Red and Blue Ink

Bush and Kerry aren't just fighting it out at the polls.

An evenly divided electorate, an ill-advised war gone horribly wrong, an election that's too close to call, a waffling Brahmin still stuck in Vietnam, a mule-headed Texan whose legitimacy remains in dispute—is this the greatest time in history for the book publishing industry or what? Barnes & Noble,, and The New York Times best-seller lists are bulging with political screeds from the right and left. Fueled by lingering Democratic bitterness over Florida, the rise of bellowing cable pundits like Bill O'Reilly and the decline of fact-based network news reporting, plus the continuing anxiety over post–9/11 terror, these vitriolic tomes are flying off the shelves. We thumb through two of the nastiest take-down books of the campaign season, plumbing the ugliness that so appeals to already polarized readers. From Iraq, there's more damning evidence of how Dubya ignored every red light before the invasion. Right-wing crank Pat Buchanan's new book may actually win him some liberal admirers. Garrison Keillor appeals to homegrown values, The New York Times' Maureen Dowd digs her claws into Bush, and the L.A. Weekly's John Powers stuffs Republican gloats right back in their throats. Finally, since we can't pin down John Kerry from his words or record, we try analyzing photos. Regardless of how you vote, remember that there are only 20 more shopping days before Nov. 2. If we're lucky, after four years of White House fiction, we may actually be able to go back to reading novels again. Fall Books/Politics • Why the worst things that the right and left can say about each other are sticking—and selling like hotcakes. By Tim Appelo MORE

• Maureen Dowd makes it so easy to dis Dubya. By Brian Miller MORE

• The new Camelot: Are we really ready for photos of the Brooder in Chief? By Brian Miller MORE

• A war correspondent correctly predicts the fallout to our 'success' in Iraq. By Brian Miller MORE

• Both sides get their whacks in a survey of America's two-tiered political culture. By John Dicker MORE

• Learning to love Pat Buchanan. By Knute Berger MORE

• Garrison Keillor on the future of the Democratic Party. By Gavin Borchert MORE

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