45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How can you tell when a politician is lying?
His lips move. Or so the old joke goes. Hightower is back, and he's as rambunctious as ever. Where his previous book, Yellow Lines, was a collection of rants about the Republicrats and their ineffective politics, Gods is about the Republicrats and their ineffective politi... oops. But there is a difference. This takes the electoral process apart piece by piece, and...
Published on February 4, 2000 by Travis A. Clark
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Outspoken Populism from a Disgusted Texan
Jim Hightower is a man with a mission. He is disgusted with the two- party system and he was repulsed by the choices presented by the two major parties in the 2000 elections, Bush and Gore. He is tired of watching politicians at all levels sell themselves out for corporate cash. He wrote this book as a guide to the corruption that exists in politics and what you and I can...
Published on June 2, 2004 by Bryan Carey
Most Helpful First | Newest First
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How can you tell when a politician is lying?,
This review is from: If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates (Hardcover)His lips move. Or so the old joke goes. Hightower is back, and he's as rambunctious as ever. Where his previous book, Yellow Lines, was a collection of rants about the Republicrats and their ineffective politics, Gods is about the Republicrats and their ineffective politi... oops. But there is a difference. This takes the electoral process apart piece by piece, and shows exactly how those thieves fund themselves, and how they can speak from both sides and feel good about themselves when they wake up the next morning. The most poignant point he made in the book is that the election is already over, the politics are the same, now we just choose the personality that we want, His Majesty George W., or VP Al. Good read, funny, and definitely worth the money.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes You Laugh So Much You Get Mad,
This review is from: If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates (Hardcover)I couldn't put this book down. Hightower is a master at making us laugh and get po'ed at the same time. He shines a big Texan flashlight on the follies of the spoiled rich, the corporate lap-dog politicians, and the insanity of the "Market". This is a must-read for the 2000 electoral cycle. His call to arms echoed my own sentiments--it is time for us to remember Paine, Jefferson, Mother Jones, Debs, King, Chavez, and the rest of our nation's agitators and reclaim our dignity and our democracy. It is time for a top-down (not a left-right) political debate on what's happening in our country and throughout the world. Thanks Jim for an engaging and just plain good book.
47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High-octane punditry from a fresh and different perspective.,
This review is from: If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates (Hardcover)For anyone who's already tired of the year 2000 general election campaign of Shrub Dubya and Al Snore (and who isn't?), Jim Hightower's new book will come as a breath of fresh air.
"If the Gods Had Meant for Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates" is an ambitious sequel to "There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos." In clear, concise prose (despite what you may think from the long-winded title), Hightower seeks to analyze just why our political system has failed to provide the kind of real choice that voters crave in the race for president. More importantly, Hightower suggests things that average citizens can do to win back their voice in government at the local (and even national) level.
Not surprisingly for a self-proclaimed populist, Hightower identifies the concentration of corporate power and the influence of money as ranking among the primary reasons why Democratic and Republican politicians so rarely seem to represent the interests of the middle class and the working poor. In Hightower's view, both parties are equally corrupt, and this even-handed contempt for the status quo spurs him onward in the search for "authentic" alternatives. First, however, he sets the stage by challenging the conventional wisdom of the mainstream media, in particular the commonly held assumption that the country is enjoying an age of unprecedented prosperity. "If the Gods..." is chock-full of statistics that make a good case for disproving that claim. Indeed, Hightower notes that "25 percent of the jobs in today's celebrated economy pay a poverty wage! That's 32 million people." By and large, most of his facts and figures are attributed to respectable sources.
This background can get very depressing at times. The chapters about the effects of GATT, NAFTA, and the World Trade Organization are truly disturbing in their surreal descriptions of the unintended consequences of blindly embracing the type of "free trade" our leaders say is so good for us in the age of globalization. To his credit, Hightower does not play an isolationist, "America First" card. He merely points out that some of these much-touted trade agreements are resulting in the loss of our own national sovereignty, and the exploitation of cheap foreign labor, to profit a rich elite at the expense of workers at home and abroad, and with a disastrous toll on the environment, as well.
Fortunately, if the reader can get past the doom and gloom of all the information about the extent of the problem, Hightower proves that--in the end--he is an optimist. Unlike in "Armadillos," he cites many examples of people fighting for a measure of economic and social justice, and winning. From the United Students Against Sweatshops group that successfully lobbied to change university policies on using Third World subcontractors to produce clothing, to the Missoula New Party that got its progressive candidates elected to seats on the city council, so-called ordinary men and women are making a difference. The secret, Hightower says, is to start small and gradually reach for more and more substantial gains.
