We spend the hour with Molly Ivins, nationally-syndicated political columnist and author of five best-selling books including Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America. Her latest book is Who Let the Dogs In? Incredible Political Animals I have Known.
In the wake of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s scathing report that found the pretext for the U.S. invasion on Iraq was based on bad intelligence and fabricated information, President Bush yesterday vigorously defended his reasons for war:
(Tape–President Bush, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, July 7, 2004)
“Although we have not found stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, we were right to go into Iraq. We removed a declared enemy of America, who had the capability of producing weapons of mass murder, and could have passed that capability to terrorists bent on acquiring them. In the world after September the 11th, that was a risk we could not afford to take.”
Well, over a year ago, one month before the U.S. invaded Iraq, this one political columnist had to say:
“I think one can easily make a case for taking out Saddam Hussein. In fact, one could probably be made on humanitarian grounds alone. But just as there’s a downside risk to doing nothing about this man, there is a very serious downside risk to invading the country. I think the problem is not so much getting him out of there. Frankly — and if this is hubris, God forgive me — I don’t think we’ll have much trouble taking him out. But it’s what we do after we win that’s the problem. This rosy scenario where the Iraqis greet us by dancing in the streets and democracy follows one after the other in the domino theory of Southeast Asia just strikes me as ludicrously optimistic. And the funny thing is, I’ve always been an optimist–it’s practically a congenital disorder with me. But I think you’re looking at a country that”s 20 percent Kurd and 20 percent Sunni and 60 percent Shiite, and that’s pretty much a recipe for a horrible war…If you really wanted to settle down the Middle East, if what you wanted was change in the Middle East, it is perfectly obvious that the first step is resolving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.”
Those are the words of best-selling author and syndicated columnist Molly Ivins in an interview with online magazine Salon.com in February 2003 one month before the invasion of Iraq.
Molly Ivins began her career in journalism as the complaint department of the Houston Chronicle. In 1970, she became co-editor of The Texas Observer, which afforded her frequent fits of hysterical laughter while covering the Texas Legislature.
In 1976, Ivins joined The New York Times as a political reporter. The next year she was named Rocky Mountain bureau chief, chiefly because there was no one else in the bureau.
In 1982, she returned once more to Texas, which may indicate a masochistic streak, and has had plenty to write about ever since. Her column is syndicated in more than 300 newspapers, and her freelance work has appeared in Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Harper’s, and other publications. Her first book, Molly Ivins Can’t Say That Can She?, spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list. Her books with Lou Dubose on George W. Bush, Shrub and Bushwhacked, were national bestsellers.
A three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, she counts as her two greatest honors that the Minneapolis police force named its mascot pig after her and she was once banned from the campus of Texas A&M.
- Molly Ivins, nationally-syndicated political columnist and author of five best-selling books including Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America. Her latest book is Who Let the Dogs In? Incredible Political Animals I have Known.
AMY GOODMAN: She joins us in our studio today at “Democracy Now!” Welcome.
MOLLY IVINS: Thank you. Delighted to be with you.
AMY GOODMAN: It’s great to have you with us. First why don’t we start off with just a follow up to the whole Tom Delay story. Your comment.
MOLLY IVINS: Well I think you really have to understand the magnitude of the achievement with what brother Delay has done here. He is accused of breaking Texas campaign finance laws. Texas did not have any campaign finance laws. I mean you have to go some to get yourself busted on that charge. And brother Delay has just taken it to the limit.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, he comes from Texas, which is where you come from. You seem to have tried to leave, but you went back.
MOLLY IVINS: That’s it. One of those Texans who leaves and goes back, leaves and goes back. I finally gave up and knew that it was home.
AMY GOODMAN: Well that gives you special insight into really the power center of this country, with President Bush, of course, coming from there. You know him from back in high school. Is that right?
