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3.9 out of 5 stars
Trainwreck: The End of the Conservative Revolution (and Not a Moment Too Soon)
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Format: Hardcover
Gotta love reading from the "opposition"....would love to meet Bill Press now in person, just to watch him have to "defend" President Obama for making just about every claim he makes about the Republicans only about ten times worse since taking office. And, I'd love a chance as a "layman" and not a professional pundit like him to tear apart a bunch of other assertions he makes in this book that are completely ludicrous, just proving that the generation of Democrats that are around these days and think that 'The Daily Show" is the news have actually never read a history book. I'll provide a few examples:

Press spends almost an entire chapter alleging that Ronald Reagan was a "racist" for launching his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi - the town memorialized in the movie "Mississippi Burning". He also point out the Trent Lott simply met with members of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), which is an organization descended from the Ku Klux Klan...but he doesn't mention the following: Harry Truman, Robert Byrd, Edward Douglas White, Hugo Black, Theodore Bilbo, Bibb Graves, Clifford Walker, George Gordon, and a whole host of others were ACTUAL members of the Ku Klux Klan...and guess what? They were ALL Democrats. Can't believe that people of color still buy into the hogwash that the Democrats are not the racists in this country....the current administration (O-Dumbo's) has certainly made it clear that they are also 100% anti-Semitic with the stance they have taken vis-à-vis Israel in the Middle East! Go figure.

And supposedly scandals like Watergate, Tea Pot Dome, and Iran-Contra only happen on the Republicans watch, right? I'd love to see Mr. Press explain Mr. Obama's "Fast and Furious" scandal, with hindsight being 20-20. Gotta love more recent history coming back to bite you right in the third point of contact, eh Bill?

Let's see...oh, Presidential grabs for power? Mr. Obama puts G.W. Bush to shame with all of his czars, completely incompetent cronies (that have never worked real jobs, just talk about them as politicians). Seems Mr. Press has issues with putting people with REAL experience into any government job....probably because he simply can't grasp the fact that as Ronald Reagan said: Government IS the problem.

You all will love this too: Bill Press lambasts President Bush (no fiscal conservative, by a long shot) for getting the national debt up to $9 trillion before he left office. God, I'd love to see him talk himself out of the fact that under the current Spender-in-Chief we are now at $18 TRILLION and climbing. Got any answers for that, Mr. Press?

Bill Press says that some government "successes" include Medicare and Social Security...both created under Democratic Presidents, both of which are the two largest Ponzi schemes in history. Bernie Madoff went to jail for a Ponzi scheme that is dwarfed by the MESS that both of these systems have turned out to be. If the average American was actually forced to put their portion of Social Security taxes into a 401(K) like investment vehicle, rather than trusting the government to provide for them when they are retired, all of those seniors would now be sitting on quite a nest egg. The government was supposed to be using the employer AND employee portions...and the system is going bankrupt!!! Incompetence run wild....

Mr. Obama has also done nothing to close Guantanamo Bay...he has done nothing to release these "enemy combatants"....why? Simply because the Bush Administration was RIGHT in not applying the rules of the Geneva Convention to terrorists! Terrorists/spies, etc. are specifically excluded from the Geneva Convention...maybe Mr. Press should read it. Or, perhaps Mr. Press should have worn a uniform at some point in his life?

For Bush's Katrina disaster...we have Obama's mishandling of the oil spill in the Gulf. FEMA is not the answer: LOCAL response is the answer. Blame Bush for Katrina...while allowing the Democratic Mayor of New Orleans at the time off the hook, AND the Democratic Governor of Louisiana off the hook. How is that even POSSIBLE? The lack of local preparation, evacuation, and immediate response in the wake of the hurricane was laughable....and it is no wonder neither the mayor nor the governor were re-elected.

In the meantime, I'd love to see what grade Mr. Kress would give Mr. Obama for dealing with any of the current foreign issues facing our nation: an aggressive (Cold War-like) Russia, the growth of ISIS, the nuclear proliferation desires of Iran, Boko Haram, Cuba....I can just imagine him applauding our moron-in-chief for the disaster that has become America's foreign policy.

