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BOOKS & THE CULTURE Todo Por Puler BY BARBARA BELEJACK The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Family Dynasty By Kitty Kelley Doubleday 705 pages, $29.95 has incontestable evidence of the truth of all that he holds,” asked the English philosopher John Locke in 1689, “or of the falsehood of all he condemns?” Just such a man was sitting in the statehouse in Austin, Texas. Within days of his reelection as governor, George W. Bush was secretly planning to run for President, because, as he said, he felt certain he had been called. House strategist, author of The Politics of Rich and Poor and Wealth and Democracy, as well as the widely acclaimed American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush \(described by Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times as “eloquent on the continuing fallout of American decisions, beginning in the ’70s, to pour huge amounts of armaments into the tinderbox of the Persian Gulf and Middle East,” and by The Chicago Sun-Times as “so sober and steeped in learning that readers will wonder how President Bush, or any one’s man’s family, could stand Jackie Oh!, His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra, and Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biog raphy, and The Family: The Real Story of The Bush Dynasty, criticized by Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times as “a perfect artifact of a cultural climate in which gossip and innuendo thrive on the Internet.” \(And described by noted literary critic and congressional ethicist Tom DeLay as a book that “would reflect poorly on its author, if in fact any reasonable person still respected her at this advanced state of her pathological career.”? Kelley’s publisher sent a courtesy copy to DeLay; he returned you would. But you’ve answered incortions! You’re obviously up on your Bush family biographies. Or maybe you just stumbled on that passage while zipping through 700+ pages of Bushes and Walkers, Skull and Bones, Yale and Texas, looking for the good parts: allegations about the go-to girl for marijuana, pot parties in Tortola; cocaine at Camp David. Okay. Ready for another one? A hard worker, even during his harddrinking days, George’s career is marked by a slash of carelessness. He was careless with other people’s money, careless about rules, careless about using the Bush name, and careless with the truth. He, like his brothers, was careless in the way that F. Scott Fitzgerald defined the term in The Great Gatsby: “They were careless people … they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” again, the answer is Kitty. All right. Just one more: After showing Barbara through the family quarters on January 11, 1989, Nancy got the stiletto the next morning when she read Barbara’s comments: “All those closetswhy you just can’t believe all the clothes closets Mrs. Reagan has . . . I don’t know how I could possibly fill them.” Barbara had already bought an $8,000 ermine jacket and a $1,250 Judith Leibner purse for her husband’s inauguration, but no one knocked her extravagance the way critics did Nancy Reagan s. Barbara avoided her predecessor’s mistakes by withholding news about her Seventh Avenue shopping sprees and the designers who contribute to her inaugural wardrobe. When a reporter asked her at one event whose dress she was wearing, she replied, “Mine.” No contest there. Vintage Kelley. Four years in the making, released last month to pre-emptive denials from the Bush administraThe Family is a vast, unwieldy telenovela of a book. I try to use that word sparingly, since I’ve already gotten a lot of mileage using it as a hook to write about Mexican politics. But when you’re dealing with one family, two presidents, two governors \(with a governor wannabe sidelined by the S&L and drug addiction, two wars with Iraq, the military-financial-industrial complex, and legions of offspring and siblingsmany of whom require an army of forensic accountants to adequately figure out what they’re up towhat are we talking about here? Hello, sweetheart. Forget rewrite. Get me Televisa and TV Azteca. Have we got a story for you. A. “Where is the man that ll right, America. Listen up. This is a test. Who wrote the following passage: 24 THE TEXAS OBSERVER .10/22/04