Mike's Election Guide 2008

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Michael Moore, Penguin Books, £7.99

Michael Moore takes a welcome step back from the rhetoric and bombast of party politics to look at the flaws within the very fabric of the US system.

He offers several practical ideas for reform, some of which are long overdue, others less pressing ("Free HBO [TV channel] for all!"). His "regular guy" persona helps to decipher many of the strange practices of the system. His rants range from an hilarious exposé of Republican media myths spread about Barack Obama, to a somewhat simplistic plea for the US to spend less on arms and more on international development ("Let's just build more wells in Africa!"). But his egotistical style can occasionally hinder the serious points he is making.

Moore is seen by some in the US as a dangerous radical - for example, only a commie would point out that the original Oath of Allegiance was composed by a "s*cialist". Irreverent questions like, "Who would Jesus vote for?" compound this view of Moore, which alienates religious fundamentalist right wingers.

Moore gives Obama too much of an easy time. He never reaches the conclusion that one man can't change a terrible system, especially when he doesn't seek to do so. This undermines Moore as a serious political writer. Even if only in subtext, the book is essentially a call for the reader to vote Obama.