Molly Ivins, that firecracker syndicated columnist, has been accused of many things—irreverence, cynicism—but never of being dull. Until now. Boy, is Molly Ivins dull. Shrub is a standard election-year hatchet job, but Molly's hatchet couldn't chop dandelions. Ivins seamfully stitches together absurd slurs (she compares Bush intellectually to Timothy McVeigh), lazy insinuations—the young Bush "lived in the fashionable (and wild) Chateau Dijon apartments and dated widely. (Reporters on the Bush drug beat continue to work this territory.)"—and such nonscandals as the use of public money to build a ballpark for the Texas Rangers baseball team Bush once co-owned, a tactic the authors admit is commonplace. Even the title is stale; Douglas G. McGrath used to call President Bush "Shrub" in his much funnier columns in The New Republic a decade ago.
Ivins was pretty sharp when Ann Richards (the Molly Ivins of governors) ran Texas, but laden as Shrub is with ancient polls, kvetches from obscure bureaucrats and trails of evidence that lead only into sagebrush, this may well be the Most Boring Political Book Not Actually Written by a Politician. (Random House, $19.95)