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Plenty of liberal scholars, entertainers and pundits have railed against the hoodwinking of the American people, but Michael Moore's Dude, Where's My Country? stands out for its thoroughly positive perspective. He says America has been tricked by Republican lawmakers and their wealthy corporate pals, who use a combination of concocted bogeymen and lies to stay rich and in control. Moore is angry and has harsh words for George W Bush and his fellow conservatives concerning the reasoning behind going to war in Iraq, the collapse of Enron and other companies, and the relationship between the Bushes, the Saudi Arabian government and Osama bin Laden. But his book is intended to serve as a handbook for how people with liberal opinions (which is most of America, Moore contends, whether they call themselves liberals or not) can take back their country from the conservative forces in power.
Moore uses his trademark brand of confrontational, exasperated humour skilfully as he offers a primer on how to change the world view of one's annoying conservative blowhard brother-in-law, and he crafts a surprisingly thorough "Draft Oprah for President" movement. Refreshingly, Dude, Where's My Country? avoids being completely one-sided, identifying areas where Moore believes Republicans get it right and making some cutting criticisms of his fellow lefties. Such allowances, brief though they may be, make one long for a political climate where the shouting polemicists on both sides would see a few more shades of grey. Dude, Where's My Country? is a little bit scattered, as Moore tries to cram opinions on Iraq, tax cuts, corporate welfare, Wesley Clark and the Patriot Act into one slim volume--and the penchant to go for a laugh sometimes gets in the way of clear arguments. But such variety also gives the reader a broader range of his bewildered, enraged yet stalwartly upbeat points of view.