In the mid-1790s, Fisher Ames, a member of the First Federal Congress, declined to run for a fifth term in the House, questioning the usefulness of the legislative body, given the divided politics of the time, and making the remark that lends itself to the title of this book. The best-selling author of Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush (2007), Draper takes an unsparing look at the contemporary House of Representatives, given the divided politics of our time. Draper focuses on the major players, including Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi, as well as the freshman class of the 112th Congress to offer a revealing look at the messy legislative process. Among 435 colleagues, the ambitious distinguish themselves as earnest ideological newcomers, many sponsored by the Tea Party, and search to find effectiveness. Boehner, Pelosi, and their respective party members cut deals for votes, campaign funds, committee assignments, and other measures of influence, handing out rewards and punishments based on compliance with party politics—with very little legislative work getting done. This is a timely and insightful look at lawmakers as Americans brace themselves for continued political gridlock. --Vanessa Bush
“Vivid . . . Compelling . . . [Draper’s] refreshingly balanced account captures the drama of one of Congress’s most combative and maddeningly frustrating years in memory.” (The Wall Street Journal
“Colorful . . . An engaging and often funny chronicle of the year in the House of Representatives following the Tea Party–powered 2010 elections.” (The New York Times Book Review
“Superb . . . A rich and deeply reported look at the House Republicans who took over the chamber after the 2010 elections.” (Ryan Lizza The New Yorker's "Ten Best Political Books of 2012"
“A gripping and fast-paced narrative.” (The Daily Beast