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It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism by [Thomas E. Mann, Norman J. Ornstein]
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It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism Kindle Edition

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Editorial Reviews

Review

More than any time in my lifetime, the United States is challenged at home and so is our place in the world. When Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein get together to sound a loud alarm about the way our political system is being torn apart, it's time to listen -- and listen hard. Then the tough part -- how do we restore some sense of common purpose, of working together to make our government work? Mann and Ornstein set out ways to rebuild political bridges, beginning right now. We better get to work. -- Paul A. Volcker, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve

This is an exceptionally important and cogent analysis of America's breakdown in self-governance. It is an urgent warning of the consequences of our intolerant politics and governing paralysis, and ways to fix it. -- Chuck Hagel, U.S. Senator (1997-2009), Distinguished Professor, Georgetown University

One doesn't have to agree with every one of Mann and Ornstein's proposals to appreciate the extraordinary contribution to improving governance that they make in this important book. We could do no better than to use it as a compelling blueprint for urgently needed reform. If every member of Congress would read just one book on the subject, my wish is that it would be this one. -- Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader

The phrase essential reading does not begin to get at the importance of this passionate warning by two of our very best political scientists about our nation's capacity to govern itself. Mann and Ornstein sweep aside the timid conventional wisdom to inform Americans that our problems are even worse than we think they are. It is absolutely vital that this book's findings and message enter the consciousness and consciences of journalists, politicians and citizens who care about the future of our republic. -- E. J. Dionne, author of Our Divided Political Heart

In It's Even Worse Than It Looks, Mann and Ornstein diagnose the roots of our nation's new legislative order. In doing so, they draw attention to the forces holding back America's future and the changes we must make in order to overcome them. -- William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd President of the United States of America

Reading this book is a little like quaffing a double espresso on an empty stomach -- it's a jolt. For this reader it was a welcome jolt. . . . Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein have been Washington fixtures for three decades. They are two of the brightest, best informed and most scholarly students of our politics. . . . [As] Mann and Ornstein document so vividly, at a time when only good government could help us rediscover our footing as a nation, our Grand Old Party defines itself as the party of anti-government. This is why the title of this book is so good: Our situation really is even worse than it looks. -- Robert G. Kaiser, Washington Post

The Congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein have been making waves with a new book acknowledging a truth that, until now, was unmentionable in polite circles. They say our political dysfunction is largely because of the transformation of the Republican Party into an extremist force that is ''dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.'' You can't get cooperation to serve the national interest when one side of the divide sees no distinction between the national interest and its own partisan triumph. -- Paul Krugman, New York Times

[It] is encouraging to see two longtime Washington wise men -- Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, sensible, nonpartisan scholars andimpeccably credentialed authors of good advice that no one ever follows -- come out with a full-blown polemic against the Republicans who have steered Congress off a cliff. --Timothy Egan, New York Times

Two of the most sage politics watchers of our time are congressional scholars Norm Ornstein of the (mainly conservative) American Enterprise Institute and Thomas Mann of the (more Democratic than not) Brookings Institution. Together they've written and just released a book called It's Even Worse Than It Looks. It is about our broken, dysfunctional, nonfunctioning partisan political system. . . . When and if voters learn to think strategically and reward problem solving, the American impasse might end. If they punish rather than reward obstruction, the blood of American democracy might start flowing once more. -- Bonnie Erbe, Scripps Howard News Service

Something awful happened on the way to the 21st Century. This should have been the new American century, but by the time the Republican Party got through with us, we were a country, battered, on its knees, reeling from the body blows. . . . Just out and stirring up debate... [It's Even Worse Than It Looks] confronts our uniquely American problem head on. -- Catherine Poe, Washington Times Ad Lib Blog

[T]wo respected centrist scholars, Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann, have written a book that moves past the bland and lazy conventional wisdom. They argue, with a truckload of evidence, that the blame in Washington lies overwhelmingly with Republicans. . . . .Our national politics has turned a strange corner. And it is a cop-out to say that both parties are equally to blame. Strained attempts to be even-handed distort the reality we face. . . . The book is titled It's Even Worse Than It Looks and it is both fascinating and alarming. -- Tom Moran, New Jersey Star Ledger

[It's Even Worse Than It Looks has] blown the lid off the usually staid and predictable world of political punditry. -- Michael Brissenden, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Mann and Ornstein are among the brightest and best informed political scientists in the country. . . . [T]his book really is a must read for anyone who cares about what is happening to this country. --Barrie Dunsmor, Barre-Montpelier Times Argus (Barre-Montpelier, VT)

What happens to a two-party political system when one party goes mad? That is the question posed in a powerful and angry new book by two scholars at two respected think-tanks, Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution and Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute. -- The Economist

Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and Thomas Mann of Brookings are highly respected analysts. . . . Coming from them, the claim that the American system is even worse than it looks deserves to be taken with the utmost seriousness. . . . Mann and Ornstein provide one of the most careful, forensic accounts so far of how Congress has worked in these conditions. They are also astonishingly frank about what they think of the Republican Party and about the media. -- The Economist, Lexington Notebook Blog

Written by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, two long-time Congressional scholars, It's Even Worse Than It Looks fillets the traditional media for perpetuating a principle of false equivalence in its coverage of the two parties, the effect of which, they say, has merely masked the GOP s unalloyed march toward the fringes of the right wing. . . . Insightful. -- Eric Alterman, TheNation.com

We now have history's first draft of the story of this Congress. There is so much political fog right now that it is hard to get a clear view of the reason for the dysfunction on Capitol Hill. But three new books take a step back to get a clear look at the fray, and all three conclude that no-holds-barred, right-wing politics is to be blamed. . . . Mann and Ornstein paint sad pictures of a House Republican Conference that is more loyal to party than to country and intentionally crippling Congress at a time when the country faces unusually serious problems and grave threats. -- Juan Williams, The Hill

[A] compelling analysis of the gridlock that characterizes America s domestic politics. -- R. Garrett Mitchell, The Mitchell Report

[W]hat we have here is a group of respected, credible, inside-the-beltway establishment types who are now willing to acknowledge what is plainly true: Republican extremism has no modern precedent, and it making governing and policymaking nearly impossible, even during times of crises despite the demands that Very Serious People agree that both sides are always to blame for everything in all instances. Indeed, they're making these pronouncements in a surprising, matter-of-fact sort of way. Here's hoping other respected, credible, inside-the-beltway establishment types feel emboldened to be equally candid about reality. -- Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, MSNBC

[An] excellent book that... may have an impact on the 2012 campaign. . . . [It] should be read by every progressive. It's not going to change many progressive minds, but it deepens our perspective on the history of this and the political science perspectives involved. . . . That is one of the keys to the brilliance of this book...Buy the book. Pass it around. Spread the word. Our nation has a crisis in Congress worse than anything we've seen in 150 years. The sooner more of us recognize that, the sooner we can get to work on solutions that are appropriate to the problem. --The Daily Kos --This text refers to the audioCD edition.

About the Author

Thomas E. Mann is the W. Averell Harriman Chair and senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution. He is a former executive director of the American Political Science Association. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

Norman J. Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also the author of a weekly column for Roll Call called ''Congress Inside Out.'' He lives in Washington, DC.

--This text refers to the audioCD edition.

Product details

  • Publisher : Basic Books; 1st Edition (April 5, 2016)
  • ASIN : B01AFE3ABQ
  • Publication Date : April 5, 2016
  • File Size : 830 KB
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print Length : 242 pages
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Language: : English
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN : 0465031331
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 462 ratings