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The Republican Playbook
"Stolen from the White House"

by Andy Borowitz

      This parody guide to dirty tricks and other Republican techniques for controlling the masses, trampling the Democrats, and just generally getting their own way, is an absolute hoot. Like most satire, this book is at its best the closer it runs to reality before taking you over the top. So close that you start to wonder just how much of a parody it really is. Republican poll results have been in a nosedive since I got this book - labeled "Stolen from the White House" - for review. Could their real problem be that the instruction book has gone missing?

This is supposed to be George W. Bush's personal copy, an idea reinforced through wonderfully executed "handwritten" notes and doodles ranging from an inspiration to have the tax law changed to let him claim countries he invades as dependents, to an idea about having Mr. Cheney (he's always "Mr." Cheney in here) take Chris Matthews on a hunting trip, to sketches of spiders' webs all over one page in subconscious invitation to Democrat flies. All executed in very believable imitation cheap blue ball point pen ink, and all hilarious.

Humor is such an individual thing that there were some inevitable thuds in here, for me and probably for you. But they're rare. The book is an almost uninterrupted stream of big grin to laugh hysterically funny items: from Bush's response to demands he close Guantanamo (he starts with an offer to do so on Wednesdays), to a diagrammed explanation of how to get any story you want on Fox News, to pseudo-Bushisms like (in the wake of the Katrina disaster) "As long as I sit in this chair, all future catastrophes will be planned by me." If you're a Republican with any sense of humor, you can still get a big grin because of the results-backed underlying swagger of superior cleverness and success behind it all. Democrats will enjoy the way it does a nice reductio ad absurdem on that seeming cleverness and success, while backing their darkest suspicions about what's really been going on. Highly recommended, especially during the 12 months a year political season.

The Book

Hyperion (Distributed through Hachette)
October 2006
Non-fiction Political Humor
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The Reviewer

Kim Malo
Reviewed 2006
© 2006