The main weakness of "If the Gods..." is in Hightower's tendency to propose simple solutions to very complex issues, and to elevate modest accomplishments to the significance of great achievements. Obviously, some of his populist cheerleading must be taken with more than a grain of salt. But he does know how to put forth a persuasive argument about what's wrong with our nation, and he does offer a convincing ray of hope that all is not lost, even as we prepare for yet another meaningless presidential election. If you are weary of hearing about politics as usual from the conservative, commercial-friendly likes of Spam Donaldson and Cookie Roberts, Hightower may be just the ticket to help you care again.
Finally, the very fact that you won't be seeing this book discussed in the major newspapers or on prime-time network television is more than enough reason for checking it out for yourself.
42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great, Great Book,
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who owns the Politicians?,
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still picking up my jaw...,
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Corporations Undermine Democracy,
And why is Tom DeLay - the "bug man", as Hightower calls him - one of the most despicable politicians in the country? Find out in the chapter on Saipan, an island in the Mariannas where, in what is nominally US territory, thousands of Asian workers are being held as quasi-slaves in garment factories run by crooked foreign businessmen for the benefit of US apparel companies, with the unwavering support of the Majority Whip of the House of Representatives.
In this explosive book by the well-known Texan agitator, both heroes and villains are grist for his contention that what is at stake in America today is nothing less than democracy, under constant attack from corporate interests and their clients in the political world. But far from merely bemoaning this wretched state of affairs, Hightower shows the citizens of America how they should resist the creeping abrogation of their political, social, and economic rights.
The French (whose help, after all, was critical in winning the war of independence) have their own way of putting this in their national anthem, which dates back to the French Revolution: "Aux armes, citoyens!" - "Citizens, take up arms!"
As the Republic enters its third century looking increasingly like the thirteen States before they rebelled against their unelected masters overseas, Jim Hightower writes like its colorful, twangy, latter-day Tom Paine. This is a call to arms for American democracy - we may ignore it, but only at our own peril.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another enjoyable read from the Nation's #1 Populist!,
One word of commentary to alert the prospective buyer: Hightower's thesis that the two major American political parties are essentially the same with merely cosmetic differences, clearly subjugates social issues like abortion, school prayer, vouchers, affirmative action, and the rest. His arguments are essentially economic, with the issues of social justice for the less well-off (such as affordable housing) framed in this perspective. It is an exaggeration to claim there is no substantive difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. But, hey, Hightower's point of view is like cool spring water on a sticky hot summer's day in Central Florida - so what if it's not Perrier? It's gooood! Just buy the book, and enjoy!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AND THE WINNER IS - - - - NONE OF THE ABOVE,
This review is from: If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote, They'd Have Given Us Candidates (Paperback)Hightower, no stranger to party politics himself, having once been Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, doesn't think much of what either the Democrats or the Republicans have to offer most of us. He shows, rather convincingly, that both parties cater to the wealthy and upper middle class, and in so doing tend to turn off the bulk of our eligible voters. It's in both parties' interest to keep the "unwashed masses" from voting. Otherwise their hand-picked candidates might not get elected, and they'd lose access to the big bucks. As an example of this he talks of the election of Jesse Ventura, an independent, in Minnesota. Minnesota's 60% turnout in that election was the highest in the nation. Ventura was a candidate who wasn't "packaged" by consultants, and who appealed to the kind of voters who usually don't vote when they can see no difference between the candidates of the two major parties. These candidates don't address the issues important to the average guy.
He tells how the media distorts election results by talking about dramatic shifts in one direction or another, when the only true shift is from voter to non-voter.
In 1994, the year of the Republicans' "Big Sweep," 22% of eligible voters voted Republican and 19% voted for Democrats. In 1998, they reported a "Democratic Party Comeback" when the Republicans dropped to 18% of eligible voters voting for them, and the Democrats got 17%, also a drop. What this tells us is that, by disdaining both parties, the effective "None-of-the-above" vote increased from 58% in 1994 to 64% in 1998. Now that's a sweep.
Need another example? In 1998, George W. Bush was re-elected Governor of Texas by what the Media called a "breathtaking landslide." Unmentioned by the media was the fact that only 26% of the eligible voters in Texas had even bothered to vote, the smallest turnout in the nation. Bush had managed to get only about 16% of the eligible voters to vote for him.
WEhen you compare this 26% turnout to the 60% turnout in the Minnesota election, only one conclusion seems reasonable. Candidates from both major parties have nothing to offer to the average voter. Even more frightening is the fact that the two major parties want it that way. Party candidates are beholden to their big donors, and the issues that are important to these big donors are not of interest to the average voter, so a great part of most campaigns is designed to keep us away from the polls.
Unfortunately for the country, but fortunately for these moneyed supporters of the politicians, this lack of interest on our part generally results in a choice between Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee.
A lot of people probable don't like this book although there are those who love it. I, for one, think that Hightower says a lot that needs to be said, but I'm afraid that it's not really being heard.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be Informed - Read this book!,
Most Helpful First | Newest First
If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates, Revised Edition by Jim Hightower (Paperback - February 20, 2001)