MOLLY IVINS: I do. We have been slightly acquainted that long and I must say, I’ve said a million times, I don’t think he’s mean and I don’t think he’s stupid. He’s sure not the brightest porch light on the block. He’s pretty limited. But he’s very Texan. Unlike his daddy, who clearly is an upper-class elite eastern WASP, almost a parody of that pattern, W. is very Texas-identified. I see when I look at him some very distinct strengths of Texan culture. One is the religiosity, the public display of piety. Anti-intellectualism, very common in Texas. And it’s anti-intellectualism sort of based on the premise that intellectuals are a bunch of people who use polysylabic words to make other people feel inferior. In other words, it’s a form of anti-snobism. And he’s very Texan. Much a man stuff. And the other thing, of course, that’s quite remarkable in Texas is provincialism. I think it’s a universal characteristic. New York is just as provincial as anyone else. But in Texas, it tends to be particularly aggravated. All of that is true of Bush.
AMY GOODMAN: Your new book is called “Who Let the Dogs In: Incredible Political Animals I Have Known.” Can you just start by talking about the cover?
MOLLY IVINS: A wonderful artist named drew all of the, a whole bunch of politicians as various kinds of dogs, and of course they lend themselves to this with the just wonderful elan. There’s John Kerry, this long, droopy hound. I mean it’s really quite wonderful.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, you— the book is a series of your commentary’s columns over the years.
MOLLY IVINS: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: And going back to the beginning, the reign of Ronald Reagan and big George, you take us also back and remind us who George W. Bush’s father is. I think we have a very different perspective on him right now than when he was actually Vice President and then President. Can you talk about the difference between the two? Father and son presidents?
MOLLY IVINS: Sure. Well, poppy and W. of course both suffer from different forms of the same affliction which is that they can’t speak English. And poppy, I have to say much more fun to take notes on than W. He was just courageous. He would just launch himself into a sentence. He would go through this clause after clause, still no subject. Still no predicate. At last he would come to a period in complete exhaustion. And then we would all sit there trying to figure out what he had said. And we couldn’t figure it out, and neither could he. And the thing about W. is when he misspeaks himself, you usually know what he’s trying to say. Unless he’s having a real bad day, you can tell what he meant to say even if he got some of the words a little bit wrong. They are very, very funny as a father/son pair. The old man is clearly more at home in the world. A man of wider perspective and vision, W., again, is a little more narrow, a little more Texas provincialism keeps showing. Always reminds me of any guy I ever had dinner with at the Midland Petroleum Club. You come away saying, gosh what a swell bunch of fellows. Thank God they aren’t running the world.
AMY GOODMAN: Our guest is Molly Ivins. George W. Bush, you write, has always had a mentor in his different worlds and spheres.
MOLLY IVINS: He had a couple in the oil business. He had Richard Rainwater, a lot in finance and baseball, big money guy out of Fort Worth. The late Bob Bullock, our Lieutenant Governor, was his mentor in Texas government. And it’s clear that Dick Cheney plays that role in Washington for W., the mentor.
AMY GOODMAN: More important than his father?
MOLLY IVINS: Oh, very definitely, I think so. Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about his relationship with Cheney, his relationship, and who is Karl Rove?
MOLLY IVINS: Well, now I am not a Washington reporter. I intensely covered Bush when he was Governor of Texas. But I am not one to get you the inside, the White House poop, because I don’t have any. The relationship to Rove I can speak to. I think there’s a mistaken idea that it’s like puppet and puppetmaster. Actually I think they are more like twins. I think it’s a really good team. Rove, of course, is an exceptionally good, exceptionally skillful campaign guy and Bush, himself, is really gifted at the political end of politics. But he’s always been, as he says, misunderestimated. He really is interested in and good at the political end of politics. Where you run into problems with W. is that policy bores the heck out of him. He’s just not interested. He doesn’t like to read about it, hear about it, he doesn’t like to go to long meetings, he doesn’t like to read memos. It bores him. And I’m not quite sure why you would go into government if you weren’t interested in it. But there it is. Politics, however— it’s not that unusual, by the way. I would point out that a lot of politicians who enjoy the political end of politics but they aren’t interested in government. Then there are some that are really interested in governments and are just terrible at politics.
AMY GOODMAN: George W. Bush. What is his talent, do you think?
MOLLY IVINS: Politics. He’s good at the political end of politics.
AMY GOODMAN: What did he do for his father before he, himself, became president?
