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It's My Party, Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America Hardcover – January 31, 2005

29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

"The people of this county deserve better from their politics and their politicians than they've been getting in recent years," writes Christine Todd Whitman in It's My Party Too. While hardly high praise for George W. Bush from a former member of his Cabinet (she served as director of the Environmental Protection Agency from January 2001 to May 2003), the real targets of her ire are some of her fellow Republicans who have forced the GOP to make a hard-right turn in recent years. Whitman argues that this shift poses a serious threat to the long-term health and competitiveness of the Republicans, a party in which moderates like Whitman, Colin Powell, Rudolph Giuliani, John McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and George Pataki are paraded in public when necessary, but openly opposed behind the scenes. Whitman refers to those on the far right as "social fundamentalists" whose "mission is to advance their narrow ideological agenda" by using the government to impose their views on everyone else. Though she admits that evangelicals may have helped to win the 2004 election, they have claimed much more credit than they deserve for Bush's success, and she warns that catering to this narrow group will have consequences.

To achieve long-term success, she writes, the Republicans must move their focus back to the core issues that unite the true base of the party: less government, stronger national security, lower taxes combined with spending restraints, and job creation in the private sector--issues that have largely been pushed aside by efforts to ban abortion and embryonic stem cell research and a push to amend the Constitution to prohibit gay marriage. She also offers ideas for attracting more African Americans and women to the GOP, and highlights Republican environmental successes that have been ignored. It's My Party Too is a compelling analysis of the future of the Republican Party. --Shawn Carkonen

From Publishers Weekly

It's her party and she'll cry if she wants to. Former EPA Chief and New Jersey governor Whitman laments the rightward shift in the Republican party, concerned that it "will now move so far to the right that it ends up alienating centrist voters and marginalizing itself." In her view, the aggressive tactics of the "social fundamentalists," to whom "the concept of anathema," are to blame. Only if centrists transform themselves into "radical moderates-people ready to fight for what they believe even if it makes waves in the party," can the party restore its equilibrium. Whitman explores her own GOP heritage and her adventures and misadventures with hot button issues like abortion, stem cell research, race, the environment and women's rights, reinforcing the party's distinguished record. For example, she points out that Republicans ensured passage of the Civil Rights Act and created the Clean Air Act. If moderates would only stand up for themselves, she contends, the party platform could return to the essential issues-"fiscal restraint, reasonable and open discussion of social issues, environmental policies that promote a balanced approach to environmental protection, and a foreign policy that is engaged with the rest of the world." While the writing is straightforward and the anecdotes interesting, the account drifts from its core theme, culminating in a plea to visit a grassroots Web site and a generic suggestion for "issues-oriented campaigns." Nowhere does Whitman identify who these social fundamentalists are, what they want or why they have proven so powerful in today's electoral environment despite being outnumbered. Though this book succeeds as an overview of the Republican party's accomplishments, it's a less than adequate battle plan for moderate Republications looking to attain their past glory.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The; English Language edition (January 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594200408
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594200403
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,280,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Roland on February 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Christine Todd Whitman's sober but eminently readable short book is a clarion call to moderates and true Republican conservatives alike, and, as such, should be warmly welcomed by liberals as well. In genial, accessible and melifluous prose, Governor Whitman reveals her experiences as a life-long Republican, both in the Governor's office in New Jersey, and as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency during much of President Baby Bush's first term in office. And much of what she has to say is truly chilling. Is this a scary book? You bet it is. If you have any interest in modern American politics, put down your Stephen King and read Whitman's assessment of her party's descent into kowtowing to the hard right wing. It's a whole lot more frightening.

