This volume on the professions and civic life undertakes a unique and timely examination of twelve individual professions to see how each affects the character of American citizenship and the civic culture of the nation through their practices and ethos. Among the questions each essay in the volume addresses are: What is distinctive—or not—about the specific profession as it came to be practiced in the United States? Given the specialized knowledge, training, and sometimes licensing of a profession, what do the professions perceive to be their role in promoting the larger common good? How can we bring professionals’ expert knowledge to bear on social problems in an open and deliberative way? Is the ethic of a particular profession as it understands itself today at odds with the American conception of self-government and a healthy civic life?
Through analysis of these questions, each chapter presents a rich treatment of how the twelve longstanding professions of political science, teaching, the law, the military, economics, medicine, journalism, literature, science, architecture, music, and history help support and challenge the general public’s civic behavior in general and their attachment to the American regime in particular.
Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Abraham Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.
On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry.
Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war. That Lincoln succeeded, Goodwin demonstrates, was the result of a character that had been forged by experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because he possessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires.
It was this capacity that enabled Lincoln as president to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union and winning the war.
We view the long, horrifying struggle from the vantage of the White House as Lincoln copes with incompetent generals, hostile congressmen, and his raucous cabinet. He overcomes these obstacles by winning the respect of his former competitors, and in the case of Seward, finds a loyal and crucial friend to see him through.
This brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln's mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation's history.
An unlikely political star tells the inspiring story of the two-decade journey that taught her how Washington really works—and really doesn't—in A Fighting Chance
As a child in small-town Oklahoma, Elizabeth Warren yearned to go to college and then become an elementary school teacher—an ambitious goal, given her family's modest means. Early marriage and motherhood seemed to put even that dream out of reach, but fifteen years later she was a distinguished law professor with a deep understanding of why people go bankrupt. Then came the phone call that changed her life: could she come to Washington DC to help advise Congress on rewriting the bankruptcy laws?
Thus began an impolite education into the bare-knuckled, often dysfunctional ways of Washington. She fought for better bankruptcy laws for ten years and lost. She tried to hold the federal government accountable during the financial crisis but became a target of the big banks. She came up with the idea for a new agency designed to protect consumers from predatory bankers and was denied the opportunity to run it. Finally, at age 62, she decided to run for elective office and won the most competitive—and watched—Senate race in the country.
In this passionate, funny, rabble-rousing book, Warren shows why she has chosen to fight tooth and nail for the middle class—and why she has become a hero to all those who believe that America's government can and must do better for working families.
How is it that politicians often enter office with relatively modest assets, but then, as investors, regularly beat the stock market and sometimes beat the most rapacious hedge funds? How did some members of Congress know to dump their stock holdings just in time to escape the effects of the 2008 financial meltdown? And how is it that billionaires and hedge fund managers often make well-timed investment decisions that anticipate events in Washington?
In this powerfully argued book, Peter Schweizer blows the lid off Washington’s epidemic of “honest graft.” He exposes a secret world where members of Congress insert earmarks into bills to improve their own real-estate holdings, and campaign contributors receive billions in federal grants. Nobody goes to jail. Throw Them All Out casts light into the darkest corners of the political system — and offers ways to clean house.
"Throw Them All Out is filled with stories of petty theft and so-called 'honest graft' . . . Unsparingly bipartisan in [its] criticism of Washington . . . Mr. Schweizer has performed a valuable service to his country." — Washington Times
Doris Kearns Goodwin’s The Bully Pulpit is a dynamic history of the first decade of the Progressive era, that tumultuous time when the nation was coming unseamed and reform was in the air.
The story is told through the intense friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft—a close relationship that strengthens both men before it ruptures in 1912, when they engage in a brutal fight for the presidential nomination that divides their wives, their children, and their closest friends, while crippling the progressive wing of the Republican Party, causing Democrat Woodrow Wilson to be elected, and changing the country’s history.
The Bully Pulpit is also the story of the muckraking press, which arouses the spirit of reform that helps Roosevelt push the government to shed its laissez-faire attitude toward robber barons, corrupt politicians, and corporate exploiters of our natural resources. The muckrakers are portrayed through the greatest group of journalists ever assembled at one magazine—Ida Tarbell, Ray Stannard Baker, Lincoln Steffens, and William Allen White—teamed under the mercurial genius of publisher S.S. McClure.
Goodwin’s narrative is founded upon a wealth of primary materials. The correspondence of more than four hundred letters between Roosevelt and Taft begins in their early thirties and ends only months before Roosevelt’s death. Edith Roosevelt and Nellie Taft kept diaries. The muckrakers wrote hundreds of letters to one another, kept journals, and wrote their memoirs. The letters of Captain Archie Butt, who served as a personal aide to both Roosevelt and Taft, provide an intimate view of both men.
The Bully Pulpit, like Goodwin’s brilliant chronicles of the Civil War and World War II, exquisitely demonstrates her distinctive ability to combine scholarly rigor with accessibility. It is a major work of history—an examination of leadership in a rare moment of activism and reform that brought the country closer to its founding ideals.