MOLY IVINS: Well, he was his daddy’s campaign enforcer. In the 1988 and 1992 campaigns. He was the guy who, you know, kept everybody in line. It’s a little, I mean you get different takes on Bush at different points in his life. There’s always been a little bit of an extent to which he struck people as a jerk. I mean you know he would come through the White House when his dad was president and stab at people, “work harder, work harder.” I mean these were people who were already working 14 hours a day.
AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to Molly Ivins. Her latest book is called “Who Let the Dogs In: Incredible Political Animals I Have Known”. Well, what do you think has driven George W. Bush once he became President, drove him to invade Iraq? What does he gain from that?
MOLLY IVINS: I think very early on, I mean look, no matter whether you like George W. or not, the last thing you would have wished this poor guy was a major foreign policy crisis in his first year. To say foreign policy was not his forte is to put it mildly. Consequently, he was, to an unusual degree for President, simply dependent on others. And I think what happened very early on, possibly even before he took the oath, is that he was sort of captured by the neoconservative group. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, a whole sort of noticeable group there in Washington. They have wanted to invade Iraq for a long time. It was real high on their list, and all this was before September 11.
AMY GOODMAN: Why did they have more of his ear than his own father who, while he bombed Iraq, led the Persian Gulf War, when there was the opportunity to take out Saddam Hussein, he sided with Saddam Hussein and he pulled the troops out?
MOLLY IVINS: If you read poppy Bush’s memoir, the passage where he explain why he did not go into Baghdad after Saddam Hussein is just eerily prescient. It’s just amazing to read now. It’s exactly why we shouldn’t have done this. And poppy had it back then.
AMY GOODMAN: What did he say?
MOLLY IVINS: Oh, for all the reasons you can see. I mean sure easy war followed by the peace from hell. You are going to wind up with a hideous waste of a war and leave the American military there like scapegoats in the desert for every terrorist in the Middle East to come after.
AMY GOODMAN: What about this comment you made that if anything is resolved in the Middle East it has to be, you have to begin by resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
MOLLY IVINS: Well, I am no expert on the Middle East. Good Lord, I am a Texas political reporter, but how bright do you have to be to see that? That is the origin of the entire, not the entire mess, the entire resentment over there is the Israeli-Palestinian situation. And I am convinced that it’s solvable. It is doable. Bill Clinton came within half an inch of getting them drug to a solution. I mean it’s absolutely, I think it’s doable and one of the great tragedies of course is that W. Bush backed off and didn’t press the parties.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to play you a speech by, well, he’s not from Texas, from Vermont, Bernie Sanders.
MOLLY IVINS: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: The House voted last week to preserve a provision of the PATRIOT Act that allows the government to secretly subpoena information about citizens’ reading habits at libraries and book stores. President Bush had threatened to veto any rollback in the PATRIOT Act. As the House’s normal 50 minute time limit on votes expired, the House appeared to be set to rewrite portions of the PATRIOT Act to protect the privacy of library patrons, but the Republican leadership kept the vote open for an additional 23 minutes, during which time 10 legislators were pressured to swipe their— to switch their votes. The final vote was 210 to 210. Since a majority was needed, the effort failed. After the vote, Vermont Congressmember Bernie Sanders took to the floor of the House to condemn what happened.
CONGRESSMAN BERNIE SANDERS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And let me begin by thanking the 191 Democrats and 18 Republicans who voted for that important amendment. But I am not going to discuss the substance of that amendment because that debate took place. And I respect the people on both sides of that debate. But what I do not respect is that when we are having a debate about basic American democratic rights and what our Constitution is supposed to be, I resent bitterly on behalf of the American people that the Republican leadership rigged the game. That’s wrong. At the end of nine innings of a baseball game—(applause)—at the end of nine innings of a baseball game, the team that has the most runs wins. At the end of the 17-minutes tonight, our side won and it wasn’t even close. Now what kind of lesson— what kind of lesson are we showing the children of America when we tell them get involved in the political process. That we are a free country. That we are fighting abroad for democracy, when we rig a vote on this floor. Shame, shame, shame!
AMY GOODMAN: Vermont’s Independent Congressmember Bernie Sanders. Your response, Molly Ivins?
