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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Michael Savage predicted the chaos that is Obama's legacy. Now he tells us whether the destruction can be stopped! The prophetic author of the bestselling Government Zero, Dr. Michael Savage is back with his most urgent and powerful work.
Listeners to Dr. Savage's top-rated radio talk show, The Savage Nation, know him to be an articulate and engaged spokesman for traditional American values of borders, language, and culture.
Now, after eight divisive years of Barack Obama, Dr. Savage lays out an irrefutable case for how our nation has been undermined by terrorists from without, by anarchists from within, by a president and politicians with contempt for the Constitution and the law, and by a complicit liberal media.
With words and topics that are as insightful as they are timely, he makes an ironclad case for the dangers we face from Hillary Clinton and her fellow travelers in the progressive movement. He also explains why Donald Trump may be one of the two best hopes for America's future as we try to regain control of our government, our country, and our national soul.
The other hope? As Dr. Savage explains in some of his most heartfelt and passionate words, it is we, the people: the ordinary "Eddies," as he calls them-motivated, roused, and engaged.
This book is about much more than an election. It is a veteran commentator and celebrated raconteur providing a blueprint for how to regain our cherished freedoms and our national identity . . . before they are lost forever.
When Bernie Sanders began his race for the presidency, it was considered by the political establishment and the media to be a “fringe” campaign, something not to be taken seriously. After all, he was just an Independent senator from a small state with little name recognition. His campaign had no money, no political organization, and it was taking on the entire Democratic Party establishment.
By the time Sanders’s campaign came to a close, however, it was clear that the pundits had gotten it wrong. Bernie had run one of the most consequential campaigns in the modern history of the country. He had received more than 13 million votes in primaries and caucuses throughout the country, won twenty-two states, and more than 1.4 million people had attended his public meetings. Most important, he showed that the American people were prepared to take on the greed and irresponsibility of corporate America and the 1 percent.
In Our Revolution, Sanders shares his personal experiences from the campaign trail, recounting the details of his historic primary fight and the people who made it possible. And for the millions looking to continue the political revolution, he outlines a progressive economic, environmental, racial, and social justice agenda that will create jobs, raise wages, protect the environment, and provide health care for all—and ultimately transform our country and our world for the better. For him, the political revolution has just started. The campaign may be over, but the struggle goes on.
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.
Have you ever wondered what was really meant by one or more of the ten amendments?
Have you ever been unsure as to how these rights apply to modern society?
Have you even questioned if the Bill of Rights should still be held as inviolable law, nearly 250 years after its writing?
Here's the truth: the Bill of Rights is not easy to understand if you just pick it up and give it a read. The eloquent style in which it's written can be confusing. The language can cause misunderstandings. There's a lot of legal terminology that's beyond most of us. Without an understanding of the historical background of certain amendments, it's impossible to fully understand their importance and scope. And to top it all off, there are countless politicians and pundits that try to interpret our rights for us and tell us what the Founders meant.
But are you comfortable letting crooked politicians decide what your rights are? Or would you rather know and be able to insist on, with certainty, the freedoms our Founders intended for you, your family, your friends, and your fellow Americans? If you're like millions of other Americans, you'll choose the latter.
Thomas Jefferson said, "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." He also said, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was and never will be."
That's why this book was created, and it would make the Founders proud if they were here today. This book helps you easily reach a deep understanding of the Bill of Rights by walking you through each amendment, clarifying the precise definitions of key words; providing the historical context you need to fully grasp and spirit and importance of the amendments; sharing powerfully insightful quotes on each amendment, straight from the Founders and their peers; supplying you with an extensive glossary of terms so you never get lost in a dictionary or encyclopedia trying to understand what you're reading; and more.
The Founders fought tirelessly to guarantee you specific rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Don't let two-faced politicians and pundits tell you what your rights are.
Scroll up and click the "Buy" button now to learn your rights, and together, we can keep the spirit of freedom alive in this great nation.
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.
The United States is in the midst of an economic implosion that could make the Great Depression look like child's play. In THE CRASH OF 2016, Thom Hartmann argues that the facade of our once-great United States will soon disintegrate to reveal the rotting core where corporate and billionaire power and greed have replaced democratic infrastructure and governance. Our once-enlightened political and economic systems have been manipulated to ensure the success of only a fraction of the population at the expense of the rest of us.
