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61 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2014
This book is a blockbuster. Charlie Crist makes the case that the Republican Party was hijacked by an extreme group of people. His roots were in the Republican Party but not the party that has evolved in the last 10 years. I was in the audience in Tavares when Governor Charlie Crist came to speak to a large group of teachers. The GOP legislature had passed very anti-teacher and anti-union legislation. Charlie listened to the case made by the teachers and to his own family. He reversed course and didn't let that bad legislation pass his desk.
I watched this incredibly charming man and I knew I was in the presence of a natural born leader. He explains how the simple act of showing respect to President Barack Obama was a pivotal point at which Republicans went ballistic. Charlie Crist was caught blindsided by a party who could not understand civility and decency among leaders.
This book is exciting as it illuminates a part of our national discourse when many Republicans decided to obstruct every piece of legislation that President Obama proposed. I grew up in New York where Senator Al D'Amato was a Republican and he bargained with Democrats to get things done. Charlie Crist explains his positions and beliefs in very strong terms. He is a man of conviction whose party left him.
Crist spoke to a rousing crowd at the Democratic Convention. He traces his path to his second run for governor against Ric Scott.
You can feel his desire to be the People's Governor. On issues like immigration reform, health care, and the rising inequality between the rich and the poor, he explains a new course for America.
Read this book. He might just be President one day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2015
I read this book in one day. It was simply written, personal, fast moving, easy to read. As a resident of Florida, I found it so informative. I remember every political event that Governor Christ describes. It was interesting to get an inside political perspective of those same events. So many people have been affected by the radical changes in the Republican Party. The extreme religious right movement has forever eroded the relationship dynamics in my own family. For twenty-five years I have been aware of the divisive nature of this movement. It was so interesting to read about its slow and steady seeping into the GOP (which I grew up in). Governor Christ doesn't speak of it like that, he simply tells his experience as a classic conservative, who is just being a classic conservative, while his party changes all around him, (kind of like some members of my family did). What was uncanny was the accuracy with which he described the mean and judgmental spirit of the religious right. In all fairness Gov Christ does not heavily label this a "religious" movement. At least he doesn't dwell on that. I refer to it as religious because that is the context in which it happened for me and I believe it is at the core of the movement. Nonetheless this book provided for me a new perspective on something I have already been experiencing personally. I have also read about the same phenomenon as written by Frank Schaeffer, the man who, with his father, orchestrated the "marriage" between the religious right and the Republican Party. Incidentally, he lives to regret it and now seeks to uncover the damage it has done. Governor Christ's book has provided for me a third perspective of what is now becoming a holographic view of this religious phenomenon. I have experienced it in family, seen it from the radical religious perspective, from a reformed and regretful Evangelical, and now from the political view. I think it important to note, o am a registered republican; that is going to change soon. I highly recommend this book and I highly respect Charley Christ. I always knew I liked the guy, now I know why.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2014
This book is clearly written and makes the authors views on many things easily understandable. He's a politician, of course. Always hard to know if these books are just written to get votes, and I assume they are. This was written after he was governor, but I think he was a good governor. And I would like to see him re-elected, but I'm preaching to the choir here. If you are interested in Charlie Christs' views on many issues, you will like the book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2014
I have become aware of the reactionary element of the "far right" from reading other books and listening to the news, so I was keenly interested in hearing what Charlie Crist had to say about his experiences in this regard.

The first two chapters are mostly about his life growing up and his educational experiences. In chapter three, we begin to learn of some of his early experiences in political life and the right-wing push back on his policies. For example, when he became Attorney General of Florida, he was pressured to fire all the democrats working in the office, which he refused to do. His philosophy was "people have to come together somehow to get things done." He refused to give up his own priorities and judgment - just the way it should be. By chapter five, were talking about his inauguration as Governor of Florida. He continues by discussing his experiences as Governor, and how he aimed to help the people of the state of Florida. There was one important issue - allowing ex-felons (with certain restrictions) to vote, among other things. Crist supported this, but once again his fellow republicans were bucking his decision telling him that they were not in favor because "the vast majority wouldn't be voting for us."

Crist started to first sense something was very wrong when he praised the pro-environment Republican governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to an audience of Republicans and was met with anger. He then spends some time talking about the McCain presidential campaign and his consideration for the post of Vice President. It was during this time he noticed the rising star Barack Obama, and was perplexed at how "quite a few conservatives seemed to positively hate him." This was also the time he got to know Sarah Palin whose worldviews seemed to be far apart from that of the mainstream Republicans such as himself and McCain. As the 2008 election approached, Crist noticed that the animosity on the far right of the Republican Party was getting louder and uglier with seemingly no bounds. When McCain spoke of Obama in favorable terms at a town hall meeting, he was greeted with boos. As the voting for the election approached, back in Florida, there were interminable lines the voters had to wait in. It seemed the Republicans wanted it this way. I wondered why? As Crist notes, "They wanted to make it as hard as possible for the people who tend to vote early: older people, African Americans, Latinos, other minorities - Democrats!" It was only through executive order by Governor Crist, that the waiting times were alleviated.

