Over the Cliff: How Obama's Election Drove the American Right Insane
 
 
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Over the Cliff: How Obama's Election Drove the American Right Insane [Paperback]

John Amato , David Neiwert , Digby
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)


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Book Description

June 1, 2010

A witty look at Tea Parties and the reactionaries that is both funny and frightening. It explores how it overtook the conservative movement after Obama became president. The book helps readers make sense of the chaos in the media and offers ideas for bringing a stop to it and help make America sane again

Compiling example after example, the editors of Crooks and Liars, a popular blog, examine the torrent of right-wing kookery—the eager willingness of conservatives to fervently believe things that are provably false—and its ramifications both for our national discourse and our national well-being. The authors show how this outlandish, overheated rhetoric—generated by mainstream-media figures like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Lou Dobbs—is accompanied by a wave of lethal right-wing threats and violence. They carefully expose the bias of Fox News contributors Neil Cavuto, Greta, Van Susteren, et al, and political opportunists like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.

The book explores the main drivers of this descent into madness: the extremist Radical Right and the longtime Republican willingness—dating back to Nixon, but refined in more recent years by Lee Atwater and his acolytes—to engage in a divisive politics of resentment, both racial and cultural.

It takes a critical look at how Tea Party provocateurs like Dick Armey and his Freedom Works organization that take huge contributions from big money interests like former presidential candidate Steve Forbes that are willing to turn a blind eye to bigots, birthers and neo-John Birchers. The book demonstrates how the Tea Party is the true face of the Republican Party.

The authors propose simple ways ordinary Americans can help stop the descent into blind opposition for it own sake.  They suggest that news audiences demand accountability by from their sources by critically commenting on their Web site and to their editors or producers. They write “confronting the media malfeasance that makes rightwing populism possible is only an important first step in meeting the challenges posed by the rise of this political pathology in American life. Ultimately, it means confronting the movement and its leaders, particularly in their embrace of conspiracy theories, falsehoods, scapegoating, and vicious eliminationist rhetoric.”

 



Editorial Reviews

Review

 

“John Amato and David Neiwert have produced a book that should stay on shelves for 50 years—long enough to remind us that at least some people understood the strange and vile energies consuming the social contract at the beginning of the third millenium. As a record of what is happening to American conservatism in the year 2010, Over the Cliff is unmatched.”
Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America

“If you want to understand the forces behind the extreme demonization of President Obama and the assault on progressive America, look no further than Over the Cliff. With witty analysis and thorough investigative reporting, Amato and Neiwert provide a definitive chronicle of the far-right’s rapid movement from paranoia to outright violence.
Max Blumenthal, author of Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party

“Over the Cliff is a genuinely useful cataloguing of the remarkable descent of the American right into vicious name-calling, racist demonizing, and paranoid conspiracy-mongering since the election of Barack Obama. Amato and Neiwert do a first-rate job of chronicling the dangerous, populist rage on the right that pandering politicians and shameless media pundits are aiding and abetting.”
Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project, Southern Poverty Law Center

 

From the Back Cover

"John Amato and David Neiwert have produced a book that should stay on shelves for 50 years--long enough to remind us that at least some people understood the strange and vile energies consuming the social contract at the beginning of the third millenium. As a record of what is happening to American conservatism in the year 2010, Over the Cliff is unmatched."
-- Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America

"If you want to understand the forces behind the extreme demonization of President Obama and the assault on progressive America, look no further than Over the Cliff. With witty analysis and thorough investigative reporting, Amato and Neiwert provide a definitive chronicle of the far-right's rapid movement from paranoia to outright violence."
-- Max Blumenthal, author of Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party

"Over the Cliff is a genuinely useful cataloguing of the remarkable descent of the American right into vicious name-calling, racist demonizing, and paranoid conspiracy-mongering since the election of Barack Obama. Amato and Neiwert do a first-rate job of chronicling the dangerous, populist rage on the right that pandering politicians and shameless media pundits are aiding and abetting."
-- Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project, Southern Poverty Law Center


Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Polipoint Press; First Printing edition (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982417179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982417171
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #731,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
219 of 236 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timely analysis of the Radical Right in the US June 2, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dave Neiwert and John Amato in this book give us a great look at the Republican Party's mass mobilization of 2009 against the Obama administration, with lots of details about the Tea Party movement. Two things about this book strike me as particularly notable. One is that it shows, as clearly as I've seen done yet, how the Tea Party movement is both a normal part of the Republican Party but also a new phase in the long-term radicalization of the Party. The other is that it gives readers not familiar with the sometimes strange and even cult-like way of talking about politics among rightwing "populist" conservatives a good introduction to that language.

Regular readers of John Amato's "Crooks and Liars" blog, of which Dave Neiwert is the editor, will have seen a lot of the particular events described in real time. Dave is a genuine journalistic expert on the Radical Right and writes about it regularly. But even for those who have followed the Radical Right at "Crooks and Liars" and other news sources, there's real value in seeing a book length description of various events and personalities, which allows the writers to focus at some length on major themes while also making the chronological narrative clear.