Forty years after its original publication, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 remains a cornerstone of American political journalism and one of the bestselling campaign books of all time. Hunter S. Thompson’s searing account of the battle for the 1972 presidency—from the Democratic primaries to the eventual showdown between George McGovern and Richard Nixon—is infused with the characteristic wit, intensity, and emotional engagement that made Thompson “the flamboyant apostle and avatar of gonzo journalism” (The New York Times). Hilarious, terrifying, insightful, and compulsively readable, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 is an epic political adventure that captures the feel of the American democratic process better than any other book ever written.
Whether you just want to know how government works, or you want to get involved to change your country, this simple guide covers all the ins and outs of Congress. It’s a nonpartisan look at Congress that includes forewords by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. Inside you’ll find easy explanations and helpful tips on how to:Get involved in the democratic process Influence legislation that’s important to you Understa nd Congress and the media Contact your senators and representatives Check out Congress in action, in person Deal with congressional staff
Expert author David Silverberg — Managing Editor and a columnist at the Washington weekly The Hill — takes the mystery out of getting something done in Congress, introducing you to the players and explaining everything from legislation and lobbying to caucuses and coalitions. Written with the citizen advocate in mind, this helpful guide gives regular people the tools and knowledge they need to achieve their aims. Inside, you’ll discover:How the three branches of government work together How to register your opinion with your elected officials How the legislative process works — from idea to law How debates, conferences, and vetoes work How budgeting and appropriations work How to get the most effect from your political contributions How the lobbying process works How to advocate for legislation How to deal with congressional staffers How to make use of congressional services
Getting something done in the messy confusion of democracy and bureaucracy is no easy task. Full of the kind of information and knowledge that Washington insiders take for granted, Congress For Dummies levels the playing field so that regular people — just like you — can make a difference, too.
The U.S. tax code is a total write-off. Crammed with loopholes and special interest provisions, it works for no one except tax lawyers, accountants, and huge corporations. Not for the first time, we have reached a breaking point. That happened in 1922, and again in 1954, and again in 1986. In other words, every thirty-two years. Which means that the next complete overhaul is due in 2018. But what should be in this new tax code? Can we make the U.S. tax system simpler, fairer, and more efficient? Yes, yes, and yes. Can we cut tax rates and still bring in more revenue? Yes.
Other rich countries, from Estonia to New Zealand to the UK—advanced, high-tech, free-market democracies—have all devised tax regimes that are equitable, effective, and easy on the taxpayer. But the United States has languished. So byzantine are the current statutes that, by our government’s own estimates, Americans spend six billion hours and $10 billion every year preparing and filing their taxes. In the Netherlands that task takes a mere fifteen minutes! Successful American companies like Apple, Caterpillar, and Google effectively pay no tax at all in some instances because of loopholes that allow them to move profits offshore. Indeed, the dysfunctional tax system has become a major cause of economic inequality.
In A Fine Mess, T. R. Reid crisscrosses the globe in search of the exact solutions to these urgent problems. With an uncanny knack for making a complex subject not just accessible but gripping, he investigates what makes good taxation (no, that’s not an oxymoron) and brings that knowledge home where it is needed most. Never talking down or reflexively siding with either wing of politics, T. R. Reid presses the case for sensible root-and-branch reforms with a companionable ebullience. This affects everyone. Doing our taxes will never be America's favorite pastime, but it can and should be so much easier and fairer.
Washington is no longer about lawmaking, it’s about moneymaking
Conventional wisdom holds that Washington is broken because outside special interests bribe politicians. The reverse is true: politicians have developed a new set of brass-knuckle legislative tactics designed to extort wealthy industries and donors into forking over big donations — cash that lawmakers often funnel into the pockets of their friends and family.
Inside this best-selling bombshell of a book, Schweizer reveals the exorbitant secret “fees” each political party charges politicians for top committee assignments; how fourteen members of Congress bagged hundreds of thousands of dollars using a little-known self-loan loophole; how politicians use PACs to bankroll lavish lifestyles; and much more. Washington’s extortion racket has gone unreported — until now.
“It’s one of the best books on politics of any kind I’ve read. For entertainment value, I put it up there with Catch 22.” —The Financial Times
“It transports you to a parallel universe in which everything in the National Enquirer is true….More interesting is what we learn about the candidates themselves: their frailties, egos and almost super-human stamina.” —The Financial Times
“I can’t put down this book!” —Stephen Colbert
Game Change is the New York Times bestselling story of the 2008 presidential election, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, two of the best political reporters in the country. In the spirit of Richard Ben Cramer’s What It Takes and Theodore H. White’s The Making of the President 1960, this classic campaign trail book tells the defining story of a new era in American politics, going deeper behind the scenes of the Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin campaigns than any other account of the historic 2008 election.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Patashnik peers into some of the most critical arenas of domestic-policy reform--including taxes, agricultural subsidies, airline deregulation, emissions trading, welfare state reform, and reform of government procurement--to identify the factors that enable reform measures to survive. He argues that the reforms that stick destroy an existing policy subsystem and reconfigure the political dynamic. Patashnik demonstrates that sustainable reforms create positive policy feedbacks, transform institutions, and often unleash the ''creative destructiveness'' of market forces.