The result is a "for the rich, by the rich" scheme leading to policies that only benefit the highest bidders. Hartmann outlines the destructive forces-planted by Lewis Powell in 1971 and come to fruition with the "Reagan Revolution"-that have looted our nation over the past decade, and how their actions fit into a cycle of American history that lets such forces rise to power every four generations.
However, a backlash is now palpable against the "economic royalists"-a term coined by FDR to describe those hoarding power and wealth-including the banksters, oligarchs, and politicians who have plunged our nation into economic chaos and social instability.
Although we are in the midst of what could become the most catastrophic economic crash in American History, a way forward is emerging, just as it did in the previous great crashes of the 1760s, 1856, and 1929. The choices we make now will redefine American culture. Before us stands a genuine opportunity to embrace the moral motive over the profit motive-and to rebuild the American economic model that once yielded great success.
Thoroughly researched and passionately argued, THE CRASH OF 2016 is not just a roadmap to redemption in post-Crash America, but a critical wake-up call, challenging us to act. Only if the right reforms are enacted and the moral choices are made, can we avert disaster and make our nation whole again.
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.
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
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.
When our founding fathers secured the Constitutional “right of the people to keep and bear arms,” they also added the admonition that this right SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.
It is the only time this phrase appears in the Bill of Rights. So why aren’t more people listening?
History has proven that guns are essential to self-defense and liberty—but tragedy is a powerful force and has led many to believe that guns are the enemy, that the Second Amendment is outdated, and that more restrictions or outright bans on firearms will somehow solve everything.
They are wrong.
In CONTROL, Glenn Beck presents a passionate, fact-based case for guns that reveals why gun control isn’t really about controlling guns at all; it’s about controlling us. In doing so, he takes on and debunks the common myths and outright lies that are often used to vilify guns and demean their owners:
The Second Amendment is ABOUT MUSKETS . . . GUN CONTROL WORKS in other countries . . . 40 percent of all guns are sold without BACKGROUND CHECKS . . . More GUNS MEAN more MURDER . . . Mass shootings are becoming more common . . . These awful MASSACRES ARE UNIQUE TO AMERICA . . . No CIVILIAN needs a “weapon of war” like the AR-15 . . . ARMED GUARDS in schools do nothing, just look at Columbine . . . Stop FEARMONGERING, no one is talking about TAKING YOUR GUNS AWAY.
Backed by hundreds of sources, this handbook gives everyone who cares about the Second Amendment the indisputable facts they need to reclaim the debate, defeat the fear, and take back their natural rights.
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
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.
Serving as U.S. representative from 1885 to 1891, governor of Wisconsin from 1901 to 1906, and senator from Wisconsin from 1906 to his death in 1925, La Follette earned the nickname "Fighting Bob" through his uncompromising efforts to reform both politics and society, especially by championing the rights of the poor, workers, women, and minorities.
Based on La Follette family letters, diaries, and other papers, this biography covers the personal events that shaped the public man. In particular, Unger explores La Follette's relationship with his remarkable wife, feminist Belle Case La Follette, and with his sons, both of whom succeeded him in politics. The La Follette who emerges from this retelling is an imperfect yet appealing man who deserves to be remembered as one of the United States' most devoted and effective politicians.
“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.
Based on interviews with more than seventy-five people who have worked alongside Mitch McConnell or otherwise interacted with him over the course of his career, The Cynic, which will be published as an original ebook, is both a comprehensive biography of one of this country’s most powerful politicians and a damning diagnosis of this country's eroding political will.
Tracing his rise from a pragmatic local official in Kentucky to the leader of the Republican opposition in Washington, the book tracks McConnell’s transformation from a moderate Republican who supported abortion rights and public employee unions to the embodiment of partisan obstructionism and conservative orthodoxy on Capitol Hill. Driven less by a shift in ideological conviction than by a desire to win elections and stay in power at all costs, McConnell’s transformation exemplifies the “permanent campaign” mindset that has come to dominate American government.
From his first race for local office in 1977—when the ad crew working on it nicknamed McConnell “love-me-love-me” for his insecurity and desire to please—to his fraught accommodation of the Tea Party, McConnell’s political career is a story of ideological calcification and a vital mirror for understanding this country’s own political development and what is wrought when politicians serve not at the behest of country, but at the behest of party and personal aggrandizement.