He compares the "Bush Doctrine" to the "Wilson Doctrine"...without reminding everyone that Wilson went so far as to enact the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918...which basically was his way to crackdown on ANY anti-war protestors. Guess you can't be against a Democrat once they make a decision to enter the country into a war....a war which resulted in over 100,000 US deaths, and over 300,000 US casualties.

I could go on and on...but it is far too easy.

Again, gave this four stars because it is really good to see just how warped the other side truly is....and Bill takes the cake, that's for sure.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Press correctly points out that the modern conservative regime of the past eight years has exhibited behavior contrary to the historical principles of conservativism, limited government, non-intervention, state's rights, moral values, etc. Furthermore, he seems correct in assuming that these behaviors are the inevitable result of conservative dominance over the three branches of the federal government, and to give conservatives that kind of power again would be unwise until they show themselves capable of practicing what they preach- living by the moral standards they proscribe for the rest of America, supporting state's rights even when the states choose policies contrary to their own platform, and actively supporting small government, not a government that is simply a tool of big corporations.
This reader is not wholly convinced, however, that keeping conservatives as a perpetual dissenting minority, the Washington Generals to the Democratic Harlem Globetrotters, is a good thing. Small government conservatives have been successful in many state governments, and by holding power in either the legislature or executive, would counterbalance the modern progressives who seem to run the Democratic Party. Besides, the idea that the American people are ready to completely abandon the George Bush, Ronald Reagan brand of conservativism seems more like a bout of progressive wishful thinking than reasoned political reality. This platform will continue to attract voters for many more election cycles.
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19 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A book that opens with the sentence "The modern conservative movement is dead" is bound to solicit one-star reviews from those who call themselves "proud Republicans." Press goes on "the conservative revolution is finally over--and it was a total bust. If the Republicans were a restaurant, they'd have been closed by the Board of Health. If they were a building, they'd have been condemned. If they were a Hollywood starlet, they'd be in rehab."

He notes an easily overlooked fact: conservatives are better at tearing down than accomplishing things. He notes that none of the ten items in Newt Gingrich's Contract With America is actually law... despite 14 years during which conservatives have vcariously controled of the House, the Senate, the Presidency, the Supreme Court. Not one item accomplished.
Press' funny and insightful new book goes on to reveal the "Ten Things that Republicans Hope You Never Find Out." These are

o Why the conservative movement that spawned Reagan, Gingrich, and Bush is now dead.

o How many core conservative principles the Republicans have betrayed.

o How Republicans have made us less safe, not more.

o How Republicans became the biggest spenders of all time.

o How much bigger the federal government has grown under conservative rule.

o How Republicans got caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

o How Republicans went from protecting the environment to plundering it.

o How the party of peacekeepers became the party of perpetual war.

o How Reagan was worse than Nixon-and Bush worse than both.

0 Why conservatives can never again be trusted with power.

The last point is sure to incite some right-wing nutjobs out there... Press' makes the point that people who hate government should never again be allowed to run it (he does state conservatives could be a useful break on too much liberal power).

There are eight chapters

1) "Loving the Great Outdoors" - environment.

2) "Restoring Honor and Dignity to Government" - about unethical conservatives from Bob Ney to Duke Cunningham to Ted Stevens to Tom DeLay to John Doolittle.

3) "Making Americans Safer" - about security issues.

4) "A Safeguard Againast Tyranny" - about how the Bush Administration betrayed conaservative principles to spy on its own citizens and institute torture.

5) "Avoiding Pointless Foreign Adventures" - Iraq and Iran

6) "Cutting Waste, Fraud, and Abuse"- how the GOP policies led to the FEMA's failure, collapsing bridges, unsafe planes, failure to regulate the banking industry and so on.

7) "The Party of Fiscal Responsibility" - how Bush and a GOP Congress turn a surplus into the largest deficit in history

8) "Less power to Washington" - how the GOP uses states' right rhetoric when not in charge, but behave the opposite way (cf Terry Schivo) when they are in charge.

Each chapter concludes with a "Lessons Learned" section.