MOLLY IVINS: The reason that Republican rigging of the game was so particularly gratuitous was that it wasn’t one of those deals where their money clients were at stake. It wasn’t like the Medicare vote. They didn’t owe any lobbyists on this one. This was a pure liberty vote. This was pure Constitutional liberty. And for all the right-wingers whose carry on about the need to obey the Constitution and freedom, freedom, freedom, what a disgusting turn of events.
AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to Molly Ivins and we will be back with her in just a minute. Here on “Democracy Now!”
AMY GOODMAN: “No Place but Texas.” Willey Nelson here on “Democracy Now!” I’m Amy Goodman. Molly Ivins have we made you home sick yet?
MOLLY IVINS: You sure have.
AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to Molly Ivins, long-time political columnist, commentator, three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, has written a number of books, among them “Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush” then “Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America” and now she’s put together a many-collection of her columns called “Who Let the Dogs In? Incredible Political Animals I have Known.” Can you talk about the progression, your progression of understanding as you went from Shrub to Bushwhacked?
MOLLY IVINS: Well, Shrub was pretty much a straight political account of George W.'s record as Governor of Texas. When I started as a political reporter, you were told there were three rules. One was to look at the record, two was to look at the record and three was to look at the record. And then you would see how the fellow would do in the next stage of public life. And I must say I think it's a dandy rule. Lou Dubose and I were probably the only people in America who weren’t surprise by George W. Bush as President. The one area, of course, in which there was no track record, was foreign policy.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s interesting because Bush just made the comment about John Edwards about his inexperience.
MOLLY IVINS: Oh, well of course Bush had no experience at all when he started as President in foreign policy. And the amusing contention, even that he was fluent in Spanish always sent Lou and I into convulsions. He speaks the same two sentences and then they cue the mariachis. I was little surprised that he started governing so hard from the right given the controversy over the election, given that there was still some question about the legitimacy of his presidency. But it is very clear that they just decided to go for broke from the beginning. And September 11 a terrible tragedy and I certainly don’t hold him responsible, but it does seem to me that they used that for their own purposes in invading Iraq, which they wanted to do anyway.
AMY GOODMAN: In one of your most recent columns you write recently on PBS’s now, there was a long interview with Frank Lunts. The Republican pollster and message meister recently advised Republicans to explain, quote, “the policy of preemption and the war in Iraq by recommending that no speech about Iraq should begin without a reference to 9/11.”
MOLLY IVINS: Well that’s it. You keep making that connection and that’s why something like 70% of the American people thought when we went into Iraq that Saddam Hussein was directly linked to 9/11. And the Bush people just made that connection over and over and over and over and over. And it’s just not there. The interesting thing to me about politics these days, and that Lunts piece reminds me of it, he was explaining how, for example, a Republican candidate would deal with working women. Now, you are going to be amazed, Amy. But by shrewd professional questioning in focus group, Frank Lunts determined that what working mothers need most is more time in their lives. We were all so astonished to hear this. And so what he suggests is the Republican candidates say to a group, you know, when he’s campaigning, 'now I'll bet I know what it is you ladies need most. I bet, I think you need more free time.’ And the ladies will nod and raise their hands and agree and you’ve bonded with them. And you’ve shown empathy toward their major problem in life. Well yeah, you’ve shown empathy toward their major problem in life, but look at the record. The record is you cut programs, the early childhood education, you cut head start, you cut after school, you cut k-12, you cut housing budget. You are going to change your overtime. They have done everything to make this poor woman’s life more harried and frantic than ever. That’s the record. But what we call politics now and what most political writers right about is the empathy and the bonding and the word choice and the — and it has nothing to do with what’s really happening to people’s lives.
AMY GOODMAN: Speaking of the record, we have just heard about the records of George W. Bush when it comes to his military service—
MOLLY IVINS: I felt so bad for George W. Bush about that. You know, he could have conclusively proved to everybody’s satisfaction that he had finished out his time in the Air National Guard without any question at all. And darn if the records haven’t been destroyed. I know he’s upset. I know he’s upset.
AMY GOODMAN: How does that happen in Texas?