The First Congress may have been the most important in American history because it established how our government would work. The Constitution was a broad set of principles that left undefined the machinery of government. Fortunately, far-sighted, brilliant, and determined men such as Washington, Madison, Adams, Hamilton, and Jefferson (and others less well known today) labored to create a functioning government.
In The First Congress, award-winning author Fergus Bordewich brings to life the achievements of the First Congress: it debated and passed the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which we know as the Bill of Rights; admitted North Carolina and Rhode Island to the union when they belatedly ratified the Constitution, then admitted two new states, Kentucky and Vermont, establishing the procedure for admitting new states on equal terms with the original thirteen; chose the site of the national capital, a new city to be built on the Potomac; created a national bank to handle the infant republic’s finances; created the first cabinet positions and the federal court system; and many other achievements. But it avoided the subject of slavery, which was too contentious to resolve.
The First Congress takes us back to the days when the future of our country was by no means assured and makes “an intricate story clear and fascinating” (The Washington Post).
To millions of people, Nick Offerman is America. Both Nick and his character, Ron Swanson, are known for their humor and patriotism in equal measure.
After the great success of his autobiography, Paddle Your Own Canoe, Offerman now focuses on the lives of those who inspired him. From George Washington to Willie Nelson, he describes twenty-one heroic figures and why they inspire in him such great meaning. He combines both serious history with light-hearted humor—comparing, say, Benjamin Franklin’s abstinence from daytime drinking to his own sage refusal to join his construction crew in getting plastered on the way to work. The subject matter also allows Offerman to expound upon his favorite topics, which readers love to hear—areas such as religion, politics, woodworking and handcrafting, agriculture, creativity, philosophy, fashion, and, of course, meat.
From the Hardcover edition.
Filibustering explains how and why obstruction has been institutionalized in the U.S. Senate over the last fifty years, and how this transformation affects politics and policymaking. Koger also traces the lively history of filibustering in the U.S. House during the nineteenth century and measures the effects of filibustering—bills killed, compromises struck, and new issues raised by obstruction. Unparalleled in the depth of its theory and its combination of historical and political analysis, Filibustering will be the definitive study of its subject for years to come.
In 1967, Bashir Al-Khayri, a Palestinian twenty-five-year-old, journeyed to Israel, with the goal of seeing the beloved old stone house, with the lemon tree behind it, that he and his family had fled nineteen years earlier. To his surprise, when he found the house he was greeted by Dalia Ashkenazi Landau, a nineteen-year-old Israeli college student, whose family fled Europe for Israel following the Holocaust. On the stoop of their shared home, Dalia and Bashir began a rare friendship, forged in the aftermath of war and tested over the next thirty-five years in ways that neither could imagine on that summer day in 1967. Based on extensive research, and springing from his enormously resonant documentary that aired on NPR's Fresh Air in 1998, Sandy Tolan brings the Israeli-Palestinian conflict down to its most human level, suggesting that even amid the bleakest political realities there exist stories of hope and reconciliation.
With characteristic tenacity, John Stossel outlines and exposes the fallacies and facts of the most pressing issues of today’s social and political climate—and shows how our intuitions about them are, frankly, wrong:
• the unreliable marriage between big business, the media, and unions
• the myth of tax breaks and the ignorance of their advocates
• why “central planners” never create more jobs and how government never really will
• why free trade works—without government Interference
• federal regulations and the trouble they create for consumers
• the harm caused to the disabled by government protection of the disabled
• the problems (social and economic) generated by minimum-wage laws
• the destructive daydreams of “health insurance for everyone”
• bad food vs. good food and the government’s intrusive, unwelcome nanny sensibilities
• the dumbing down of public education and teachers’ unions
• how gun control actually increases crime
. . . and more myth-busting realities of why the American people must wrest our lives back from a government stranglehold.
Stossel also reveals how his unyielding desire to educate the public with the truth caused an irreparable rift with ABC (nobody wanted to hear the point-by- point facts of ObamaCare), and why he left his long-running stint for a new, uncensored forum with Fox. He lays out his ideas for education innovation as well and, finally, makes it perfectly clear why government action is the least effective and desirable fantasy to hang on to. As Stossel says, “It’s not about electing the right people. It’s about narrowing responsibilities.” No, They Can’t is an irrefutable first step toward that goal.
