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Fighting for Common Ground: How We Can Fix the Stalemate in Congress Hardcover – May 14, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Weinstein Books (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602862176
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602862173
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Known for working across party lines in her 18 years in the U.S. Senate, Republican Snowe, from Maine, felt driven from the legislative body by acrimonious partisanship and declined to run for reelection in 2012. But she hasn’t abandoned politics. In this heartfelt call to action, she details the cost to the American public of a Congress so polarized that it passes record low numbers of laws and can’t agree on a budget. Snowe offers an insider’s view of how Congress came to be so dysfunctional, including a behind-the-scenes look at her role in working with both sides to get President Obama’s health-care bill passed. She recounts her personal history of losing both parents when a child, widowhood at 26 that led to taking her husband’s state legislative seat, later marriage to John McKernan, who would be elected governor of Maine as she pursued politics into the Senate. Snowe offers a passionate plea to Americans to insist on changes in the Senate, including filibuster reform, biennial budgeting, and a five-day workweek for Congress. --Vanessa Bush

About the Author

Born on February 21, 1947, in Augusta, Maine, Olympia Snowe earned a degree in political science from the University of Maine in 1969. Senator Snowe is only the fourth woman in history to be elected to both houses of Congress and the first woman in American history to serve in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of Congress. When first elected to Congress in 1978, at the age of 31, Olympia Snowe was the youngest Republican woman, and the first Greek-American woman, ever elected to Congress. She has won more federal elections in Maine than any other person since World War II, and is now the third-longest serving female in the history of Congress. Snowe is married to former Maine governor John R. McKernan, Jr. and lives in Falmouth, Maine.

More About the Author

Olympia J. Snowe was born Olympia Jean Bouchles on February 21, 1947, in Augusta, Maine. She is the daughter of the late George Bouchles, a native of Mytilene, Greece, and the late Georgia Goranites Bouchles, whose parents immigrated to America from Sparta. After the death of her parents, she was raised by her aunt and uncle, the late Mary and James Goranites of Auburn, Maine. Olympia attended St. Basil's Academy, a Greek Orthodox school in Garrison, New York, and graduated from Edward Little High School in Auburn. She earned a degree in political science from the University of Maine in 1969.

With her election in 1994, Olympia became only the second woman Senator in history to represent Maine, following the late Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, who served from 1949 - 1973. In November 2006, she was re-elected to a third six-year term in the United States Senate with 74 percent of the vote.

Before her election to the Senate, Olympia represented Maine's Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for sixteen years. Senator Snowe is only the fourth woman in history to be elected to both houses of Congress and the first woman in American history to serve in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of Congress. When first elected to Congress in 1978, at the age of 31, Olympia was the youngest Republican woman, and the first Greek-American woman, ever elected to Congress. She has won more federal elections in Maine than any other person since World War II.

Olympia's dedicated work in the U.S. Senate has garnered her nationwide recognition as a leading policymaker in Washington. In 2005, she was named the 54th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine. In 2006 Time Magazine named her one of the top ten U.S. Senators. Calling her "The Caretaker," Time magazine wrote of Snowe: "Because of her centrist views and eagerness to get beyond partisan point scoring, Maine Republican Olympia Snowe is in the center of every policy debate in Washington, but while Snowe is a major player on national issues, she is also known as one of the most effective advocates for her constituents."

Focusing her attention on efforts to build bipartisan consensus on key issues that matter to Maine and America, Olympia successfully built a reputation as one of Congress' leading moderates. In 1999, she became co-chair of the Senate Centrist Coalition with Senator John Breaux (D-LA), and in that same year, she was cited by Congressional Quarterly for her centrist leadership.

Olympia has worked extensively on a number of issues, such as budget and fiscal responsibility; education, including education technology; national security; women's issues; health care, including prescription drug coverage for Medicare recipients; welfare reform; oceans and fisheries issues; and campaign finance reform. She has also led efforts important to her home state of Maine, including successfully working to overturn the Department of Defense's recommendations in 2005 to close two of Maine's military installations, a successful push for federal disaster funds in response to a devastating 1998 ice storm and the 2006 flooding in Southern Maine, increased funding for the Togus veterans hospital, reauthorization of the Northeast Dairy Compact so critical to the survival of Maine's small family dairy farms, and opposition to a proposed federal rule that would have devastated the state's lobster fishery.

In 2001, Olympia became the first Republican woman ever to secure a full-term seat on the Senate Finance Committee, and only the third woman in history to join the panel. The Committee is considered one of the most powerful in Congress with jurisdiction over two-thirds of the entire federal budget, because its members author tax, trade, health care, welfare, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security-related legislation. Olympia also served as a member of the Subcommittee on Health Care, which oversees matters related to health insurance, Medicare and the uninsured.

As former Chair, and later Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Olympia fought fiercely for our nation's small businesses. Through her proactive legislative efforts and strong advocacy on behalf of America's small businesses, she consistently championed affordable and flexible health care options, increased access to capital, a fair share of Federal contracting dollars and opportunities, and reduced tax and regulatory burden, among other issues.

Also a former member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, she was the former Chair and later Ranking Member of its Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and the Coast Guard where she worked to pass legislation to allow Maine's fish and fishing communities to thrive. A former member of the Senate Budget Committee, she was a key voice in establishing education as a priority within the context of the first balanced budget since 1969, and in 1999, 2000, and 2001 authored the amendment that for the first time created a reserve fund for a Medicare prescription drug benefit. She also sat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Prior to her service on the Finance Committee, Senator Snowe had been the fourth woman ever to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, where she was the first woman Senator to chair the Subcommittee on Seapower, which oversees the Navy and Marine Corps. Snowe was a leading voice in the Senate on issues related to women in military and shipbuilding matters.