Reforms at Risk debunks the argument that reforms inevitably fail because Congress is prey to special interests, and the book provides a more realistic portrait of the possibilities and limits of positive change in American government. It is essential reading for scholars and practitioners of U.S. politics and public policy, offering practical lessons for anyone who wants to ensure that hard-fought reform victories survive.
In Why Washington Won’t Work, Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph argue that a contemporary crisis of trust—people whose party is out of power have almost no trust in a government run by the other side—has deadlocked Congress. On most issues, party leaders can convince their own party to support their positions. In order to pass legislation, however, they must also create consensus by persuading some portion of the opposing party to trust in their vision for the future. Without trust, consensus fails to develop and compromise does not occur. Up until recently, such trust could still usually be found among the opposition, but not anymore. Political trust, the authors show, is far from a stable characteristic. It’s actually highly variable and contingent on a variety of factors, including whether one’s party is in control, which part of the government one is dealing with, and which policies or events are most salient at the moment.
Political trust increases, for example, when the public is concerned with foreign policy—as in times of war—and it decreases in periods of weak economic performance. Hetherington and Rudolph do offer some suggestions about steps politicians and the public might take to increase political trust. Ultimately, however, they conclude that it is unlikely levels of political trust will significantly increase unless foreign concerns come to dominate and the economy is consistently strong.
Barbara Sinclair traces the current ideological divide to changes in the Republican party in the 1970s and 1980s, including the rise of neoconservativism and the Religious Right. Because of these historical developments, Democratic and Republican voters today differ substantially in what they consider good public policy, and so do the politicians they elect.
Polarization has produced institutional consequences in the House of Representatives and in the Senate—witness the majority party’s threat in 2004–2005 to use the “nuclear option” of abolishing the filibuster. The president’s strategies for dealing with Congress have also been affected, raising the price of compromise with the opposing party and allowing a Republican president to govern largely from the ideological right. Other players in the national policy community—interest groups, think tanks, and the media—have also joined one or the other partisan “team.”
Party Wars puts all the parts together to provide the first government-wide survey of the impact of polarization on national politics. Sinclair pinpoints weaknesses in the highly polarized system and offers several remedies.
In today’s post-truth political landscape, there is a carefully concealed but ever-growing industry of organized misinformation that exists to create and disseminate lies in the service of political agendas. Ari Rabin-Havt and Media Matters for America present a revelatory history of this industry—which they've dubbed Lies, Incorporated—and show how it has crippled legislative progress on issues including tobacco regulation, public health care, climate change, gun control, immigration, abortion, and same-sex marriage. Eye-opening and indispensable, Lies, Incorporated takes an unflinching look at the powerful network of politicians and special interest groups that have launched coordinated assaults on the truth to shape American politics.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has tackled every obstacle she's encountered--her parents' divorce, her father's alcoholism and recovery, her political campaigns and Washington's gridlock--with honesty, humor and pluck. Now, in The Senator Next Door, she chronicles her remarkable heartland journey, from her immigrant grandparents to her middle-class suburban upbringing to her rise in American politics.
After being kicked out of the hospital while her infant daughter was still in intensive care, Klobuchar became the lead advocate for one of the first laws in the country guaranteeing new moms and their babies a 48-hour hospital stay. Later she ran Minnesota's biggest prosecutor's office and in 2006 was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from her state. Along the way she fashioned her own political philosophy grounded in her belief that partisan flame-throwing takes no courage at all; what really matters is forging alliances with unlikely partners to solve the nation's problems.
Optimistic, plainspoken and often very funny, The Senator Next Door is a story about how the girl next door decided to enter the fray and make a difference. At a moment when America's government often seems incapable of getting anything done, Amy Klobuchar proves that politics is still the art of the possible.
Since its original landmark publication in 1980, A People's History of the United States has been chronicling American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official version of history taught in schools—with its emphasis on great men in high places—to focus on the street, the home, and the, workplace.
Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, A People's History of the United States is the only volume to tell America's story from the point of view of—and in the words of—America's women, factory workers, African-Americans, Native Americans, the working poor, and immigrant laborers. As historian Howard Zinn shows, many of our country's greatest battles—the fights for a fair wage, an eight-hour workday, child-labor laws, health and safety standards, universal suffrage, women's rights, racial equality—were carried out at the grassroots level, against bloody resistance.
Covering Christopher Columbus's arrival through President Clinton's first term, A People's History of the United States, which was nominated for the American Book Award in 1981, features insightful analysis of the most important events in our history.
The Audacity of Hope is Barack Obama’s call for a different brand of politics—a politics for those weary of bitter partisanship and alienated by the “endless clash of armies” we see in congress and on the campaign trail; a politics rooted in the faith, inclusiveness, and nobility of spirit at the heart of “our improbable experiment in democracy.” He explores those forces—from the fear of losing to the perpetual need to raise money to the power of the media—that can stifle even the best-intentioned politician. He also writes, with surprising intimacy and self-deprecating humor, about settling in as a senator, seeking to balance the demands of public service and family life, and his own deepening religious commitment.
