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FEATURE From Appomattox to Armageddon Tracing the Metastasis ofTexas’Values and Political Economy BY LOU DUBOSE Made In Texas: George Bush and the Southern Takeover ofAmerican Politics By Michael Lind New America Books 201 pages, $24.95. Aproper review of this book would require a committee comprised of a historian, a cultural anthropologist, an economist, and a sociologist. Or a fully developed public intellectual who has read deeply and broadly yet is still possessed of a youthful intellectual curiosity. William Bennett immediately comes to mind. But Made in Texas was assigned to meI suspect because I once edited this publication and am known to work on the cheap. The assignment was my good fortune, because Michael Lind has written a bold, multifaceted book that is a real kick to read. And he tackles a theme that is a favorite of mine: the metastasis of a system of values and a political economy made in Texas.To Lind,Texas is a Southern and not a Western State. The Republican president appointed by the Supreme Court represents the culmination of a process by which the Confederacy has reclaimed the position it held before the last great Republican president led the country to war for the right reasons. Not only has the South risen again, the values of the states that reluctantly returned to the Union after Appomattox and endured the humiliation of Reconstruction have been imposed upon the North. The guilty party is the Party of Lincoln, which has been hijacked by Southern militarists and evangelicals as primitive as the mullahs who destroyed the Buddhist statuary in Afghanistan. Hard to argue with any of that. In fact, it’s hard to argue with much of the factual material that Lind uses to support his central thesis. What critics of the work seem to be grousing about is the author’s central conceit: that cultural geographical determinism made George W. Bush the servant of an anti-modern American oligarchy that now runs the country. My problem as a reader and reviewer is that I kind of buy that, too. Maybe it’s because Made in Texas plays to my prejudices. This is a book in which all the deserving asses get a proper kicking. Jews who ought to know better \(Irving primitives who are easier to forgive because they had no intellectual tradition to abandon \(John Hagee, Lester Roloff, two great faiths \(UT professor Marvin Olasky, who is to them with a well-informed seriousness of purpose. He avoids ad hominem attacks, which are probably unnecessary considering the rich on-the-record material his subjects provide. His brief digression into the peculiar world of Marvin Olasky provides one of numerous examples why ad hominem criticism would be gilding the lily. Remember, Olasky is the intellectual father of the “compassionate conservatism” embraced by George W. Bushand the guy who gave Newt Gingrich the idea of putting children of welfare mothers in orphanages. As we approach what some evangelicals call “end times,” sectarian theological distinctions blur. The state of the nation being what it is, if David Koresh hadn’t gotten into a little jam in Waco, he might be in line for a federal grant to run one of the faith-based youth homes Olasky would like to see providing care and shelter for wayward children. And while Olasky wrote the following, it could be passed off as the work of the poor dipshit guru who sacrificed himself and his congregation in a botched FBI operation in 1993: God does not forbid women to be leaders in society, generally speaking. As in the situation of the biblical characters] Deborah and Barak, there’s a certain shame attached. I would vote for a woman for the presidency, in some situations, but again, there’s a certain shame attached. Why don’t you have a man who able to step forward? That one of the president’s advisors considers Old Testament misogyny to be canonical, doesn’t surprise me. But I live in Texas. I’ve sat with a group of adults in a ballroom of the Four Seasons in Austin and listened to a preacher from 4 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 2114/03