MOLLY IVINS: Darn. I just don’t know. Actually they were Pentagon records. And I want to point out in concerning the unit of the Texas Air National Guard in which our President served during the war in Vietnam, first of all, Texas was not attacked by the Viet Kong during the entire time. Second of all, there’s some, ya know, by legend, they called it the Champagne Unit full of sons of rich men, important guys, and all that. There were black members in that unit. Now they all happened to play football for the Dallas Cowboys but there you are.
AMY GOODMAN: In your book, Shrub: the Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush, you talk about Harkin where he really made his mark, whichever way, in the oil world, as being a mini-Enron.
MOLLY IVINS: Yeah. Little tiny Enron. All the same deals. All the same insider selling on information, all the same insider trading where they flip, you know, they would loan money to themselves to buy an asset to make it look better on the books. It was cute.
AMY GOODMAN: As we travel around the country in this Exception to the Rulers Tour honoring media, radio, television, independent bookstores, newspapers that are independent, you hail from the “Texas Observer.”
MOLLY IVINS: Indeed, I do. So does Lou Dubose and so do a number of other fairly distinguished journalists, actually. We aren’t by any means the best of the bunch. The “Texas Observer” is a small progressive magazine that is 50 years old this year and for 50 years, on practically no money at all, it has been raising hell and kicking butt down in Texas. It is living proof that you don’t need a lot of money and you don’t need a lot of horses. What journalists mostly need to do is get up off their butts and go out and do it. And I am so proud to be associated with the “observer” and I am more and more convinced as you all are in the organizations that you honor that as we watch the concentration of ownership of mass media, it’s more and more important to keep these little independent voices alive. I think that’s where the hope of journalism lies.
AMY GOODMAN: And what do you think of the major corporate news core these days?
MOLLY IVINS: Well I am optimistic to the point of idiocy. The think the technology of the Internet may yet break up this entire pattern of concentration.
AMY GOODMAN: How?
MOLLY IVINS: Well, the Internet is really interesting in terms of —- I am not an expert in this field so these are ideas I borrowed from other people. If you have for example the “New York Times”—-It’s a source of authority up her; it goes down to reader reader reader. CBS goes down to viewer viewer viewer. The Internet goes side ways. It is—there’s another hierarchy about it. The best thing about it is the worst thing about it which is there are no gatekeepers on the Internet. Consequently, there’s a whole lot of bad information on the Internet. But I think that sorts it self out over time.
AMY GOODMAN: Molly Ivins, you wrote in a posting on June 10, “When in the future you find yourself wondering whatever happened to the constitution, you will want to go back and look at June 8, 2004. That was the day the Attorney General of the United States a.k.a. The nation’s top law enforcement officer refused to provide the Senate Judiciary Committee with his department’s memos concerning torture.” Take it from there.
MOLLY IVINS: He not only refused to produce his department’s memos concerning torture, what a great moment in our country’s history this is, but refused to give them any reason why he should or shouldn’t. It was the old middle-finger explanation. And the whole question of people high in government sitting there solemn and many of them lawyers, solemnly discussing whether or not torture is justified strikes me as surreal to the point of being almost insane. You know, there’s been a lot of experience with torture in history, Amy. It doesn’t work.
AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to Molly Ivins. She’s written many books and many more columns, hundreds and hundreds of them. Her latest book is called “Who Let the Dogs In? Incredible Political Animals I have Known.” As you do your writing, as you observe Texas politics gone national, actually gone global, you had some pretty good predictions a year ago before the invasion about what would happen.
MOLLY IVINS: Yeah, you can’t win any popularity contests by sitting around saying, I told you so.
AMY GOODMAN: But what about today looking forward?
MOLLY IVINS: Well, I am much too smart to call a political race this far out and I think anybody who does is a nincompoop. You see all these people on television these pundants who make big money confidently predicting the outcome of a close race that’s months way. I think they are fools. Always optimistic to the point of idiocy, I think Bush is beatable. I’m not saying he will be beaten, but I think he’s beatable. And I also think it’s, boy, you talk about a safe position, it’s an event-driven election. It’s going to be the outcome will depend on events, on whether or not Iraq continues to unwind, on whether the economy gets better or worse, if god-forbid there’s a terrorist attack. I think all of that is the outcome.
