administration of Richard Nixon. This chapter warns us of Cheney's history of serious health problems, which led to a heart attack during the campaign and additional "chest pains" (no, the administration insists, it's not a real heart attack) just last week. Is Bush capable of running the White House without Cheney's help? There's a good chance we'll find out soon.
It's a shame, but this book came out too early to include a chapter on President Bush's drunk driving conviction and his cover-up of that conviction. That's something I'd really like to read about, given Bush's promise to bring character and integrity to the White House.
Author Paul Begala is no cheap partisan. As a journalist for a prominent Texas newspaper, he formed close and friendly ties with George W. for years. He intends this book not as a personal attack against the new President, but a warning to the American people about the dangers that will come with a Bush Presidency.
If you want more detailed information about Bush's political life in Texas, I suggest reading SHRUB, by Molly Ivins, another journalist from Texas. For more up-to-date information about Bush's political follies, a free online subscription to the New York Times (especially for the fantastic Politics section) is a sure bet. Start out with Is Our Children Learning, and the motivation behind the bizarre ideas pushed by President Bush will become clear.