In his conclusion, Press makes the case that it isn't Bush who failed conservatism (he lists a spate of recent titles), but conservatism's inate principles of disliking government mean they cannot efficiently run a government. "Because, as a governing philosophy grounded in the task of opposition, it is inadequate to the task of leadership... Putting conservatives in charge of government is like trying to build a house with a saw and a sledgehammer. No matter how skilled the carpenter, they're just the wrong tools for the job."
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on November 11, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
If you like Bill Press, you will enjoy his book. Gives his opinion and why things are so wrong in this country.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Talk show host Bill Press has done a valuable service in writing this book. There is a lot of confusion regarding political terms in this country that have largely lost their meaning. This has come about due to the deceitful work of figures like Sean Hannity and the corporatist movement he represents that has co-opted the term "conservative." As Bill Press has pointed out in another book, right-wing elites have similiarly co-opted the term "Christian" How the Republicans Stole Religion: Why the Religious Right is Wrong about Faith & Politics and What We Can Do to Make it Right, much like Roman emperor Constantine did Constantine's Sword.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt warned us of the depridations of the "industrial dictatorship," and that is why Rush Limbaugh hates FDR and the government agencies (when they are not corrupted by Big Business) that can curb the excesses of the "aristocracy of our monied corporations" (to use Thomas Jefferson's phrase). "Train Wreck" outlines the many ways in which the "conservative" movement has operated in opposition to actual conservative values - they have not been fiscally responsible as our massive debt illustrates, they have directed an interventionist military agenda The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project), they are disrespecting our environment and squandering natural resources Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy, they are disrespecting states' rights on issues like medical marijuana Waiting to Inhale, and they are trouncing our civil liberties Unconstitutional - The War On Our Civil Liberties. What we have been witnessing hasn't actually been a "conservative revolution," but rather a corporate coup The Corporation. A segment of the population, around 20%, has profited from this coup. Maybe they work in the fossil fuel, pharmaceutical or prison industries; so they are happy to see our government become the representative of business executives instead of the general public. And those that have profited are politically active and are misinformed each and every day by radio hosts across the country, and by corporate news channels like Fox, which receives sponsorship dollars from war profiteers like Lockheed Martin. In terms of media access, political influence and wealth distribution, the U.S. is becoming more and more like a two-tiered almost feudal society that we're accustomed to seeing in the Third World. And to maintain these disparities and injustices, we have a growing network of government agencies like the CIA, DIA, NSA, DEA and other ominous developments. Today's "conservatives" bemoan the "nanny" state (that provides social spending that the general public wants), but they love the authoritarian "daddy" state that surveils us, imprisons hundreds of thousands, regulates small business to death, and makes life miserable for economic refugees from nations where the "conservative" revolution has had even worse effects Free Market Missionaries: The Corporate Manipulation of Community Values.

Fortunately, as Press suggests, corporatism may have reached its apex regarding the ways it has colonized the American mind. In addition to Bill's show, there are other liberal hosts like Thom Hartmann What Would Jefferson Do? and Bob Kincaid who are informing liberals and creating a community of activists. There are also cable tv efforts like Current TV, Link TV and Free Speech TV to counter the right-wing noise machine; as well as a huge growth in independent films that are exposing the deceptions of our corporate media Manufacturing Consent - Noam Chomsky and the Media.
Concerned Americans do have opportunities to take the country back from the right-wing elite that has led us down this anti-democratic and militarist path, but it will take efforts beyond electing the right person to the presidency. John Dewey said "democracy begins in conversation." The progressive revolution begins when we start to have the conversations that Hannity and other "perception managers" don't want us to have.

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."
- Abraham Lincoln
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 24, 2008
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I first heard of this book as it was plugged on the Stephanie Miller show. That was enough of a recommendation right there. I went ahead and got it last week, and I was not sorry I did. The book is a little bit dry, almost like a text book. But it is full of FACTS, which are not talking points, and which cannot be DISPROVED -- only DISAGREED with. I highly recommend all responsible adult Americans read this book, and decide for themselves if they want to give the Republicans another chance.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Press lays out the disastrous record of those who are label themselves "conservatives" but who are conserving nothing. But the far-right media and talkers always do a better job of connecting with people's fear and suspicion. It takes a true regressive (ex: Hannity / Limbaugh) to really rile up a mob. Press is too calm and reasoned to be very successful in political writing.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2008
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I consider myself an independent but I cannot argue with the information in this book. I will never be tempted to vote republican again
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Republicans make us safer!
- No... they don't.

Conservative rule means smaller federal government!
- No... it doesn't.

