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The Price of Loyalty was a book written by Ron Suskind, based upon extensive exclusive interviews with Paul O'Neill, the Secretary of the Treasury in the first two years of the Bush administration. Paul O'Neill was none-too-ceremoniously fired for not sufficiently towing the party line, and this book is a none too subtle disparagement of the person and policies of George W Bush and his inner circle.

To say the least, there have been many detractors of the younger George Bush. This book has some obvious differences with them: if you have been president of Alcoa, and a member of the republican inner circle since the days of President Ford, and one of the highest level members of George W Bush's cabinet, your criticisms of him are going to carry a different weight then say, Michael Moore's. The essence of this book is not that Paul O'Neill has ideological differences with Bush, but that he disagrees with the very idea of ideology, or at least the heights to which he claims it was taken by Bush.

This book does have some very pointed personal comments about Bush, the most famous being that Bush is "like a blind man in a room full of deaf people", the main focus of the book is really on the breakdown of the entire policy making process at the White House. While all politicans dress things up nicely and speak in cliches when they present them to the public, O'Neill presents a White House where cliches and wishful thinking were actually a part of the behind closed doors discussion. For a administrator who grew up in the pragmatic Ford administration, the lack of rigorous analysis got to O'Neill after a while, and he couldn't take being an overglorified PR man for the administration's dubious financial policies.

One of the most interesting things about the narrative of the book is just when and where the split with Bush comes about. Although O'Neill had had problems with Bush for a while, it was a trip he took to Africa with none other than Bono that seems to accelerate his differences with the administration. It seems as if Bono's ego may actually be warranted, and he may be the player in world affairs he views himself as.

People who disagree with Paul O'Neill on the grounds that he is the prototypical corporate\government bureaucrat may not take too kindly to the suffering portrait that O'Neill paints of himself in this book. Even if he is as honest and straight forward as he paints himself, he is still a member of the military-industrial complex. However, as far as I can tell from reading the book, it seems that while O'Neill may have different beliefs then me, he does honestly and honorably believe in them. To deride him for being a member of corporate America would be just as ideological as the members of the Bush administration that ruined O'Neill's career.

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