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See how and why Washington is not functioning in Bob Woodward’s freshly reported, thirty-five-page Afterword to his national bestseller, The Price of Politics, which provides a detailed, often verbatim account of what happened in the dramatic “fiscal cliff” face-off at the end of 2012 between President Obama and the Republicans.
Now it’s happening again. In fall 2013, Washington faces a new round of budget and fiscal wars that could derail the American and global economies.
“We are primarily a blocking majority,” said Michael Sommers, Speaker John Boehner’s chief of staff, summarizing the House Republican position.
It was the land of no-compromise: On health care cuts over ten years, Boehner suggested to Obama, you are $400 billion, I’m at $600 billion. “Can we split the difference here? Can we land at $500 billion?” “Four hundred billion is it,” Obama replied. “I just can’t see how we go any further on that.”
After making $120 billion in other concessions, Obama pleaded with Boehner, “What is it about the politics?” “My guys just aren’t there,” Boehner replied. “We are $150 billion off, man. I don’t get it. There’s something I don’t get.”
The Price of Politics chronicles the inside story of how President Obama and the US Congress tried, and failed, to restore the American economy and set it on a course to fiscal stability. Woodward pierces the secretive world of Washington policymaking once again, with a close-up story crafted from meeting notes, documents, working papers, and interviews with key players, including President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner. Woodward lays bare the broken relationship between President Obama and the Congress.
Woodward critically examines the recent economic challenges that the nation has faced and limns the political shift from a rhetoric of togetherness to one of confrontation as Congress and the president have worked to resolve the debt crisis. Woodward zeroes in on the middle of 2011 and political battles that occurred as government officials struggled to prevent a massive shutdown. As he did in his previous examinations of the Bush administration, Woodward pulls no punches here and provides a fascinating history and analysis. Narrator Boyd Gaines boasts a commanding voice that proves suitable for the important issues covered. His deep, slightly raspy voice and deliberate narration will grab the listener's attention from the very start. But despite strong prose and a great performance, this abridged audio edition is likely to disappoint. Listeners may find themselves confused and struggling to keep up without some of the more important excised sections. A Simon & Schuster hardcover.