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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

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Length: 352 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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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

Review

“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

  • File Size: 987 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Publication Date: April 24, 2012
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005FLPM0W
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #376,440 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Steve Wainstead on 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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Allison on December 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first heard about this book after an interview with the author on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I was intrigued by Stewart's comment about politicians being "real people" and decided that I should read the book. I must admit, it was really good. Given, it was good in a, "now I am frightened about the state of our country" way, but it was still good. The book mostly follows the Republican/Tea Party freshman that were voted into office during the 2010 midterm elections.

I enjoyed it because it offered some insight about a select few individuals that helped me to understand why they do and vote the way that they do. Granted, what they do isn't effective nor efficient (as illustrated by the book), but it offers insight nonetheless. The book has a liberal slant at times, but for the most part it stays pretty middle of the road and keeps the reader interested. This book had the potential to be very dry, but the author has a way of telling the stories that keeps the reader engaged from start to finish.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mekoche on May 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Draper gives some minor background on house players then takes us in close to see the 112th House of Representatives warts and all. He reveals the way the house changed from a functioning body of deal makers to a frozen bureaucracy. Special attention is given to the 2010 freshmen who pushed the nation to default on it's obligations. This book makes an excellent study of the House of Representatives but leaves one yearning for more on the other branches of government and how they functioned as the house broke down in 2010.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By cicadian on May 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
An insightful and fascinating look into one of our most sacred institutions.
Required reading for Americans of all political stripes who truly wish to understand how this particular branch of our government functions (or in some cases doesn't) and how individuals we elect approach and drive the legislative process. One of the best non-fiction books I have personally read in quite some time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By drober15 on November 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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 release, had been done to death. There are no shots taken in this book–this is not a "hit job" or a work of "hackery", in fact, I find myself sympathizing with–or even liking–several people with whom I rarely, if ever agree.
It is definitely worth mentioning that whatever one's political views, this book will absolutely inform you as to what the politicians covered here are guided by.
Perhaps the most outstanding fact about this book is that usually, when these sorts of 'inside baseball' accounts come out, every political figure in the index has their press shops write up a press release refuting every last detail that mentions them. That did not happen with this book.
Embarrassing (in my view) revelations about the inauguration night dinner where Republican luminaries all got together to map out a four-year plan of abject obstruction were never denied by the people he claims were in attendance. In fact, it appears that many of them cooperated with this reporting by either corroborating events or giving their personal views on them.

In short, Draper nails it. Whatever your political persuasion, you should read this book if you want to understand today's political atmosphere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JD on February 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As someone who lives and breaths politics, this in-depth look into the 112th congress was jaw dropping. The detail in which Draper goes into when describing how amazingly dysfunctional this congress was is frightening. If you enjoy reading about or want to know more about the inner workers of the House of Representatives, then this is a must read.

One word of caution: there were several times I had to put the book down for a few days or weeks because when you read about the utter absurdity of some of the stories Draper recounts, it really left me jaded and endlessly frustrated that our government could possibly be that much of a total failure. Point being, it can be a bit depressing if you're unable to disassociate yourself from the accounts retold.
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