I saw this book in my peripheral political vision, and originally thought "Ho hum. Perennial talking head Norman Ornstein and someone else, saying again how Congress is broken."
But then I read this absolutely great review of the book by Kevin Drum in The Washington Monthly (hmm, not available online).
It basically said: Whatever you think about the breakdown of effectiveness in Congress -- even with complete Republican control of all branches of government -- you're aiming too low. It's way worse than you think, and then that's only the tip of the iceberg.
I didn't realize that the last five years have seen the Republican congressional leadership totally wipe out the intention to govern at all. It's a total abdication of leadership and responsibility from one of the great legislative traditions in the history of humanity. It's like the end of the American experiment. This is a total scandal. I can't wait to read this book.
From the middle of the review:
"If that were all, though, it would be a mild problem, not a crisis. But it's only the tip of the iceberg, and Mann and Ornstein document a litany of abuses so excruciating that their reaction to the impeachment debacle of 1998 is this 'We didn't think they could sink any lower. We were wrong.'
Examples abound. Minority Democrats are routinely given only hours to read the text of thousand page bills before they're brought up for a vote. Conference committees are stacked exclusively with friendly members. Oversight comittees lie dormant and cabinet secretaries treat congressional inquiries with open contempt. Lobbying and pork-barrel spending are at record highs."
And it goes on and on. And that's just the review!