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The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted [Hardcover]

Mike Lofgren
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (265 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 2, 2012
The New York Times bestselling exposé of what passes for business as usual in Washington today

There was a time, not so very long ago, when perfectly rational people ran the Republican Party. So how did the party of Lincoln become the party of lunatics? That is what this book aims to answer. Fear not, the Dems come in for their share of tough talk— they are zombies, a party of the living dead.

Mike Lofgren came to Washington in the early eighties—those halcyon, post–Nixonian glory days—for what he imagined would be a short stint on Capitol Hill. He has witnessed quite a few low points in his twenty-eight years on the Hill—but none quite so pitiful as the antics of the current crop of legislators whom we appear to have elected.

Based on the explosive article Lofgren wrote when he resigned in disgust after the debt ceiling crisis, The Party Is Over is a funny and impassioned exposé of everything that is wrong with Washington. Obama and his tired cohorts are no angels but they have nothing on the Republicans, whose wily strategists are bankrupting the country one craven vote at a time. Be prepared for some fireworks.



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Editorial Reviews

Review

 
“Lofgren’s ideas are trenchant and far-reaching. . . . With the feel of a long-repressed confession and the authority of an insider’s testimony, like the anti-war views of a decorated infantry officer . . . he writes about how the Republican party took advantage of a profoundly ignorant electorate, an easily conned and distracted media, and a cowed Democratic Party to press the ideological struggle in spite of the deep unpopularity of many of its positions.”
—George Packer, The New Yorker

 
“A fast-moving, hard-hitting, dryly witty book-length account of the radicalization of the Republican party, the failures of Democratic rivals and the appalling consequences for the country at large. Like the essay that inspired it, The Party Is Over is forceful, convincing and seductive.”
The Washington Post


 
“Expect demand for this inside view of Washington, D.C., by a staffer who spent a quarter-century on Capitol Hill before publishing a screed on “America’s broken political system” at truthout.org. Lofgren criticizes Democrats . . . but his long service to GOP office-holders inevitably makes his critique of that party more detailed and fascinating. . . . A pungent, penetrating insider polemic.”
Mary Carroll, Booklist (starred review)

 
“A scrupulously bipartisan diagnosis of the sick state of American politics and governance . . . Lofgren devotes close attention to budget issues rarely accorded so much detail in garden-variety op-ed warfare. Sustaining his original thesis well beyond Internet-browsing attention span, Lofgren has crafted an angry but clear-sighted argument that may not sit well at family reunions or dinner parties, but deserves attention.”
Publishers Weekly

 
“A well-argued call for more sanity in American politics.”
Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Mike Lofgren spent twenty-eight years working in Congress, the last sixteen as a senior analyst on the House and Senate Budget committees, which gave him ringside seats on TARP, Hurricane Katrina disaster relief, debates on the Pentagon budget and the amazing antics of various deficit–reduction commissions. He holds two degrees in history and received a Fulbright scholarship. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (August 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670026263
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670026265
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (265 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #367,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
201 of 208 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch out for the quiet ones ... August 8, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In "The Party Is Over" Mike Lofgren presents a very similar message to Joseph Stiglitz's "The Price of Inequality" and Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein's "It's Even Worse than It Looks." The difference is that Lofgren's perspective is from working as a Republican analyst on House and Senate budget committees for 28 years. Throughout the book he tells of some of his interactions with unnamed elected officials, but primarily he focuses on specific people in government who forgot about what was for the good of the people in return for the power -- Republicans like Bush, Cheney, Abramoff, Gingrich, Bachmann, the Koch Brothers and Democrats like Obama, Rubin and Geithner. (Hint - you don't want to be mentioned in this book.)

I've made it a point to read books that were written by people who have written from different vantage points -- columnists, think tankers, bloggers, former officials, news people. It's interesting to see how those authors attempt to balance their criticism to attempt to attract both liberal/Democratic and conservative/Republican readers and to avoid the shut-down response where one side jumps onboard enthusiastically and the other pans it without actually reading it. None of those books were as outspoken and specific as Lofgren's. The first 10 chapters focus on aspects of the Republican strategy or how the Republican Party has gotten to the point where they are now -- its history, tactics, selective use of the Constitution, the words it uses to fire up its base, its tax strategy (it's really all about reducing taxes for the rich ... all the rest is purposely used to distract from that main strategy), its alliance with the religious right, its media complicity, its anti-liberal fixation, and its continued dishonesty -- and all this from a Republican staffer!
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270 of 288 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revealing look at modern politics from an insider August 4, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Party Is Over is excellent. Mike Lofgren is a real historian and has filled his book with terrific insights and analyses. Nowhere is there a better assessment of the fundamental axiom of Republican politics than on page 35, "that relentless attack is its own Teflon." I suspect this book will itself be relentlessly attacked and Lofgren vilified as an apostate. But Lofgren is a genuine conservative in its traditional definition as respectful of tradition and cautious.