In a sweeping narrative about the people and the politics behind the budget--a topic that is fiercely debated today in the halls of Congress and the media, and yet is often misunderstood by the American public--Wessel looks at the 2011 fiscal year (which ended September 30) to see where all the money was actually spent, and why the budget process has grown wildly out of control. Through the eyes of key people, including Jacob Lew, White House director of the Office of Management and Budget; Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office; Blackstone founder and former Commerce Secretary Pete Peterson; and more, Wessel gives readers an inside look at the making of our unsustainable budget.
Al Franken, one of our “savviest satirists” (People), has been studying the rhetoric of the Right. He has listened to their cries of “slander,” “bias,” and even “treason.” He has examined the GOP's policies of squandering our surplus, ravaging the environment, and alienating the rest of the world. He’s even watched Fox News. A lot.
And, in this fair and balanced report, Al bravely and candidly exposes them all for what they are: liars. Lying, lying liars. Al destroys the liberal media bias myth by doing what his targets seem incapable of: getting his facts straight. Using the Right’s own words against them, he takes on the pundits, the politicians, and the issues, in the most talked about book of the year.
Timely, provocative, unfailingly honest, and always funny, Lies sticks it to the most right-wing administration in memory, and to the right-wing media hacks who do its bidding.
Americans are at the mercy of powerful figures in business and government who are virtually unaccountable. The Obama Administration in particular has broken new ground in its monitoring of journalists, intimidation and harassment of opposition groups, and surveillance of private citizens.
Sharyl Attkisson has been a journalist for more than thirty years. During that time she has exposed scandals and covered controversies under both Republican and Democratic administrations. She has also seen the opponents of transparency go to ever greater lengths to discourage and obstruct legitimate reporting.
Attkisson herself has been subjected to “opposition research” efforts and spin campaigns. These tactics increased their intensity as she relentlessly pursued stories that the Obama Administration dismissed. Stonewalled is the story of how her news reports were met with a barrage of PR warfare tactics, including online criticism, as well as emails and phone calls up the network chain of command in an effort to intimidate and discourage the next story. In Stonewalled, Attkisson recounts her personal tale, setting it against the larger story of the decline of investigative journalism and unbiased truth telling in America today.
Hailed by David Weigel in Slate as having “had more of an impact on the 2012 election than any journalist,” James O’Keefe is young, brash, and provocative: a new breed of guerrilla reporter for the twenty-first century. He and his associates have famously infiltrated some of America’s most protected organizations and institutions. Now, in Breakthrough, O’Keefe chronicles the harrowing undercover investigation that opened America’s eyes to the chicanery of its state houses and the duplicity of the White House during one of the most compromised election campaigns in our nation’s history: the 2012 presidential race.
Of all his controversial sting operations, this was the one that his late mentor, Andrew Breitbart, called “his most consequential.” While still on federal probation, O’Keefe organized an army of citizen journalists, planned a series of video stings to reveal the American system’s vulnerability to voter fraud, and went nose to nose with the most powerful political machine in the world. Along the way, O’Keefe found disheartening evidence that Americans are not nearly as free as we may believe, but also showed just how much real change ordinary citizens can bring about when they are willing to risk the wrath of the powerful.
Free of ideology, Breakthrough is at its core a clarion call for a more ethical society. Despite being vilified and libeled by an establishment media dedicated to suppressing the truth, James O’Keefe has dared to break through the firewall and reshape public opinion by showing things as they really are.
From the author of The Last Magazine, a shocking behind-the-scenes portrait of our military commanders, their high-stake maneuvers, and the politcal firestorm that shook the United States.
In the shadow of the hunt for Bin Laden and the United States’ involvement in the Middle East, General Stanley McChrystal, the commanding general of international and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, was living large. His loyal staff liked to call him a “rock star.” During a spring 2010 trip, journalist Michael Hastings looked on as McChrystal and his staff let off steam, partying and openly bashing the Obama administration. When Hastings’s article appeared in Rolling Stone, it set off a political firestorm: McChrystal was unceremoniously fired.
