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Against the Tide: How a Compliant Congress Empowered a Reckless President Hardcover – April 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312383045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312383046
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,082,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Despite President Bush’s promise to be a “uniter, not a divider,” one of the first acts of his administration was to send Vice President Cheney to the regular Wednesday lunch meetings of the Republican moderates to keep them in line on the divisive agenda. While others went along, Chafee stood his ground, challenging the administration on tax cuts, international agreements on global warming, and eventually the Iraq War. In this fascinating memoir, Chafee expresses disgust with an arrogant and polarizing Bush administration and a compliant Congress. He recounts the historic rightward shift of the Republican Party and his own rise from small-town mayor in Rhode Island to U.S. senator. He describes Bush as an insecure, deceitful man not up to the job of president. Although he had stood up against the president, Chafee laments “a parade of Democratic Bush enablers” who helped to defeat him in 2006. Even with his bruising experience in Congress, Chafee is hopeful that Americans will continue to gravitate toward the center. --Vanessa Bush

About the Author

LINCOLN CHAFEE served in the United States Senate as the Republican senator from Rhode Island from 1999 to 2007. Currently, he is working as a distinguished visiting fellow at Brown University, and he has been mentioned as a candidate for governor of Rhode Island in 2010. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and three children.


More About the Author

I'm a proud Rhode Islander, born and raised. After graduating from Brown University, I worked for seven years as a blacksmith at harness racetracks throughout the United States and Canada. When I returned to Rhode Island, inspired by the path of my father John Chafee, I entered politics. I started in 1985 as a delegate to the Rhode Island Constitutional Convention, and have since served four years on the Warwick City Council, nearly four two-year terms as the Mayor of Warwick, and seven years as a United States Senator. Afterward, I became a Distinguished after which I became a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies, and was encouraged by Ruth J. Simmons, the president of Brown, to write "Against the Tide: How a Compliant Congress Empowered a Reckless President." And now, I'm honored to run as an independent candidate for Governor of Rhode Island.

To participate in the campaign, please visit our website (http://www.chafeeforgovernor.com), fan us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lincoln-Chafee/322947205174?ref=ts), and follow me on Twitter (http://twitter.com/LincolnChafee).

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By S. J. Snyder on April 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Former Rhode Island U.S. Senator Lincoln has words of wisdom for both Republicans and Democrats alike, but mainly Republicans, in this thoughtful book.

To illustrate the fact that he is straight-spoken, I take this anecdote from page 183, in light of his Senate vote against a flag-desecration amendment in the late summer of 2006, an amendment thrown up as election fodder.

"In my opinion, some members of Congress desecrated the flag every day by wearing flag pins on their lapels while voting to divide Americans and restrict freedom. ... Using the flag for political gain was the real desecration."

Chafee has a closely reasoned takedown argument for his former Republican colleagues in the Senate, for candidates who would follow the Bush-Rove method of campaigning and more: The game is up.

Chafee, one of six Republicans who lost their Senate seats in 2006, repeated this message inside the GOP caucus long before that. And, he meant it as someone who was still trying to save the Republican Party from itself.

He says he considered running as an independent in 2006, but just couldn't do that.

Now, out of office, though, he is encouraging the idea of a centrist middle to take the third-party road, if needed. This is the one biggest shortcoming of the book.

As a left-liberal who has voted third-parties in the past, I know the Constitutional system is rigged against them, unless one or the other of the major parties is in a time of turmoil. That last happened in the 1850s, when the Whigs shattered over the Compromise of 1850 and then the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Marc Seifer on April 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Senator Lincoln Chafee was the only Republican senator to vote against President Bush's wish to go to war with Iraq. That, in and of itself, makes him highly unusual and worth listening to. However, Chafee also describes what he calls George W. Bush's "mendacity," Bush's willingness to completely reverse himself on almost every major platform he ran on. Bush ran to be a uniter, but, in fact, was divider. Even without the enormous expense of the war in Iraq, Bush and Cheney rammed through the congress their $1.6 trillion tax cut, which Chafee informs us, was done, to drive the country into debt so that social programs could be cut. Bush/Cheney reversed their stance on trying to clean up the environment and thereby placed former Governor Christie Todd Whitman, who became their head of the EPA, in an untenable position. Most chilling, Chafee reports that his fellow Republicans let out a hoot of support when Bush/Cheney decided to essentially eliminate pollution controls on corporate polluters. The question is why? Why would any senator want to support the idea of helping industry continue to pollute the environment?
Senator Chafee, echoing the sentiments of a granddaughter of Dwight D. Eisenhower, makes it quite clear that Bush/Cheney abandoned completely the precepts of the Republican party: fiscal responsibility, a humble foreign policy and Teddy Roosevelt's and Richard Nixon's legacy of being careful stewards of the environment. Chafee also makes it stunningly clear that Dick Cheney was an obdurate bully who insisted on getting everything he wanted, including a war in Iraq, even though his agenda was not at all a traditional Republican agenda.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Carol on May 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Former Senator Lincoln Chafee has written an engaging book that connects anecdotes from his political life with thoughtful observations on ethics, power, and diplomacy.

The Senator's disillusionment and disenchantment are thoroughly examined here. Although, as a son of the late Senator John Chafee, he was well acquainted with the realities of party politics in America, he went to Washington with idealistic notions about the possibilities of bi-partisan cooperation born of his experience in local government. Sadly, he was to find out exactly how regressive and obstinate both the national executive and legislative bodies have become.

This is an admirable effort from a man who has managed to retain his ideals despite the disappointing realities he encountered. This book is well worth your time and money, and I recommend it very highly. We need more people like Lincoln Chafee in public life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Etchingham on August 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Written by a true congressional maverick, I loved the inside information and enjoyed the local flavor as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Otto J. Fafoglia on May 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is a must read because it describes how politics and government work or perhaps why it doesnt work. Mr. Chaffee's description of his experiences are told in such a direct and honest fashion. He interweaves his political experience as a local politician and that of a congressional candidate. He provides information regarding different foreign policy efforts of the current administration and why they failed, i.e., the palestinian and Israeli peace process. This is a refreshing look at our governmental system and the players in it. Mr. Chaffee's writing style made me feel as if he was telling the story directly to me.
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