His analysis of "paleoconservatives" on page 23 is on point, "Scratch many a paleoconservative and you will find a neo-Confederate at heart." The Republican Southern Strategy of 1968 has born the bitter fruit of turning the clock back to secessionism. While a few, like Texas Governor Rick Perry, have treasonously advocated open secessionism, the contemporary version is secession by withdrawing financially from our nation either by endless tax cuts for the rich to hollow out our infrastructure and institutions or by corporate outsourcing.

While there are similar gems throughout the book, I want to outline just a few. On page 44: "Like the biblical literalist, Republicans assert that the Constitution is divinely inspired and inerrant. But also like biblical literalists, they are strangely selective about those portions of their favorite document that they care to heed, and they favor rewriting it when it stands in the way of their political agenda."

On page 149, there is a lyrical thumbnail sketch depicting William Jennings Bryant as a sad parallel to the descent of the Republican Party into anti-intellectualism. William F. Buckley Jr. is nostalgically contrasted with the crudity of rightwing mouthpieces on page 150.
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122 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Enablers August 11, 2012
Format:Hardcover
Caveat emptor: what follows is a biased book review. The author Mike Lofgren (bio - see ref [1] below) is a very close friend of mine. I have been flogging this important new book, since I first read it in draft copy.

Mike Lofgren, a native of Akron Ohio, is a conservative of the now forgotten Republican old school. He is more at home with the likes of Robert Taft, Dwight Eisenhower, and Abraham Lincoln than right wing ideologues like Newt Gingrich or plutocratic highway robbers like Mitt Romney.

Ideologically disposed readers of Lofgren's aptly titled book may be tempted conclude he has flipped and joined the Democrats. To be sure, Lofgren is harder on Republicans than Democrats. Having served on the Republican staffs of the House and Senate Budget Committees, he was in a much better position to observe and understand their hijinks than those of the Democrats. So, it is not at all surprising that his book has more detail describing how the ideological Republican crazies created a political economy that is poisoning our culture and wrecking what used to be the greatest job engine in economic history. It would be a great mistake, however, to conclude that Mike is arguing Republicans are THE culprits. The thesis of this book is about how the Republicans and Democrats worked together to sell out the middle class.

Lofgren is a modest, unassuming individual, who at first glance would appear quite unlikely to write such a book. He never sought the klieg lights. Nor did he ever pal around with the gucci shoe crowd to lubricate his way through the revolving door into a high paying lobbying job on K Street. Lunch for Lofgren was not at the Prime Rib or Capitol Hill Club, but a simple sandwich in a brown bag.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Scratch "We the People" from your Vocabulary
This 2012 book was/is a stimulating pre-post mortem of the 2014 elections. It's the story of elected politicians doing their best to legislate the wishes of corporate donors... Read more
Published 4 days ago by E. D. La Londe
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good book we are being screwed by both parties
Published 11 days ago by jack satkoski
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommened
A well written account of how the political establishment derailed itself in the time period between the Reagan Presidency and the early years of the Obama Presidency. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Lloyd Colson
4.0 out of 5 stars How the Republicans have become the reactionary party.
I am a lifelong Republican, and even I know the party has become more conservative (or reactionary) and religious than the party I knew in my youth. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kevin M Quigg
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank you so much!
Published 1 month ago by Cody McPhail
1.0 out of 5 stars Headfake, then move to the Left
Didn't like the book at all. In the introduction, Lofgren described himself as a Republican, a budget analyst who'd served almost three decades as a House staffer working for such... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dennis M. THOMAS
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Excellent rather even handed account of the current demise of American democracy. I was especially taken with the author's insights from working in the committee's.
Published 2 months ago by Christina Coolidge
4.0 out of 5 stars Things in Washington Are Even Worse Than You Thought
As bad as you think the current political climate in Washington is - Mr. Lofgren's book makes a compelling case that it's even worse than you thought. Read more
Published 3 months ago by SoFla
2.0 out of 5 stars It's Not Really Going to Provide Any Insights If You Are Already...
Honestly, the only interesting thing about this book was the fact the author was a Republican staffer and policy analyst. Read more
Published 3 months ago by David Dickey
5.0 out of 5 stars Purashed as a gift.
Bought as a gift for a right wing republican, I haven't had feedback on whether he liked it or not.
Published 3 months ago by Bobbib
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