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When the Tea Party Came to Town: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives' Most Combative, Dysfunctional, and Infuriating Term in Modern History [Kindle Edition]

Robert Draper
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When the Tea Party Came to Town demonstrates Robert Draper’s uncanny ability to ferret out news-making tidbits and provides us with the first look at this game-changing Congress—sure to be a classic work.

In When the Tea Party Came to Town, Robert Draper delivers the definitive account of what may turn out to be the worst congressional term in United States history. As he did in writing about President George W. Bush in Dead Certain, Draper burrows deep inside his subject, gaining cooperation from the major players, and provides an insider’s book like no one else can—a colorful, unsparingly detailed, but evenhanded narrative of how the House of Representatives became a house of ill repute. Because of the bitterly divided political atmosphere in which we live, this literary window on the backstage machinations of the House of Representatives is both captivating and timely—revealing the House in full, from the process of how laws are made (and in this case, not made) to the most eye-popping cast of lawmakers Washington has ever seen.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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)

Product Details

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256 of 284 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Confirms My Worst Fears About Our Congress April 26, 2012
This new book genuinely confirms my worst fears about the decay of our government through the last five Congressional sessions. I listened to a detailed preview and interview about Do Not Ask What Good We Do through online and cable news recently. As a proud non-partisan Independent, born out of 6 generations of Republicans, I now fear greatly for our nation. Moreover, Robert Draper's book underscores how a relatively small radical segment of the Republican Party is now trying to secretly diminish and seemly dismantle our "We the people" government simply for their narrow short-term election year power gains. Behind what appears to be the necessary checks and balances by Congressional governance, it's now really all about winning elections, staying in office, making money, agitating class warfare, political distractions, coded rhetoric, and setting-up to win the next election to make more money. Has anyone ever asked themselves if we really want "less government," then does the trillions of our tax dollars dollars we pay remain in their pockets -- can you say what "taxation without representation" means now? Clearly, Mr. Draper's book title is perfect for our times. Ironically, the GOP started out as an anti-slavery, socioeconomic rights and political equality party in the 1850s when we were a young nation and a very divided republic -- including our national "birth defect" of slavery and various forms of racial terrorism, according to former (Republican) U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Having read Grand Old Party by Lewis L. Gould, Thaddeus Stevens: Nineteenth Century Egalitarian by Hans L. Trefousse, American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia by Bruce Frohnen, Jeremy Beer and Jeffrey O. Nelson, and Alfred Blumrosen's Slave Nation book (truly must-reads), greatly enhanced what Mr. Read more ›
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for political junkies May 5, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Robert Draper is a first-rate writer. In this page-turner he treats Democrats and Republicans (and Tea Partiers) with equal care and criticism.

Draper is a "fly on the wall" through the 2011 sessions of the House of Representatives. Through his phenomenal penmanship we get to meet many Reps like Tea Party freshmen Jeff Duncan and Allen West, the soon-to-be-disgraced Anthony Weiner, and "Dean of the House" John Dingell, D-MI, to name only a few.

We get to see inside the machinations of the House of Representatives during the Continuing Resolutions (to continue funding the Federal government) and the debt ceiling debates -- ending with the so-called Super Committee, which (we learn) Senator Harry Reid expected to fail when he proposed it (see page 274).

With earmarks gone for this session of Congress, the majority party leaders (Boehner and Cantor and McCarthy) had no way to lure Tea Party freshmen into voting the way the party leadership wanted them to... leading to one of the most legislatively-unproductive Congresses in American history, with the House passing only some 90 bills.

Draper periodically opens chapters with entertaining stories from Congresses of previous centuries that were mired in partisan deadlocks. The historical perspective is reassuring: there is nothing new under the sun in politics.

If the book were three times longer I would have enjoyed it three times as much. I couldn't get enough of this inside look at the sausage-making process.
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100 of 112 people found the following review helpful
Bashing Congress is hardly new, as Robert Draper quickly points out. Complaints from within and without date back to the early days of our Republic and certainly everything here is hardly a newsflash from a Congress that not only has the lowest public opinion in history, but seems hell bent on driving it still further downwards. Dysfunctional Congresses and partisan politics are likewise nothing new, but what is stunning is the access that Draper is given by members of the 112th Congress and that Draper is willing to serve it up, warts and all. Most reporters and members of the media are so timid and afraid of saying what is REALLY going on out of fear that their access to politicians will be cut off. As a result they apparently willingly acquiesce and will only cite "unnamed sources" or will heavily water down what true news they do report so as not to offend. That is NOT the case with Draper as he names names and says what was really going on behind the scenes during the current (112th) Congress, some of which points out why opinion polls rank them so poorly. Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat you'll find much to agree with and much that will shock you as politicians in both parties come off very badly.

Some of the shots Draper takes are obvious ones, like the idiotic hubris of Rep. Anthony Weiner, who got what he deserved. Draper skewers Weiner ruthlessly here and takes no prisoners on either side of the aisle. Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi is revealed as despised by members of her own party for forcing unpopular votes on vulnerable members in the 111th Congress that cost many their seats in the 2010 elections. President Obama comes in for criticism from congressmen for his unwillingness to lead or to use his political capital to advance causes near and dear to his heart.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An easy read.
It gives solid portraits of the "first generation" of Tea Party Representatives, some of whom have moved up in political influence since the publication of this book, as... Read more
Published 2 months ago by S. M.Silver
5.0 out of 5 stars Proof of Treason?
Maybe. Republican leaders deciding on the very day of his inauguration to do everything possible to make this Democratic President look like a failure, despite the damage to the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Simon Willams
1.0 out of 5 stars What is the Title of the book?
When you select the Kindle edition it changes the title of the book to "When the Tea Party came to town". Are there two different books?
Published 2 months ago by Seattle Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Peels Back the Curtain
This book is a tremendous behind the scenes look at the inner workings of the 112th Congress. It is packed with a tremendous amount of information and great stories. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Inside look at the US House of Representatives, with no real political lean. Draper predicts the Cantor McCarthy dynamic perfectly.
Published 3 months ago by Dimitri mcdaniel
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring Book!
Most boring book I've ever read. I kept thinking there would be something worth while in it, but it never happened.
Published 8 months ago by D P Werner
4.0 out of 5 stars Do not ask what good we do. Appropriate epitath of the U.S. Congress...
I enjoyed the book, but would have preferred some suggestions from the author as to how to improve the performance of the People's House and the supervisory Senate. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Terry Jennrich
5.0 out of 5 stars Dead on, informative, and impartial.
Objective reporting and impartial inference at its finest. Robert Draper gains incredible access and offer penetrating insight into a subject that, at the time of this book's... Read more
Published 10 months ago by drober15
5.0 out of 5 stars And America sleeps not knowing to wake up
why our congress is in such trouble, and the people don't matter. this exposes the fallacy of our 2 party system and why it is not working for the people. Read more
Published 10 months ago by mark h. johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Eye Opener
Very well written and thought provoking. Takes a lot of patience not to fly into a rage. Hard to put down. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Woseiay
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More About the Author

Robert Draper has been a national correspondent for GQ magazine for the past decade, and prior to that was senior editor at Texas Monthly. He lives in Washington, D.C. He is author of a novel, Hadrian's Walls (Knopf), and the biography Rolling Stone Magazine: The Uncensored History.


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