From Con to Diane
Interestingly, the book has been getting attention and been taken seriously not only because of it’s content, but because it’s authors are described as both highly credible and from opposite sides of the aisle. That they agree and have seemed to present matters in what many believe is a balanced and objective manner. So it’s not only their standing and credibility in general which strengthens their argument, it’s that it’s not a book written by Liberals or a book written by Conservatives. Most reviews laud that it’s written by one of each, which helps defeat claims of partisan Spin and hyperbole.
A lot of discussion is first about it’s Authors – it’s written by two very well respected scholars from ‘opposing’ political schools (highly-regarded by their respective political camps) who’ve first agreed in all honesty that things have gotten bad to worse and agreed to collaborate to document what’s happening and what’s been happening, how it happened, the many causes and to analyze it all to the best of their ability.
It’s received high marks first because of the universal respect for both author’s and because no one would have ever expected them to agree on much of anything given their respective backgrounds and political views. What they share is reputations of what some call ‘unassailable’ honesty, credibility and qualification – true Scholars seeking Truth above all things.
The Thesis is that the American Political System – and specifically both houses of Congress these past few years – is become broken, is full of sheer acrimony and hyper partisanship, is far, far too divided, has drastically departed from what was intended by the ideals and tenets of The Constitution and the best of American Values, Goals and true purposes of these institutions and founding documents. It describes and gives insight into the intransigence in Congress, the Obstructionism, the extremism on both sides, the disappearance (and ‘drumming out’) of moderates, etc. – a lot of what we’ve been discussing.
The interviews and reviews I’ve heard and read so far all praise the book for it’s scrupulous honesty and objectivity, clarity and appraisal of what’s been happening and whose been doing it – who is responsible (avoiding simplistic Blame Games). What’s been repeated often is that, yes, The Republicans are largely to blame for some pretty awful behavior; that the 2010 Election Tea Party infusion into Congress produced a class not of Lawmakers and Elected Officials who are true to their Oaths and the best of what America expects from Congress, but instead a ‘critical mass’ of bodies who occupy those seats in order to further simple, uncompromising political goal of (relative) extremism and to absolutely ‘do all in their power to make Obama a One-Term President’ because of their beliefs (some say Dogma or Ideologue) that he is “absolutely the most Liberal, Socialist and destructive American President in History”; that their single-minded focus has manifested in their intransigent, ‘hostage-taking’ behavior, absolute dig-in-your-heels refusal to compromise one iota and a refusal to work with Democrats on anything whatsoever in the belief that anything Democrats suggest, author or are involved in is necessarily wrong for America and must never be allowed to see the light of day (and that certain individuals have publicly expressed their belief that Liberals and Obama seek to literally destroy America from within).
That the ‘Tea Party Class’ are far more a group of extremist “Protesters” than public servants who squander precious Congressional Time and Resources in the single-minded pursuit of ONLY their own agenda and to the complete exclusion of any other pursuits while rejecting even GOP members who suggest any kind of moderation or compromise. A more liberal review called them tantamount to a secret society in a conservative prep school who’ve taken a secret oath to never compromise their Dogma and to adhere to their own particular understanding / Spin of The Constitution (though that understanding may be as shallow, misguided and wrong-headed as expected from such a group and that it twists the classic understanding of The Constitution from a document for ALL Americans to a document meant to sort wheat from chaff appropriate only for ‘the right kind of True American, while seeking to disqualify and exclude those so-called Americans who don’t share the same Ideologue’.
Their absolute belief that they are 100% correct and anyone who disagrees is 100% wrong has been called part of what makes them so dangerous and difficult. It expresses the notion that they believe that ‘asymmetrical warfare’ is effective in Congress (never mind the notion of a Democracy at work) and that ‘hostage-taking’, veto type power and the power of the Filibuster and similar procedures can render a minority into a dominant force that can call the shots once others have been summarily cowed and beaten down by such behavior. There is heavy criticism for both parties, though they do conclude that Republicans are the main culprits.
There is a lot more and I could go on for a while (having gone on too much already). Though this description is necessarily subject to my own spin, research into the numerous reviews, descriptions and interviews will back it up.
A good place to start is, I think, general descriptions from booksellers like Amazon and Barns & Noble – the sales and marketing descriptions; from there I would definitely seek out Reviews of the book from your favorite respected source – I recommend the BBC, Christian Science Monitor and similar sources not generally labelled as ‘lame stream liberal media’. That one author is a highly respected Conservative lends the book terrific credibility (in these days of outright rejection of anything suspected of being liberal propaganda, even though the Research and Scholarship speaks for itself so well).
Sorry for such a long answer (sorry you asked?) – especially not having even read it yet (like the Movie Producer to tells the Screenwriter at a party “I just love your script!”, to which the writer replies, surprised “So you’ve read it?” – of course the Producer answers: “Well, not personally…”). I hope you’re interested enough to look into it and read it (after which maybe you could draft a more valuable commentary on it all – you write better than I).