MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has been nominated for a Grammy Award for her book Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power. The extremely liberal MSNBC host was recognized in the spoken-word category for the audiobook version of her New York Times bestseller.
Maddow's nomination is an apt opportunity to remind our readers that an assortment of reviewers have critically panned the progressive commentator's polemic about the military-industrial complex for its blatant misrepresentation of history and glaring omissions.
While she promised common sense solutions to actual military policy problems in the introduction, Maddow reportedly devoted over half of her 252-page book detailing the shortcomings of Reagan's and the younger Bush's administrations -- while glossing over the eight years Clinton spent in office -- despite the former Democratic president's misadventures in foreign policy, such as prosecuting an air war against Serbia over Kosovo with strong opposition from the United Nations and in Congress.
At the libertarian website Reason.com, Justin Logan published a thorough critique of the book in August. He stated that while the book has a thoughtful thesis, the supporting evidence "unfortunately can't deliver" what it promises.
The chapters are stapled-together polemics about the foibles and screw ups in American defense policy. They are decent polemics, readably written. They are not, unfortunately, a coherent explanation for why America has drifted away from small-R republicanism and toward empire, much less an explanation for how to turn the tide.
In other words, Maddow's book is good as far as screeds go, but it's hardly a nuanced examination of a long history of bipartisan abuses of power by presidents when it comes to military policy.
On a narrower point but one that fundamentally gets to Maddow's credibility, Newsbuster's own Jack Coleman caught Maddow ripping a Jefferson quote grossly out of context back in March.
While no conservative found him or herself as a Grammy nominee, Maddow can boast that Fox News CEO Roger Ailes graciously gave his competitor's book a kind blurb for the back cover of Drift's dust jacket. "People who like Rachel will love the book. People who don't will get angry, but aggressive debate is good for America... Drift is a book worth reading."
It's unfortunate that such an "aggressive debate" is not reflected in the political philosophies of the nominees for the spoken word award, all of whom are outspoken liberals: former President Bill Clinton, actress/comedian and gay rights icon Ellen DeGeneres, and First Lady Michelle Obama.