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Mad As Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System Hardcover – September 14, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


The unvarnished truth about the movement that is re-making the face of America. ... “Mad As Hell” is more than a ‘must read’—it’s a required read for every tea party loyalist and even those that fear them. (NewsMax)

What makes this new book a must-read ... is the reality that our daily news cycle is in many ways driven by the Tea Party. (Huffington Post)

Useful and balanced book...Readers who think they are in the political class might do well to pay heed. (Foreign Affairs)

Rasmussen and Schoen’s book clarifies much about our contemporary politics and identifies important causes of our current political malaise. It is the best available guide to the politics of 2010. (The Atlantic)

Essential to understanding America in 2010. (The Daily Caller)

What [Rasmussen and Schoen] convincingly show is that economic stagnation and the collapse of equality and opportunity have produced an equally catastrophic decline in confidence in every sort of public institution - including political parties, big business, big labor, the media and mainline organized religion. (Los Angeles Times)

From the Back Cover

Today's raucous revolt against Washington and Wall Street is a classic populist uprising. In Mad As Hell, two respected political pollsters show what it means for the future of American politics.

The riotous tea parties and angry town hall meetings of last summer seemingly took everyone by surprise. They shouldn’t have: populistmovements have always arisen in times of economic hardship and uncertainty. In Mad As Hell, pollsters Scott Rasmussen and Doug Schoen use extensive and original research to explore the mind and heart of the populist uprising that has suddenly thrown American politics into turmoil.

In the past, populist movements have taken root either on the right or on the left. Today’s populist revolt is unusually broad and has two wings: a left wing that wants universal health care and redistributiveeconomic policies, and a right wing that wants to reduce the power of government to interfere in our lives. Both are hostile to the Washington political class, Wall Street, and the mainstream media—all of which they consider out of touch with the concerns of “real” Americans. The key difference is that left populists are effectively represented by Barack Obama and congressional Democrats who are pursuing their agenda, while right populists are chiefly representedby Fox News and Rush Limbaugh— an angrier and potentially more powerful political force.

So-called professionals in politics, business, and media have completely failed to comprehend the new populism and have dismissed it as marginal and extreme. The authors explore the broad-based natureof the new populist movement and explain how it is reshaping American politics—whether politicians and elite journalists like it or not.

The Tea Party movement is not a flash in the pan,as many have assumed. Nor is it a movement of racist rednecks and ignorant boobs, as its detractors have crudely suggested. To the contrary, it is an authenticgrassroots movement of concerned American citizens demanding to be heard by an out-of-touch political establishment. Their concerns are real and their issues are legitimate, the authors maintain; moreover, the new populism is here to stay, and it has already changedour politics for the better.

In Mad As Hell, Rasmussen and Schoen have produced an authoritative guide to the new populism, featuring a combination of proprietary polling data, political analysis, results from online focus groups,and interviews with on-the-ground players. It is must-reading for anyone interested in American electoral politics for the remainder of the decade.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061995231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061995231
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #937,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Rufus James on September 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The authors did a first class job of analyzing a new, dynamic force on the America political scene--the Tea Party movement. They did a masterful job of laying out the historical background of American populism and the populist movements that preceded the Tea Party movement. Moving from history into real time, the authors did an excellent job of analyzing the Tea Parties. Who is active in the movement? What is their motivation? Who are their heroes? Who do they dislike?

The book may be as prescient as "The Emerging Republican Majority" was in its time.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with their conclusions, the data presented in the book is a real eye opener for students of politics. The book is very readable. The tables and graphs are placed conveniently so that readers do not have to keep flipping pages. The book is excellent and I thoroughly recommend it.
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Bob Akimbo on September 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The authors have done America a great service with this very thorough look at the Tea Party movement. They have analyzed vast amounts of polling data and drawn conclusions that have stripped bare the elephant in the room. They have carefully lined up and connected most of the dots, with a couple of glaring exceptions.

It's evident that they were in a rush to get this book to market, but despite very sloppy editing and loads of repetition (there were times when I thought my Kindle had skipped back a couple chapters), the book is a very easy and enjoyable read.

The basic premise is that there is a "widening gulf between the beliefs and attitudes of the political elite and those of mainstream America." The authors point to the Tea Party as the front line in the current struggle of the American mainstream. They also show that the Tea Party movement is broadly based and deeply rooted, and any attempt by the political and media elite to ignore or marginalize it is done so at great peril. You can't write off "teabaggers" as racist, because the vast majority of them are not; and you can't write them off as "crazy" because most of them are quite well versed politically and make very reasonable arguments for their case against an overly intrusive government. The authors' research shows that the Tea Party movement is viewed at least as favorably as Republicans and Democrats (despite being much less known), and that the majority of Americans sympathize with their views. Any time a politician or pundit calls a Tea Party candidate "wing nut" "wack job" "Astroturf" etc., they only add fuel to the fire and further incense that majority. On these points, the authors are spot on, and their conclusions are solidly reinforced with empirical data.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Patti Gettinger on October 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Mad as Hell" is an excellent source of information about the growth of the tea party movement and the motivation behind its development. However, especially in the first few chapters of the book, the writing is a little disjointed and jerky. But don't let that stop you from reading it.
Most tea party insiders will agree with the demographic descriptions of its members, and what will keep the tea party movement alive or destroy it. The authors also make some thought-provoking connections to the support behind Ross Perot in the 1996 presidential elections.
Given the historic significance and impact of the tea party movement on 2010 mid-term elections and beyond, this book is a must-read for tea party leaders, elected officials and candidates for office, concerned citizens and political bystanders.
I intend to buy this book for several friends and family members, and add it to my recommended reading list for tea party participants.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on April 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Scott Rasmussen is an independent public opinion pollster, and the author of The People's Money: How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt; Douglas E. Schoen is a FOX News contributor, editorialist for various periodicals, and the author of Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What it Means for 2012 and Beyond, The Political Fix: Changing the Game of American Democracy, from the Grassroots to the White House, The Power of the Vote: Electing Presidents, Overthrowing Dictators, and Promoting Democracy Around the World, etc.

They wrote in the Introduction to this 2010 book, "The Tea Party movement has become one of the most powerful and extraordinary movements in recent American political history. It is as popular as both the Democratic and Republican parties. It is potentially strong enough to elect senators, governors, and congressmen... This book will explore why this has happened, how it happened, and what the implications are for American politics---now and in the future."

They note that Tea Party is "avowedly nonpartisan," and could have appealed as much to Democrats as to Republicans; they assert "In fact, the Tea Party members were initially animated by frustration with the Bush administration's taxing and spending policies.
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