In the chapter called "Bloodying the Shirt", they offer some insight into a favorite habit of conservatives, especially of the far right, that can often be disconcerting to those not familiar with it. They tell the story of anti-abortion fanatic and Christian terrorist Scott Roeder who murdered Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider on May 31, 2009. Bill O'Reilly had run reports on Tiller and framed them in inflammatory terms.
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160 of 175 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard hitting piece of solid journalism June 1, 2010
Format:Paperback
With the incredible about of noise generated by the extremist fringe recently, reading Over The Cliff was a breath of fresh air. A detailed and factual account of just how unhinged the right wing has become in recent months. Certainly not for the faint of heart and, in many cases will be preaching to the choir, nonetheless this book is a valuable source of good information on a movement which has tried desperately to disrupt our democratic system of government. Both Amato and Neiwert (who is no stranger to investigative journalism) offer clear and concise information and numerous details that make this book not only a fascinating read, but a compelling one. It will doubtless cause howls of dismay and threats - but sometimes the truth is very uncomfortable. My only advice is to read it for yourself and judge.
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84 of 96 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
John Amato and David Neiwert have painstakingly chronicled the events leading up to and following the November, 2008 election. By rendering the facts without spin they have laid bare the raw ferocity of the cognitive dissonance among the Republicans, the Tea Party, and the fringe right wing. This book should be required reading in every political science class from now on.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should Not Be Taken Lightly July 5, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
At 11 p.m., the night of November 5, 2008, John McCain, representing the pro-business, conservative America, conceded defeat in his bid for the presidency of the United States. The country was suddenly transformed, especially conservative and right wing America that believed that it would never have happened. Their candidates and their philosophy were soundly rejected by the electorate, and they too were transformed. Their mass paranoid hysteria had begun. Authors John Amato and David Neiwert, of the blog "Crooks and Liars," explain how it started, and how it took on a life of its own.

The authors explain how a racist America accelerated quickly into overdrive. Blacks were beaten and killed because of an elected black man. There was a spike in hits on white supremicist websites and right wing blogs. Three police officers were killed in Pittsburgh by a man who believed that Obama would take away his guns.

The Republican reaction could have been an honest analysis of why they lost, but denial was a more soothing way to think. It wasn't that conservatism was bad or weak, it was because conservatives had lost their way. They turned on one of the most conservative administrations in history and its leader, George W. Bush for not having been conservative enough. It spawned a right wing movement called the Tea Party whom the Republicans thought they could use and control. However, it turned out the the Tea Partiers started pulling party strings instead by their support of ultra conservative candidates.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Important message undermined by rhetoric August 5, 2010
Format:Paperback
This book tells an important story about the resurgence of the extreme right in recent years, loaded with underreported facts that it links together into a strong narrative. The problem is, it's also loaded with loaded language -- unnecessary epithets, cheap shots, appeals to ridicule and other miscellaneous editorializing, such that a moderate conservative, for example, might be goaded to ignore its message and write it off as untrustworthy liberal partisanship. This is a shame. I wish I'd been the authors' editor, so that I could cut out the gratuitous nastiness and let the facts speak for themselves.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading
This book appears to have been well researched and it felt like finally finding the two or three crucial pieces that suddenly made all the rest of it fit together. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Mary Ann
4.0 out of 5 stars Warning the Cliff Ahead!
I saw the uproar and outrageous reactions that some American have had to the Obama administration from the beginning. This is not the first time that this has happened. Read more
Published on July 15, 2012 by Lionel S. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars All a pack of lies!
I know there are weak/ wimps in the Republican Party that go along with the left wing liberal democrats, but the conservative Republicans and the Tea Party ( they are not tea... Read more
Published on April 6, 2012 by "Bookie Ann"
5.0 out of 5 stars Obama Should Read This
This book was written before the calamitous mid-term elections of 2010, which once and for all lifted the curtain on the real intentions of the American Right. Read more
Published on February 13, 2012 by Peter Baklava
5.0 out of 5 stars a must read
This makes a perfect gift for all your friends who have been brainwashed by FOX News(sic). It documents the insanity that has subverted the once great GOP and conservative... Read more
Published on November 25, 2011 by JohnnyE
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific explanation of the way politics has come to be
Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

When I picked up this book I had no intention of reviewing it; however, once I read it, I changed my mind for one reason:... Read more
Published on August 24, 2011 by rlweaverii
4.0 out of 5 stars Blueprint for 2012
Only read the Kindle sample so far...looks to be a fun read for any Obama supporter, a great blueprint for 2012
Published on June 8, 2011 by MrJaymo
4.0 out of 5 stars Timely read with compelling call to action for 2012
It's great to read this compelling work now in light of the announcement of Glenn Beck's coming parting from Fox News, the release of the President's long-form birth certificate... Read more
Published on May 9, 2011 by Andy Orrock
4.0 out of 5 stars Really not a fun topic when you think about it... and this book will...
I've now tried twice to write a review, and at the end of the day I feel very conflicted about recommending this book because I have not researched the other side. Read more
Published on April 12, 2011 by Christian R. Unger
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting stroll through recent history
This book will get you up to speed on recent happenings related to the Tea Party, Fox news, and the GOP and highlights what happens when we don't hold the media accountable for... Read more
Published on November 27, 2010 by Matthew Flood
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