Conservatives love the enviornment!
- No... they don't.

Conservatives are fiscally responsible!
- No... they aren't.

Conservatives talk a big game, but every time they come up short and show that they are unable to rule.
From the enviroment, to the economy. From foreign policy to smaller federal power... conservatives can't deliver... and Bill Press shows you how.

There are many books that expose conservative lies, but this is one of the better ones. It's easy to read, and Press is funny throughout.

You can't argue with the facts... but like Stephen Colbert said:
"Facts have a liberal bias."

Also recommended:
- Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that in sharp language recalls the history of the conservative failure. "It began with Robert Taft... It was fueled by the intellectual fervor of Russell Kirk and William F. Buckley Jr. It picked up steam and political power with Barry Goldwater. It peaked in influence with Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich. It crashed and burned with George W. Bush." (p. 1) Bill Press adds near the end of the book: "For the last forty years, conservatives have dominated the political debate. And for most of that time, conservatives have held key positions of power." (p. 227)

Nonetheless it may seem a bit premature to announce the end of the conservative revolution that begin, as Press has it, with Senator Robert Taft in opposition to FDR's New Deal; however I think there is an overriding reason having more to do with science, technology and globalization than it has to do with politics, for believing that Bill Press is right.

Most people, especially people who might be called "the salt of the earth" tend to the conservative. This is evident in small town life, in the boardrooms of giant corporations and in the small business community. The reason for this is simple: these people have adjusted to their environment. Consequently any change can be threatening to them. In fact it has been argued that there is a genetic component to being conservative that affects a certain significant portion of the population. Perhaps that number is similar to the percentage of people who still support George W. Bush even after what he has done to this country. In other words probably about 25% of the population can be described as "congenital conservatives." That's a nice starting base, certainly larger than the perhaps five to ten percent who could be called DNA liberals.

Being conservative is--or I should say, has been--the right default because throughout human history following the tried and true ways was usually the wisest course. Usually. In times of upheavals, great environmental, political or social challenges, people willing to embrace change have come to the forefront. Often they are young and disenfranchised, or just plain more knowledgeable about what is going on than their counterparts on the other side of the tribe. But those times have naturally been less frequent than times of stability. And stability is what we all need to live our lives in peace with the possibility of prosperity.

But what is happening today, with the rapid acceleration of technology and the great reach of ideas from one culture to another, prohibits a strictly conservative view. There are great changes taking place almost overnight everywhere around the world. Consequently the immediate prospect and the long term prospects are for change, some of which will be momentous. To adapt to this world in flux we must be ready to change ourselves. We must reinvent our economies and our political institutions. We must do this carefully with open minds and with the knowledge that comes from science, technology, and hands-on experience. We can no longer accept faith-based solutions to problems or rely exclusively on what worked yesterday or on what Authority tells us is the right course.

One of the most glaring failures of conservatism comes from the very core of its philosophy: a distain for government. Again, as Press points out, people who hate government and want to shrink it as much as possible, are seldom good at governing. What we need in the years to come are politicians that believe in government and are willing to work hard to give us the best government possible.

It is for these reasons that I believe, along with Bill Press, that old style conservatism is dead. As he puts it: "If the Republicans were a restaurant, they'd have been closed by the Board of Health. If they were a building, they'd have been condemned. If they were a Hollywood starlet, they'd be in rehab." (p. 1)

Yes, the failures of not just George W. Bush, the neocons and the right wing evangelicals, but the failure of conservatism in general to meet the challenges of the 20th century will condemn them to the sidelines in the 21st.

This is not a book written in political speak or in line with the notion of being "fair and balanced." This is polemic, a 248-page rant against the abuses of power and the derangement of ideology that have characterized the conservative movement during our lifetime. Press spells it out in no uncertain terms: loss of honor at home and abroad; failure to govern responsibility; loss of prestige and respect abroad; subversion of the Constitution; aiding and abetting our enemies, robbing the treasury for cronies; head in the sand and faith-based science and technology; the trashing and polluting of the environment; secretive and dishonest governance; corruption on an epic scale--and more.

Conservatives beware. You will not like this book. Liberals rejoice, because here it all is, all the political horrors you've lived through (and some before your time), presented eloquently and with enough bite to satisfy the spiciest of tastes.
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