At the heart of this book is Barack Obama’s vision of how we can move beyond our divisions to tackle concrete problems. He examines the growing economic insecurity of American families, the racial and religious tensions within the body politic, and the transnational threats—from terrorism to pandemic—that gather beyond our shores. And he grapples with the role that faith plays in a democracy—where it is vital and where it must never intrude. Underlying his stories about family, friends, and members of the Senate is a vigorous search for connection: the foundation for a radically hopeful political consensus.
A public servant and a lawyer, a professor and a father, a Christian and a skeptic, and above all a student of history and human nature, Barack Obama has written a book of transforming power. Only by returning to the principles that gave birth to our Constitution, he says, can Americans repair a political process that is broken, and restore to working order a government that has fallen dangerously out of touch with millions of ordinary Americans. Those Americans are out there, he writes—“waiting for Republicans and Democrats to catch up with them.”
An eye-opening account of how Congress today really works—and how it doesn’t— Act of Congress focuses on two of the major players behind the sweeping financial reform bill enacted in response to the Great Crash of 2008: colorful, wisecracking congressman Barney Frank, and careful, insightful senator Christopher Dodd, both of whom met regularly with Robert G. Kaiser during the eighteen months they worked on the bill. In this compelling narrative, Kaiser shows how staffers play a critical role, drafting the legislation and often making the crucial deals. Kaiser’s rare insider access enabled him to illuminate the often-hidden intricacies of legislative enterprise and shows us the workings of Congress in all of its complexity, a clearer picture than any we have had of how Congress works best—or sometimes doesn’t work at all.
Gingrich’s “Contract with America” set in motion a vicious cycle, Schaller contends: as the GOP became more conservative, it became more Congress-centered, and as its congressional wing grew more powerful, the party grew more conservative. This dangerous loop, unless broken, may signal a future of increasing radicalization, dependency on a shrinking pool of voters, and less viability as a true national party. In a thought-provoking conclusion, the author discusses repercussions of the GOP decline, among them political polarization and the paralysis of the federal government.
Howell shows that an appetite for power may not inform the original motivations of those who seek to become president. Rather, this need is built into the office of the presidency itself--and quickly takes hold of whoever bears the title of Chief Executive. In order to understand the modern presidency, and the degrees to which a president succeeds or fails, the acquisition, protection, and expansion of power in a president's political life must be recognized--in policy tools and legislative strategies, the posture taken before the American public, and the disregard shown to those who would counsel modesty and deference within the White House.
Thinking about the Presidency assesses how the search for and defense of presidential powers informs nearly every decision made by the leader of the nation. In a new preface, Howell reflects on presidential power during the presidency of Barack Obama.
For four decades, Waxman has taken visionary and principled positions on crucial issues and been a driving force for change. Because of legislation he helped champion, our air is cleaner, our food is safer, and our medical care better. Thanks to his work as a top watchdog in Congress, crucial steps have been taken to curb abuses on Wall Street, to halt wasteful spending in Iraq, and to ban steroids from Major League Baseball. Few legislators can match his accomplishments or his insights on how good work gets done in Washington.
In this book, Waxman affords readers a rare glimpse into how this is achieved-the strategy, the maneuvering, the behind-the-scenes deals. He shows how the things we take for granted (clear information about tobacco's harmfulness, accurate nutritional labeling, important drugs that have saved countless lives) started out humbly-derided by big business interests as impossible or even destructive. Sometimes, the most dramatic breakthroughs occur through small twists of fate or the most narrow voting margin. Waxman's stories are surprising because they illustrate that while government's progress may seem glacial, much is happening, and small battles waged over years can yield great results.
At a moment when so much has been written about what's wrong with Congress-the gridlock, the partisanship, the influence of interest groups-Henry Waxman offers sophisticated, concrete examples of how government can (and should) work.
Jim Webb—the bestselling author and now the celebrated, outspoken U.S. Senator from Virginia—presents a clear-eyed, hard-hitting plan of attack for putting government to work for the people, rather than special interests, and for restoring the country's standing around the world.
Infused with the intelligence, force, and firebrand style that has earned Senator Jim Webb enormous national attention from his earlest days in office, A Time to Fight offers a thorough and provocative assessment of the thorniest issues Americans face today, along with cogent solutions drawn from Webb's lifetime of experience as a much-decorated Marine, a widely traveled, award-winning journalist and novelist, a highly placed member of the Reagan administration, a Senator with a son who fought as a Marine in Iraq and, perhaps most important, a proud scion of America's vast but frequently ignored working class.
Webb exposes how America has entered a dangerous, unprecedented cycle of seemingly unsolvable unknowns. Our economic policies, particularly in this age of globalization, have produced widely divergent results leading to a country calcifying along class lines. Our demographic makeup has been altered dramatically and is set to keep on changing, through both legal and illegal immigration. Our editorialists and politicians talk about the American dream, and some urge us to bring democracy to the rest of the world. But more than two million Americans are now in prison, by far the highest incarceration rate in the so-called advanced world. Our foreign policy is confused, without clear direction; increasingly vulnerable to such largely unexamined long-term threats as China's emerging power while it has become bogged down in the never-ending struggles of the Middle East. As this drift toward societal regression has taken place, America's leadership has largely been paralyzed, unable or unwilling to stop the slide. "Where are the leaders?" Webb asks. "Has our political process become so compromised by powerful interest groups and the threat of character assassination that even the best among us will not dare to speak honestly about the solutions that might bring us back to common sense and fundamental fairness?"