Take, for example, her chapter on abortion, entitled The Party Within The Party. As she delinates her real position, as opposed to the position on the issue ascribed to her by the hard right wing of her political party, she offers a great deal of information about the drift rightward of her party, and the growing influence of the hard-liners, who have, she contends, left any connection with the bedrock values of the party to which they're laying claim, indulging instead in intrusive, and unconstitutional, legislation in order to further their social agenda. She says: "Frankly, it seemed to me at the time (and still does today) that their failure to take the path I had laid out suggested that they were more interested in having an issue than in saving the lives of unborn children." (p.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Bobby B. on February 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a lifelong moderate Republican, I've been increasingly dismayed at the rightward lurch of the party -- and especially by the intolerance of some on the right of those of us in the center. This book speaks clearly to the frustration moderates have felt over the past few years. Using compelling examples from her own career, Gov. Whitman shows how the party can succeed by reclaiming the sensible center. She does a nice job telling stories about her own long history in the party (she's attended every GOP convention since 1956), and is able to use that history to advance her argument. I hope she succeeds in starting a national discussion that helps the Republican Party realize that there's much to be gained by reclaiming it traditional roots. An important message and a great read!
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26 of 35 people found the following review helpful By G. Reid on February 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is the author's attempt to explain the need for moderation in the Republican as well as in the Democratic party. Both parties, especially the Republicans, have been moving away from the center which is polarizing the Country. So many moderates in the middle of the political spectrum have no place to go in either party.

The conservative Republicans could not have won without the support of the moderate Republicans. Moderate Republicans fully deserve to be represented by the party and to have their views respected.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Enjolras TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like Mrs. Whitman, respect her politics, and admire her decision to stake a ground as a moderate. I think her inside account is interesting, and refreshingly not bitter. Yet, she leaves far too many holes.

First, there are substantive holes in her accounts. Why if Clear Skies is such a good proposal that environmentalists should like does the administration not get a respected senator, such as Chaffee, to sponsor it? What does she mean when Rove said she would be an important cabinent member? Why does she want to weaken or get rid of New Source Review policies, but then say she would not want to weaken the cases regarding NSR in the courts? I found some of the discussion of the issues superficial.

Second, she is too soft on the GOP. She says the GOP can regain black support and many in the GOP are moderate. Yet, too often we still hear of people in the Republican leadership (from Trent Lott on) who seem pretty racist. Indeed, the modern GOP is based on intolerant appeals to white homophobia and racism. Likewise, she notes that some GOP congressmen support environmental initiatives. But even they are a tiny minority. On all the issues, she does a good job of presenting moderate policies, but cannot convince the reader that the GOP is truly the vehicle of moderates. With plenty of moderate Democrats, from Lieberman to Clinton to Nelson, why bother whith an increasingly radicalized GOP?

Even if one assumes that the GOP is the better party for moderates, Whitman tells us nothing of how to make the party more moderate. True she started a PAC, but does anybody really believe moderates are going to have much voice in the Republican primaries? Sadly, I doubt it.

Overall, it's intersting to hear her first-hand account.
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35 of 51 people found the following review helpful By John Zxerce on January 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Criticism holds more weight when derived from an internal, derived, credible source. That's true in sports, business, and politics. Consequently, Whitman's insider claims are worthy of consideration and evaluation.

One of her principal claims is, "The numbers show that while the president certainly did energize his political base, the red state/blue state map changed barely at all -- suggesting that he had missed an opportunity to significantly broaden his support in the most populous areas of the country," This is likely a valid criticism, one that goes beyond party lines as it applies to both parties equally.

Whitman was often at odds with the White House on issues such as setting limits on air pollutants, power plant emissions and global warming. Her tenure was marked by complaints from conservatives that she was too liberal. I wish her book had included specifics regarding her proposals, including the costs to businesses and the benefits to the environment. In short, a cost/benefit analysis would have been helpful in determining the merit of what she was fighting for.

One thing that struck me is how much of the book appeared to be the antithesis of Zel Miller's. For instance, she writes, "A clear and present danger Republicans face today is that the party will now move so far to the right that it ends up alienating centrist voters and marginalizing itself," I wonder if she read Miller's book?

Whitman writes, "It is time for Republican moderates to assert forcefully and plainly that this is our party, too, that we not only have a place but a voice, and not just a voice but a vision that is true to the historic principles of our party and our nation, not one tied to an extremist agenda," Were those same moderate Republicans happy with a Bush victory?
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