The New York Times bestselling exposé of what passes for business as usual in Washington today
There was a time, not so very long ago, when perfectly rational people ran the Republican Party. So how did the party of Lincoln become the party of lunatics? That is what this book aims to answer. Fear not, the Dems come in for their share of tough talk— they are zombies, a party of the living dead.
Mike Lofgren came to Washington in the early eighties—those halcyon, post–Nixonian glory days—for what he imagined would be a short stint on Capitol Hill. He has witnessed quite a few low points in his twenty-eight years on the Hill—but none quite so pitiful as the antics of the current crop of legislators whom we appear to have elected.
Based on the explosive article Lofgren wrote when he resigned in disgust after the debt ceiling crisis, The Party Is Over is a funny and impassioned exposé of everything that is wrong with Washington. Obama and his tired cohorts are no angels but they have nothing on the Republicans, whose wily strategists are bankrupting the country one craven vote at a time. Be prepared for some fireworks.
Lofgren expands his much-read article, Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult (originally published on the site Truthout) into a book-length scrupulously bipartisan diagnosis of the sick state of American politics and governance. The former congressional staffer saves the greater part of his bile for his former party, which he sees as having become inflexibly ideological and devoted to its richest contributors interests. Lofgren makes sure, however, to blast President Obama and his fellow Democrats for the same bad habits, primarily belligerence, disregard for privacy, and compliance with lobbyists. The general points are familiar, but Lofgren offers ideas drawn from a career in government dating back to the early 1980s. Nostalgic memories of now-striking examples of bipartisan cooperation join damning moments, like a Republican policymaker s admission that the party aimed to obstruct the Senate for political gain. Lofgren offsets occasional cheap shots, such as against Gucci-shod lobbyists, by devoting close attention to budget issues rarely accorded so much detail in garden-variety op-ed warfare. Sustaining his original thesis well beyond Internet-browsing attention spans, Lofgren has crafted an angry but clear-sighted argument that may not sit well at family reunions or dinner parties, but deserves attention.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Not going to change any minds, but a decent rant if you agree
The author was a Republican staffer in Washington, and occasionally you get hints of that, but most of the opinions in the book seem indistinguishable from those of your favorite antiestablishment left-liberal.
Thus this is not a book you can hand to your Tea Partier relative and hope that they learn something; they'll close it early in Chapter One and never open it again.
But if you are frustrated with the state of the union and believe that Republicans are worse than the Democrats (in theory if not in practice), you'll probably enjoy the book. It's a bit on the ranty side — it sometimes misses opportunities to slow down, go into detail, and educate in its rush to its next acerbic jab — but it's a decent read nonetheless.
This is a very important book. The author's depth of knowledge and benevolent moral core give life to his narrative. Mike Lofgren loves the USA! Receive his words with the warmth that we greet a hero.
True to political fashion: lots of talk, few suggestions
There is no question that the current Republican party has a LARGE makeup of crackpot, hypocritical, hyper-religious demagogues who are paraded around ad nauseum by our media in an attempt to capitalize (in the truest sense of the word) on their divisive, chaotic, and all around good-for-business nature. That is nothing new, at least if you are at all present in the world we live in, yet that is basically all this book gives.
What I expected from this book were more substantial suggestions on how to fix our problem. Instead, the book mainly recounted examples of their infuriating lunacy and told of a bureaucratic mess that likely goes much deeper than we all realize. This is definitely illuminating and helpful, but, without any words on what to do to fix it, it began to feel almost gossipy and one-sided, like you lost some trust in your supposedly unbiased, helpful narrator. Yet again, dealing with these people on a semi-regular basis must have brewed some serious contempt, so his rage is somewhat excusable.
Don’t get me wrong, he makes some good points with the stats to back them up, but he reserves any real “Call to Action” for his last, ~20 page chapter. Even then the ideas (get money out of elections, limit campaign season, have broadcasters offer free ad space, get rid of the two party system/make it easier for third parties to enter, etc.) are stale and already fairly well known.
So, basically, if you were living under a rock for the past decade or two, get this book. If you want to spit some more fire at these clowns, get this book. If you want some ammo to spout off to your uber-Republic friends, get this book. If you want a book that offers some clear suggestions on what to do to figure this mess out and how to do it, you might want to look elsewhere.