Through vivid personal narratives of the struggles members of his family faced, and citing the courageous actions of presidents ranging from Andrew Jackson to Teddy Roosevelt to Dwight Eisenhower, A Time to Fight provides specific, viable ideas for restoring fairness to our economic system, correcting the direction of national security efforts, ending America's military occupation of Iraq, and developing greater government accountability. Webb brings a fresh perspective to political dynamics that have shaped our country. His stirring, populist manifesto calls upon voters to make the choices that will change America for the better in this election season.
In When the Tea Party Came to Town, Robert Draper delivers the definitive account of what may turn out to be the worst congressional term in United States history. As he did in writing about President George W. Bush in Dead Certain, Draper burrows deep inside his subject, gaining cooperation from the major players, and provides an insider’s book like no one else can—a colorful, unsparingly detailed, but evenhanded narrative of how the House of Representatives became a house of ill repute. Because of the bitterly divided political atmosphere in which we live, this literary window on the backstage machinations of the House of Representatives is both captivating and timely—revealing the House in full, from the process of how laws are made (and in this case, not made) to the most eye-popping cast of lawmakers Washington has ever seen.
“Lichtman has written what may be the most important book of the year.” —The Hill
"It is still striking to see the full argument unfold and realize that you don’t have to be a zealot to imagine some version of it happening…Lies. Abuse of power. Treason. Crimes against humanity. Martial law. Lichtman throws everything Trump’s way.." —Washington Post
Professor Allan J. Lichtman, who has correctly forecasted thirty years of presidential outcomes, makes the case for impeaching the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump
In the fall of 2016, Distinguished Professor of History at American University Allan J. Lichtman made headlines when he predicted that Donald J. Trump would defeat the heavily favored Democrat, Hillary Clinton, to win the presidential election.
Now, in clear, nonpartisan terms, Lichtman lays out the reasons Congress could remove Trump from the Oval Office: his ties to Russia before and after the election, the complicated financial conflicts of interest at home and abroad, and his abuse of executive authority.
The Case for Impeachment also offers a fascinating look at presidential impeachments throughout American history, including the often-overlooked story of Andrew Johnson’s impeachment, details about Richard Nixon’s resignation, and Bill Clinton’s hearings. Lichtman shows how Trump exhibits many of the flaws (and more) that have doomed past presidents. As the Nixon Administration dismissed the reporting of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as “character assassination” and “a vicious abuse of the journalistic process,” Trump has attacked the “dishonest media,” claiming, “the press should be ashamed of themselves.”
Historians, legal scholars, and politicians alike agree: we are in politically uncharted waters—the durability of our institutions is being undermined and the public’s confidence in them is eroding, threatening American democracy itself.
Most citizens—politics aside—want to know where the country is headed. Lichtman argues, with clarity and power, that for Donald Trump’s presidency, smoke has become fire.
Political scientists have long maintained that jurisdictions are relatively static, changing only at times of dramatic reforms. Not so, says King. Combining quantitative evidence with interviews and case studies, he shows how on-going turf wars make jurisdictions fluid.
According to King, jurisdictional change stems both from legislators seeking electoral advantage and from nonpartisan House parliamentarians referring ambiguous bills to committees with the expertise to handle the issues. King brilliantly dissects the politics of turf grabbing and at the same time shows how parliamentarians have become institutional guardians of the legislative process.
Original and insightful, Turf Wars will be valuable to those interested in congressional studies and American politics more generally.
In Oversight, Minta argues that minority members of Congress act on behalf of broad minority interests--inside and outside their districts--because of a shared bond of experience and a sense of linked fate. He shows how the presence of black and Latino legislators in the committee room increases the chances that minority perspectives and concerns will be addressed in committee deliberations, and also how minority lawmakers are effective at countering negative stereotypes about minorities in policy debates on issues like affirmative action and affordable housing.
Published as four short books in the famous Real Story series—What Uncle Sam Really Wants; The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many; Secrets, Lies and Democracy; and The Common Good—they’ve collectively sold almost 600,000 copies.
And they continue to sell year after year after year because Chomsky’s ideas become, if anything, more relevant as time goes by. For example, twenty years ago he pointed out that “in 1970, about 90% of international capital was used for trade and long-term investment—more or less productive things—and 10% for speculation. By 1990, those figures had reversed.” As we know, speculation continued to increase exponentially. We’re paying the price now for not heeding him them.
These politicians took an active role and spoke out on issues from civil rights legislation and policies on Native Americans to the Chinese Exclusion Bill and foreign policy. They demanded a federal law making lynching a capital crime, denounced massacres in the South, and decried the activities of the Ku Klux Klan. They played important roles until the South successfully drove blacks away from the polls and from Congress.
In this book, Anne-Marie Taylor challenges that long-standing view, offering in its stead the portrait of a man animated more by principle than by impulse or ambition. According to Taylor, Sumner's reform-minded politics, including his fervent commitment to put an end to slavery, must be understood in the context of a young nation still struggling to live up to the Enlightenment ideals embraced by its founders and embodied in its Constitution.