The rift was continuing to develop. When Obama came to Florida shortly after the election to promote the multi-billion dollar stimulus package, Crist hugged Obama and publicly announced his support for the stimulus package. It was simple; it would be good for Florida. Unfortunately, as the governor notes, "that high-spirited day in Fort Myers [...] ended my viable life as a Republican politician." By this point we could see the rise of the Tea Party movement across the country. The push-back from the right became extremely palpable when he decided to appoint James Perry, a black man, as a judge on Florida's Supreme Court. What he describes is just unbelievable. He was told by some that it would be over for him, if he appointed Perry. In fact, he received 27,000 e-mails, faxes, calls, and letters. There was pressure from the Tea Party America, and conservative groups sent out press releases by the hour denouncing Perry. One hedge fund chief vowed never to help Crist again. Wow! To Crist's credit, he did not cave and followed his conscience.

He then covers his run for Senate against Marco Rubio. Here he noticed that his being a "moderate" Republican was working against him. Rubio was running a campaign bashing the president. Crist comments concerning the backlash against the president saying, "This wasn't just a policy discussion. This was ideological disdain and personal attack." The overwhelming theme was "take our country back," but it was never specified from whom. Soon Freedom Works declared him one of its "Enemies of Liberty." The hyped-up bloggers, hard-right wingers, and Tea Party folks pushed back hard, eventually causing Crist to quit the Republican primary and run as an Independent. It was getting impossible for a moderate Republican to maintain a foothold in the party anymore. He had a description for this activist wing of the Republican party: "an assemblage that included politicized evangelicals, ardent bloggers, anti-abortion advocates, deficit hawks, Tea Party wing-nuts, and a handful of really rich guys with very loose checkbooks."

In his book, he also covers his veto (as Governor of Florida) of Senate bill 6, which he felt punished teachers and benefited for-profit, national testing firms, and his veto of an ultrasound bill for women considering abortion. He was dismayed at the way Republicans wanted to hurt the president. He observed that they needed to cripple government and make sure nothing the Democrats tried would succeed. The idea was to get people frustrated with the current administration ultimately benefiting the Republican Party. You'd think the American people could see thorough this. He spends some time talking about the governorship of Rick Scott, his successor. He was dismayed at how Scott rolled back many of his achievements that he was proud of - Tea Party pressure you see.

Through all of this Crist felt public service was about "putting the needs of our state and our people first," and he says he tried to do that every single day. From reading this book, I gathered that Charlie Crist was a great person to have as your Politian.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2014
An interesting story told, and edited, in a pedestrian style. This is a good book for the reader interested solely in the storyline; it is not for the reader hoping for distinguished writing.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2014
Charlie Christ has always seemed a more interesting guy than he is in much of this book. Another reviewer says his co-writer was weak, but I suspect she strove to tell it in Charlie's voice, and he's not storytelling for entertainment as much as running for office. So there's lots of explaining what he's all about as a public servant, which can turn into preaching to the choir, (since Tea Party folks aren't gonna shell out money for this book). Good editing would have trimmed the repetition of lists of his accomplishments in office which sometimes slows down the narrative.

That said, this is a story that needs to be told and everyone who votes in Florida (not an easy thing to do with Rick Scott restricting opportunities!) should find this book interesting, and even painful to recall certain episodes in recent Florida history.

Christ praises the Republicans he still admires and is also fair to many who oppose him. The extremists & broadcasters who demonize him always have a field day since he refuses to respond in kind. America would be better off if there were more like him.
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16 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2014
Charlie Crist has written a very readable memoir of his experience of how the Republican party has gone from rational thinking to hysterical extremism. He explains why he had to leave this "new" Republican party led by the likes of Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, etc.,and become a moderate Democrat, which is now the party of reason and compassion. He makes me glad I live in Florida.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2014
Charlie Crist tells how he did some really good things for Florida as a moderate Republican governor, with the approval of the voters. He then tells about how the increasingly hard-lined party began to disapprove of anything he did that did not follow their script. This was intensified by his meeting with Obama after he accepted the stimulus money and briefly gave the POTUS a hug. Then follows a detailed report of how the Tea Party gained control in Florida, and Marco Rubio ran against Charlie for the US Senate, with their support, underhanded tactics and dedication to opposing Obama at every opportunity.
Those of us former Republicans who became disgusted with what their party had evolved into find this an all too familiar story. As happened to a lot of us, Crist finally accepted that he no longer belonged in a mean-spirited, no-compromise party of haters, and changed his affiliation to Democrat.
Unfortunately, most people who read this book are already aware of the trends Mr. Crist is describing. Those who should read it will probably ignore the situation and continue to turn to Fox "News" and Rush Limbaugh for their (mis)information. I wish Charlie the best of luck in his campaign to regain the governorship in Florida.
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on June 23, 2015
This is the most important book on American politics I have ever read.
The author tells a powerfully moving and troubling story--an epistemological and conversion narrative--of how his experiences as governor of Florida ended his membership in the Republican Party because he took seriously the Republican Party's rhetorical claim that they are the party of ALL the people.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2014
This is the first complete history of how this has happened to others in the Republican Party, the others don't seem to realize what has happened to them and think they are on the right side.

the more I read on Facebook how some of the relatives and friends who used to be people who I could converse with about politics have gotten so radical, it is impossible to relate to them. I heard one of them say that the reason the price of produce is so high because Obama cut off the water supply to California and gave it to the fisheries and the drought is his fault. And about 100 people jumped right on the bandwagon. They have become so blinded by their hatred of Obama, they have ceased to think straight.
This book is written by a smart caring man and he is able to tell his story without hysterics, I like that part of it. I hope he does well in the Democratic Party
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