In The Operators, Hastings picks up where his Rolling Stone coup ended. From patrol missions in the Afghan hinterlands to senior military advisors’ late-night bull sessions to hotel bars where spies and expensive hookers participate in nation-building, Hastings presents a shocking behind-the-scenes portrait of what he fears is an unwinnable war. Written in prose that is at once eye-opening and other times uncannily conversational, readers of No Easy Day will take to Hastings’ unyielding first-hand account of the Afghan War and its cast of players.
America was founded in rebellion against nobility and inherited status. Yet from the start, dynastic families have been conspicuous in national politics. The Adamses. The Lodges. The Tafts. The Roosevelts. The Kennedys. And today the Bushes and the Clintons.
Longtime presidential historian Stephen Hess offers an encyclopedic tour of the families that have loomed large over America's political history.
Starting with John Adams, who served as the young nation's first vice president and earned the nickname "His Rotundity," Hess paints the portraits of the men and women who, by coincidence, connivance, or sheer sense of duty, have made up America's political elite. There are the well-known dynasties such as the Roosevelts and the Kennedys, and the names that live on only in history books, such as the Bayards (six generations of U.S. senators) and the Breckinridges (a vice president, two senators, and six representatives).
Hess fills the pages of America's Political Dynasties with anecdotes and personality-filled stories of the families who have given the United States more than a fair share of its presidents, senators, governors, ambassadors, and cabinet members.
This book also tells us the stories of the Bushes and what looks to be a political dynasty in waiting, the Clintons. Emblematic of America's growing diversity, Hess also examines how women, along with ethnic and racial minorities, have joined the ranks of dynastic political families.
From Anthony Everitt, the bestselling author of acclaimed biographies of Cicero, Augustus, and Hadrian, comes a riveting, magisterial account of Rome and its remarkable ascent from an obscure agrarian backwater to the greatest empire the world has ever known.
Emerging as a market town from a cluster of hill villages in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C., Rome grew to become the ancient world’s preeminent power. Everitt fashions the story of Rome’s rise to glory into an erudite page-turner filled with lasting lessons for our time. He chronicles the clash between patricians and plebeians that defined the politics of the Republic. He shows how Rome’s shrewd strategy of offering citizenship to her defeated subjects was instrumental in expanding the reach of her burgeoning empire. And he outlines the corrosion of constitutional norms that accompanied Rome’s imperial expansion, as old habits of political compromise gave way, leading to violence and civil war. In the end, unimaginable wealth and power corrupted the traditional virtues of the Republic, and Rome was left triumphant everywhere except within its own borders.
Everitt paints indelible portraits of the great Romans—and non-Romans—who left their mark on the world out of which the mighty empire grew: Cincinnatus, Rome’s George Washington, the very model of the patrician warrior/aristocrat; the brilliant general Scipio Africanus, who turned back a challenge from the Carthaginian legend Hannibal; and Alexander the Great, the invincible Macedonian conqueror who became a role model for generations of would-be Roman rulers. Here also are the intellectual and philosophical leaders whose observations on the art of government and “the good life” have inspired every Western power from antiquity to the present: Cato the Elder, the famously incorruptible statesman who spoke out against the decadence of his times, and Cicero, the consummate orator whose championing of republican institutions put him on a collision course with Julius Caesar and whose writings on justice and liberty continue to inform our political discourse today.
Rome’s decline and fall have long fascinated historians, but the story of how the empire was won is every bit as compelling. With The Rise of Rome, one of our most revered chroniclers of the ancient world tells that tale in a way that will galvanize, inform, and enlighten modern readers.
Praise for The Rise of Rome
“Fascinating history and a great read.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“An engrossing history of a relentlessly pugnacious city’s 500-year rise to empire.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Rome’s history abounds with remarkable figures. . . . Everitt writes for the informed and the uninformed general reader alike, in a brisk, conversational style, with a modern attitude of skepticism and realism.”—The Dallas Morning News
“[A] lively and readable account . . . Roman history has an uncanny ability to resonate with contemporary events.”—Maclean’s
“Elegant, swift and faultless as an introduction to his subject.”—The Spectator
“[An] engaging work that will captivate and inform from beginning to end.”—Booklist