Focusing on the first forty years of Sumner's life, before he took public office, Taylor traces the evolution of his character and thought among Boston's cultural elite. His belief in the virtues of cosmopolitanism, in the dignity of the human intellect and conscience, and in the possibility of a cultivated and just society, all find their roots in an education steeped in Enlightenment principles. At the same time, as a child of New England Puritanism and Revolutionary republicanism, Sumner was raised to believe in the moral obligation of the individual to work for the common good.
As Taylor shows in this richly drawn biography, much of the triumph and tragedy of Sumner's story--the energy of his idealism as well as the poignancy of his eventual disappointment-- derives from the overpowering sense of duty and national destiny imbued by his upbringing.
In 1787, when the Constitution was drafted, a woman asked Ben Franklin what the founders had given the American people. "A republic," he shot back, "if you can keep it." More than two centuries later, Metaxas examines what that means and how we are doing on that score.
If You Can Keep It is at once a thrilling review of America's uniqueness—including our role as a "nation of nations"—and a chilling reminder that America's greatness cannot continue unless we embrace our own crucial role in living out what the founders entrusted to us. Metaxas explains that America is not a nation bounded by ethnic identity or geography, but rather by a radical and unprecedented idea, based on liberty and freedom for all. He cautions us that it's nearly past time we reconnect to that idea, or we may lose the very foundation of what made us exceptional in the first place.
Eric Metaxas's latest book, Martin Luther, will be available from Viking in Fall 2017.
Growing up in Bayonne, New Jersey, the fourteen-year-old Barney Frank made two vital discoveries about himself: he was attracted to government, and to men. He resolved to make a career out of the first attraction and to keep the second a secret. Now, fifty years later, his sexual orientation is widely accepted, while his belief in government is embattled.
Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage is one man's account of the country's transformation—and the tale of a truly momentous career. Many Americans recall Frank's lacerating wit, whether it was directed at the Clinton impeachment ("What did the president touch, and when did he touch it?") or the pro-life movement (some people believe "life begins at conception and ends at birth"). But the contours of his private and public lives are less well-known. For more than four decades, he was at the center of the struggle for personal freedom and economic fairness. From the battle over AIDS funding in the 1980s to the debates over "big government" during the Clinton years to the 2008 financial crisis, the congressman from Massachusetts played a key role. In 2010, he coauthored the most far-reaching and controversial Wall Street reform bill since the era of the Great Depression, and helped bring about the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
In this feisty and often moving memoir, Frank candidly discusses the satisfactions, fears, and grudges that come with elected office. He recalls the emotional toll of living in the closet and how his public crusade against homophobia conflicted with his private accommodation of it. He discusses his painful quarrels with allies; his friendships with public figures, from Tip O'Neill to Sonny Bono; and how he found love with his husband, Jim Ready, becoming the first sitting member of Congress to enter a same-sex marriage. He also demonstrates how he used his rhetorical skills to expose his opponents' hypocrisies and delusions. Through it all, he expertly analyzes the gifts a successful politician must bring to the job, and how even Congress can be made to work.
Frank is the story of an extraordinary political life, an original argument for how to rebuild trust in government, and a guide to how political change really happens—composed by a master of the art.
Obama's state senate career and his decision to enter the U.S. Senate race are examined in this book. Despite a primary field of six competitors, Obama received more than half of the Democratic vote, defeating a multimillionaire and the state comptroller, a well-known figure in the Democratic Party. The general election imploded for the Republicans in the first few weeks of the campaign when it was revealed that their candidate was embroiled in a sex scandal. Alan Keyes, the ultraconservative, outspoken African American who had run for president twice and for the U.S. Senate from Maryland, was recruited to challenge Obama. But Obama, whose skill with the media and whose ability to raise funds was evident even in those early days of his career, easily won the race with 70 percent of the vote. The authors analyze Obama's ability to speak to the concerns of multiple constituencies by appealing to a coalition of voters that transcends race, class, and gender. At the start of his presidential run, Obama gives new meaning to the American dream.
John F. Kennedy’s path to the presidency began during his eight years of service in the United States Senate. In The Senator from New England, Sean J. Savage contends that Kennedy initially pursued a centrist, bipartisan course in his rhetoric and policy behavior regarding the regional policy interests of New England. Following his narrow defeat for the Democratic vice presidential nomination in 1956 and his nationwide speaking campaign for Adlai Stevenson, JFK’s rhetoric and policy behavior became more partisan and liberal, especially during the 1958 midterm elections. While JFK claimed that he still protected and promoted the policy interests of New England on a bipartisan basis, he used his speaking engagements to interact with Democratic politicians throughout New England in an effort to secure the entire region’s delegate votes at the 1960 Democratic National Convention. Based on the use of primary sources, archives, and special collections from four presidential libraries, the Library of Congress, Boston College, the Margaret Chase Smith Library, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and other institutions, The Senator from New England provides an unrivaled glimpse into Kennedy’s Senate career and early presidential campaign strategy.
