Michael Moore reminds me of Abbie Hoffman. Like Abbie used to do, Moore practices without naming it, a happy philosophy that we once called Yippie! He's a rebel activist against all unjust authority. Moore believes that even the most extreme left-wing ideas can be made persuasive, even seductive if presented in an entertaining way. And he has proved that, in his award winning documentary Roger and Me on his various TV shows and now in his latest book Stupid White Men.

His publishers, HarperCollins, didn't want this book to come out after September 11 and the terrorist attack on New York. They wanted it to be rewritten, especially the parts about George Bush. They thought it was dated.

Moore covers the election and its aftermath. Remember the good warm days before September 11? Bush had little legitimacy as President because everyone knew he didn't really win the election and because his policies so nakedly favored the rich. But after the murderous attack everything changed. Right? Now Bush had 90% support. He was a powerful popular President. A book that ridiculed Bush the way Stupid White Men did was doomed to collect dust in book stores and be turned to pulp.

Moore refused to change one word of his book. And surprise! When I saw Michael Moore speak here in Portland to an overflow crowd of 3,500 his book was number one on the NY Times best seller list. His 'dated' portrait of Bush and his right-wing junta, was at the top of the charts.

What can I say about Stupid White Men? That it's very funny and very radical. Perhaps the last time I could write this about anything was when the Yippies ran a pig for president. And that was in 1968!

Moore touches on a variety of subjects from racism and sexism to Volkswagens, pollution, the educational system, the airlines, TV and Ralph Nader. He remains entertaining, hilarious and provocative. He has great stunts and powerful pranks for taking on the enemies of the planet but one theme runs through it all. Bush didn't win the election! His regime is a junta of rich white people running the world on behalf of rich white people. Bush is stupid. And his white friends are stupid. Bush is vicious. Bush sucks!

Reading the book provides a pleasant return to a pre-September 11 sense of confidence. Yes, Bush stole the election in a coup but he doesn't have the type of charisma and popularity to create a dictatorship. And he certainly will go down in the next election. His loss will be so big, that next time his father and brother won't be able to steal the election away from the voters. Ah, those were the good old days! In our current 'war on terror' scenario Bush is rapidly laying the foundation of a permanent extra-constitutional state of marshall law. There are secret courts and shadow governments that encourage citizens to spy on citizens, round ups, jailings without charges, assaults on lawyers, the CIA and the US military being brought into domestic law enforcement, and a continuously manipulated atmosphere of hyper-paranoia.

But Moore isn't showing fear. He is still confident. When he spoke here in Portland at Lewis & Clark College he acknowledged that Bush was piling up points for an American dictatorship but the author insisted that underneath it all his optimistic analysis of Bush's political vulnerability was still very valid. Polls show 'W's' popularity going down, now 69% and falling, and that most Americans remain quite liberal on the issues. Bush does benefit from induced fear. Fear of terrorists and fear of him. But Moore argues that if the Democrats find their old F.D. Roosevelt courage and take on this pretender president, they will inspire Americans to turn against him in monstrous numbers.

Will the Democrats find their integrity? Moore says that maybe fear of another Ralph Nader campaign and a second Bush administration will push them to real populism.

Perhaps the best argument for Moore's optimism, is Moore. His publisher turned against his book because they thought September 11 made it very out of date. They didn't think he would sell five copies. And they have done next to nothing to push his book tour. And surprise! Stupid White Men hit #1 in sales! As Moore told the cheering crowd, "You are not alone." I guess Bush does have a nightmare after all. It's us. It's Michael Moore's readers.

 Michael and Me

Michael Moore's first chapter on the coup, is called "A Very American Coup." You will find an article by the very same name on this web site under my Rants & Raves section. The timing of publication indicates that we may have provided some slight inspiration to brother Moore. This is quite an honor.

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