AMY GOODMAN: John Kerry, John Edwards, your thoughts?
AMY GOODMAN: Well, of course John Kerry is a boring stiff. He’s a boring stiff with intelligence. He’s a boring stiff with experience, but he’s still a boring stiff. And adding Edwards to the campaign might have made him look stiffer. But I think it’s had the opposite effect. It’s loosened him up. I would like to point out that John Kerry has made two jokes in the last week. Now, they were little jokes, but they were still jokes.
AMY GOODMAN: You’ve said, you know, Hillary Clinton’s comment that there’s a vast right-wing conspiracy out there, that you actually disagree.
MOLLY IVINS: Totally disagree. There’s no conspiracy about it. There’s nothing hidden. It’s all right out there in the open. It always has been. For 30 years now, a bunch of right-wing money has funded think tanks and subsidized publications and intellectuals to sit around and tell us how bad government is. These are the kind of people who always hated taxes, always hated government, same old same old. You look again and again and you find those same foundations behind one effort after another. And of course it has a cumulative effect. Most people think government could screw up a two-car funeral.
AMY GOODMAN: Molly Ivins, on the issue of the media, I wanted to play a clip for you of a news conference yesterday that took place, which is now introducing a film that is coming out this week around the country, a new documentary by filmmaker Robert Greenwald called “Out Fox,” which criticizes Rupert Merdoch’s Fox News channel. They held the news conference and this is Larry Johnson. This is a former C.I.A. Operative named Larry Johnson, former Fox News contributor, talking about Fox’s access to the Pentagon. Then I would like to get your comment.
LARRY JOHNSON: To this day, the Department of Defense, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, hold regular meetings with the military talking heads. The guys you see that go on Fox, on MSNBC, on CNN. At these meetings, of significant percentage, the most represented network at those meetings, is Fox News (the military analysts like Paul Vallely, Tom Mclerney and others). What happens at those meetings is talking points are passed out, recommended points that the military talking heads should make. And if you go back and look at the buildup to war, particularly the messages that the Generals Mclerney and the General Vallely were presenting, it was consistent with the talking points that they were getting over at the Department of Defense. Folks, that’s manipulation of the news.
AMY GOODMAN: That is Larry Johnson, former C.I.A. Operative and former Fox News contributor talking about Fox’s access to the Pentagon. Molly Ivins?
MOLLY IVINS: Well of course it is manipulation of the news. And I must say, I hate to sound like a Texan, but the first newspaper Murdoch ever bought was the “San Antonio Express” and he took it into the gutter and interestingly enough, he took its competition into the gutter with him. Newspaper competition, which practically doesn’t exist at all anywhere anymore, is kind of like poker. You can both go high or low or split the pot. And I think what Murdoch brought to this country was a brutish sensibility of there’s the quality press and then there’s the tabloids and it’s the tabloid trash. And we didn’t—that’s really not much of a native-American tradition. Our tradition of the popular press actually comes from the two-penny papers of the turn of the century and if you go back and look at them, there’s an extraordinary tradition underneath the masthead, the daily jump up and hallelujah, there’ll be some slogan like, 'with the people against the bosses,' 'with the masses against the tyrants,' sort of fighting word kind of stuff and this was a major daily newspaper taking sides like that. Well the whole idea of the popular press was that it stood for the average Joe, Joe six pack. And what Murdoch introduced into this country was the always effective British combination which is where you marry TNA, sex page-three girls or whatever they are called in Britain, a lot of bosomy bathing beauties with patriotism. Jingoism, flag waiving, and it’s a very effective combination. And he’s introduced it here beautifully and it’s taken hold particularly on television.
AMY GOODMAN: We only have a few seconds left. What advice would you give to young reporters or people who are thinking about going into journalism? Should they bother?
MOLLY IVINS: Oh, absolutely. Get in there and raise hell, people.
AMY GOODMAN: Molly Ivins, our guest. Molly, thank you very much for being with us. Molly Ivins’ latest book is called “Who Let the Dogs In? Incredible Political Animals I have Known.”