“Sean Savage’s masterful account of the early political career of John F. Kennedy takes a commanding place in the multitude of Kennedy biographies. With his focus on Kennedy as a US Senator and his complex relationship with President Eisenhower and major figures in his own party, Savage illuminates the ambition and shrewdness of this rising star of American politics and adds nuance and complexity to our picture of JFK.” — Ross K. Baker, author of Is Bipartisanship Dead? A Report from the Senate
“Asking how John F. Kennedy extricated himself from sometimes sordid and provincial state and regional politics to become an inspiring national leader, The Senator from New England provides new insights into the forces and strategies that propelled Kennedy into the presidency.” — Donald A. Ritchie, author of The U.S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction
We all know that the very rich have gotten a lot richer these past few decades while most Americans haven’t. In fact, the exorbitantly paid have continued to thrive during the current economic crisis, even as the rest of Americans have continued to fall behind. Why do the “haveit- alls” have so much more? And how have they managed to restructure the economy to reap the lion’s share of the gains and shift the costs of their new economic playground downward, tearing new holes in the safety net and saddling all of us with increased debt and risk? Lots of so-called experts claim to have solved this great mystery, but no one has really gotten to the bottom of it—until now.
In their lively and provocative Winner-Take-All Politics, renowned political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson demonstrate convincingly that the usual suspects—foreign trade and financial globalization, technological changes in the workplace, increased education at the top—are largely innocent of the charges against them. Instead, they indict an unlikely suspect and take us on an entertaining tour of the mountain of evidence against the culprit. The guilty party is American politics. Runaway inequality and the present economic crisis reflect what government has done to aid the rich and what it has not done to safeguard the interests of the middle class. The winner-take-all economy is primarily a result of winner-take-all politics.
In an innovative historical departure, Hacker and Pierson trace the rise of the winner-take-all economy back to the late 1970s when, under a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress, a major transformation of American politics occurred. With big business and conservative ideologues organizing themselves to undo the regulations and progressive tax policies that had helped ensure a fair distribution of economic rewards, deregulation got under way, taxes were cut for the wealthiest, and business decisively defeated labor in Washington. And this transformation continued under Reagan and the Bushes as well as under Clinton, with both parties catering to the interests of those at the very top. Hacker and Pierson’s gripping narration of the epic battles waged during President Obama’s first two years in office reveals an unpleasant but catalyzing truth: winner-take-all politics, while under challenge, is still very much with us.
Winner-Take-All Politics—part revelatory history, part political analysis, part intellectual journey— shows how a political system that traditionally has been responsive to the interests of the middle class has been hijacked by the superrich. In doing so, it not only changes how we think about American politics, but also points the way to rebuilding a democracy that serves the interests of the many rather than just those of the wealthy few.
America is once again gripped by fear that we are falling behind and fast. Unlike the Soviet threat that shook our nation a half century ago, the menace today is homegrown. On issues of national importance, the two parties in Congress appear incapable of working together. Whether the threat is competition from China, crumbling infrastructure, or rising debt, Washington’s legitimacy to govern and capacity to solve problems are in doubt.
The Bipartisan Policy Center’s president, Jason Grumet, tackles this issue head-on by challenging the conventional diagnosis of the current gridlock. Rather than lamenting our differences, Grumet offers practical steps to govern a polarized nation, and he explores the unintended consequences of past reform movements. It’s a must-read for all who care about our country’s future.
This complete summary of "Republic, Lost" by Lawrence Lessig, an American attorney and political activist, presents his argument that American democracy is threatened by political corruption through money and the seizure of government control and influence by powerful interested parties. He believes that it is time for the American people to notice and take action, as this situation impedes democracy.
Added-value of this summary:
• Save time
• Understand how control, money and power influence American government
• Expand your knowledge of American politics and society
To learn more, read "Republic, Lost" and discover how we can overcome the democratic crisis by fighting against corruption in all areas of government.
In this timely book, Robert B. Reich argues that nothing good happens in Washington unless citizens are energized and organized to make sure Washington acts in the public good. The first step is to see the big picture. Beyond Outrage connects the dots, showing why the increasing share of income and wealth going to the top has hobbled jobs and growth for everyone else, undermining our democracy; caused Americans to become increasingly cynical about public life; and turned many Americans against one another. He also explains why the proposals of the “regressive right” are dead wrong and provides a clear roadmap of what must be done instead.
Here’s a plan for action for everyone who cares about the future of America.
The real story, however, is much more complicated—and dramatic—than that. With Who Freed the Slaves?, distinguished historian Leonard L. Richards tells the little-known story of the battle over the Thirteenth Amendment, and of James Ashley, the unsung Ohio congressman who proposed the amendment and steered it to passage. Taking readers to the floor of Congress and the back rooms where deals were made, Richards brings to life the messy process of legislation—a process made all the more complicated by the bloody war and the deep-rooted fear of black emancipation. We watch as Ashley proposes, fine-tunes, and pushes the amendment even as Lincoln drags his feet, only coming aboard and providing crucial support at the last minute. Even as emancipation became the law of the land, Richards shows, its opponents were already regrouping, beginning what would become a decades-long—and largely successful—fight to limit the amendment’s impact.
Who Freed the Slaves? is a masterwork of American history, presenting a surprising, nuanced portrayal of a crucial moment for the nation, one whose effects are still being felt today.