During her tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, she co-chaired the Congressional Caucus on Women's issues for ten years, and provided leadership in establishing the Office of Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health. She also served as a member of the House Budget Committee; of House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she was Ranking Republican on the Subcommittee on International Operations; and of former House Select Committee on Aging, where she was Ranking Republican on the Subcommittee on Human Services.

She served in both Houses of the Maine Legislature, first elected to the Maine House - representing her home town of Auburn - in 1973 to the seat left vacant by the death of her first husband, the late Peter Snowe, in an auto accident. She was re-elected in 1974, and was elected to the Maine Senate representing Androscoggin County in 1976.

Senator Snowe is married to former Maine Governor John R. McKernan Jr. and lives in Falmouth, Maine and Washington, D.C. She is a member of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Lewiston, Maine.

Customer Reviews

It is an easy read because it is so well written.
Stephen R Marinelli
I still believe that our government is a great institution, but it really needs common sense governing from both sides.
J. Brassell
We certainly can use more people like Olympia Snowe in the Senate.
Bulldogscm

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Whyaduc on May 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In this world of so many partisan attack books, it refreshing to read a book written by someone who has been there (in government) and who isn't so tainted by their ideology that that they can't see its limitations.

This woman is a national treasure. I have followed her during her tenure in the senate and I have been looking forward to reading this book. Do I agree with everything she says? Hell no. Do I admire here conviction, her tenacity, her wisdom? Hell yes! She has character. The book covers some of her personal challenges that have shaped her character, when she lost her parents at a very young age. I really like the way she describes the way congress used to work from back in her years as a congresswoman. It is interesting to hear an insider talk about the push and pull between parties to create a budget. Every year! She is critical of her own party in regards to balancing the budget, e.g. in the early 2000's, the Republicans controlled our Govt., yet they couldn't pass a balanced budget amendment but they passed historic tax cuts when the war in Iraq was looming. She is has comments on the Dems as well. If you looking for a balanced view from the inside of our Govt. that you can expect to challenge some of you views, this is you book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Joyful Reader on August 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Early personal tragedies (orphaned at age 9, widowed at age 26) could have caused Olympia Snowe to face life with a chip on her shoulder. Instead, strengthened by her Greek Orthodox faith and the conviction that others could benefit from lessons learned through her hardships, she determined to use these tragedies to good purpose. Still grieving her young husband's untimely death, she sought and won his seat in the Maine House of Representatives. From there she entered the US Congress, first as a Representative in the US House, and then as Senator Snowe.

With perspective gained from 30+ years in politics, she brings a discerning, critical analysis to what has caused the dysfunction and polarization in our current national political process. She relates how the lack of bipartisan input, epitomized in the Health Care Bill which was essentially drafted under the direction of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reed (Pelosi's explanation, "Yes, we [Democrats] drafted it; WE won!"), led to entrenched bitterness among the slighted Republicans and fueled the growing popularity of the Tea Party. The analogy which came to mind while reading was that of a marriage going bad, with each party turning a deaf ear to the other and demanding its own way to the point of such bitterness that the relationship is irretrievably broken. Our national body politic is at just such a juncture. Snowe, as a moderate Republican, recognizes that stalemate is the eventual result. While she brings her willingness to compromise to the bargaining table, she eventually finds both Democrats and Republicans unhappy with her efforts and concludes that that is a losing battle, and she decides the better road is to take her efforts to seek common ground beyond the walls of Congress.

Snowe is not above poking fun at herself.
Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bulldogscm on May 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I've always been a fan of Olympia Snowe and certainly admire her moderation and centrist approach to governing and representation. Snowe, clearly, has a clever and simple style of story telling and guides the reader through scenarios that she experienced when compromise were necessary and the norm. This book does offer great ideas and focus on how we can fix Washington (ex. fiscal responsibility, bipartisanship, open process). I eagerly pursued this book as it was about Snowe's own adventures, for the same reason. We certainly can use more people like Olympia Snowe in the Senate. This Democrat is sorry to have lost her.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. Martin on July 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover
A respected long time Senator is doing a service by trying to come up with solutions for a broken legislative process. Irrespective if she is right or wrong the book contributes to the dialog and thus is well worth reading. I felt the writing was flat and sometimes slipped into being self congratulatory, both an annoyance. Although I don't personally agree with some of her ideas her record has shown a willingness to work hard to make Congress functional, which was what convinced me to read the book in the first place. Olympia Snowe may be a member of a dying breed of Republican and it's good to have her put her beliefs into a book.
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28 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd W. Bokman on May 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A breath of fresh air, filled with the oxygen of truth. Breath deeply. There are leaders in our nation. Leadership is not a myth. She is the proof that they exist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Roberta Goldberg on August 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Although I agree with Olympia Snowe's opinions about what is happening in Congress, I feel she spends much too much time lauding her own efforts and accomplishments. Although the subject of the book is important, the book is not well written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Susan Greenwood on July 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have always been a strong supporter of Olympia Snowe but am somewhat disappointed with the book. It appears to have been written in a hurry, and I finally had to check her biography on line to get the chronology straightened out. At this point in the book her writing seems rather prosaic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Capeauthor on June 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Fighting for Common Ground is in part a warm memoir, but more importantly, tells the story--based on Snowe's personal experience and observation--of how the Congress came to be wrapped in gridlock Even more important, Senator Snow offers specific ideas for reform and also how we might change the political climate to make them possible.

Olympia Snowe and other Moderates have sometimes been called RINOs--Republicans In Name Only-- by conservatives. But now RINOs are fighting back at www.RINOcracy.com. The RINOcracy motto is "RINOs, let us unite and put our hides on the line to save our party from itself." The site contains a favorable review of Snowe's book and suggests that she might be RINO of the Year.
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