Drawing on the world of scholarship and from personal experience, Robert A. Katzmann examines governance in judicial-congressional relations. After identifying problems, he offers ways to improve understanding between the two branches.
Copublished with the Governance Institute
“An elegant synthesis done by the leading scholar in the field, which nicely integrates the work on the American Revolution over the last three decades but never loses contact with the older, classic questions that we have been arguing about for over two hundred years.”—Joseph J. Ellis, author of Founding Brothers
A magnificent account of the revolution in arms and consciousness that gave birth to the American republic.
When Abraham Lincoln sought to define the significance of the United States, he naturally looked back to the American Revolution. He knew that the Revolution not only had legally created the United States, but also had produced all of the great hopes and values of the American people. Our noblest ideals and aspirations-our commitments to freedom, constitutionalism, the well-being of ordinary people, and equality-came out of the Revolutionary era. Lincoln saw as well that the Revolution had convinced Americans that they were a special people with a special destiny to lead the world toward liberty. The Revolution, in short, gave birth to whatever sense of nationhood and national purpose Americans have had.
No doubt the story is a dramatic one: Thirteen insignificant colonies three thousand miles from the centers of Western civilization fought off British rule to become, in fewer than three decades, a huge, sprawling, rambunctious republic of nearly four million citizens. But the history of the American Revolution, like the history of the nation as a whole, ought not to be viewed simply as a story of right and wrong from which moral lessons are to be drawn. It is a complicated and at times ironic story that needs to be explained and understood, not blindly celebrated or condemned. How did this great revolution come about? What was its character? What were its consequences? These are the questions this short history seeks to answer. That it succeeds in such a profound and enthralling way is a tribute to Gordon Wood’s mastery of his subject, and of the historian’s craft.
From the Hardcover edition.
For today's readers, de Tocqueville's concern about the effect of majority rule on the rights of individuals remains deeply meaningful. His shrewd observations about the "almost royal prerogatives" of the president and the need for virtue in elected officials are particularly prophetic. His profound insights into the great rewards and responsibilities of democratic government are words every American needs to read, contemplate, and remember.
From America's call for a free press to its embrace of the capitalist system Democracy in America enlightens, entertains, and endures as a brilliant study of our national government and character. De Toqueville's concern about the effect of majority rule on the rights of individuals remains deeply meaningful. His insights into the great rewards and responsibilities of democratic government are words every American needs to read, contemplate, and remember.
From the Paperback edition.
Breakthroughs in genetics present us with a promise and a predicament. The promise is that we will soon be able to treat and prevent a host of debilitating diseases. The predicament is that our newfound genetic knowledge may enable us to manipulate our nature--to enhance our genetic traits and those of our children. Although most people find at least some forms of genetic engineering disquieting, it is not easy to articulate why. What is wrong with re-engineering our nature?
"The Case against Perfection" explores these and other moral quandaries connected with the quest to perfect ourselves and our children. Michael Sandel argues that the pursuit of perfection is flawed for reasons that go beyond safety and fairness. The drive to enhance human nature through genetic technologies is objectionable because it represents a bid for mastery and dominion that fails to appreciate the gifted character of human powers and achievements. Carrying us beyond familiar terms of political discourse, this book contends that the genetic revolution will change the way philosophers discuss ethics and will force spiritual questions back onto the political agenda.
In order to grapple with the ethics of enhancement, we need to confront questions largely lost from view in the modern world. Since these questions verge on theology, modern philosophers and political theorists tend to shrink from them. But our new powers of biotechnology make these questions unavoidable. Addressing them is the task of this book, by one of America's preeminent moral and political thinkers.
With The Politics of Resentment, Katherine J. Cramer uncovers an oft-overlooked piece of the puzzle: rural political consciousness and the resentment of the “liberal elite.” Rural voters are distrustful that politicians will respect the distinct values of their communities and allocate a fair share of resources. What can look like disagreements about basic political principles are therefore actually rooted in something even more fundamental: who we are as people and how closely a candidate’s social identity matches our own. Using Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s prominent and protracted debate about the appropriate role of government, Cramer illuminates the contours of rural consciousness, showing how place-based identities profoundly influence how people understand politics, regardless of whether urban politicians and their supporters really do shortchange or look down on those living in the country.
The Politics of Resentment shows that rural resentment—no less than partisanship, race, or class—plays a major role in dividing America against itself.
Twenty years after the publication of the bestselling All’s Fair, James Carville and Mary Matalin look at how they—and America—have changed in the last two decades.
James Carville and Mary Matalin have long held the mantle of the nation’s most ideologically mismatched and intensely opinionated political couple. In this follow-up to All’s Fair, Carville and Matalin pick up the story they began in that groundbreaking bestseller and talk family, faith, love, and politics in their two winning voices. If nothing else, this new collaboration proves that after twenty years of marriage they can still manage to agree on a few things. A fascinating look at the last two decades in American politics and an intimate, quick-witted primer on grown-up relationships and values, Love & War provides unprecedented insight into one of our nation’s most intriguing and powerful couples. With their natural charm and sharp intelligence, Carville and Matalin have written undoubtedly the most spirited memoir of the year.