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Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day: The Real Deal on How Politicians, Bureaucrats, and Other Washington Barbarians are Bankrupting America Hardcover – September 7, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Elected to Congress in 1994 as a Contract with America revolutionary, Scarborough spent six years representing the Florida panhandle, and currently hosts the MSNBC political talk show Scarborough Country. His book is part memoir, part political treatise that purports to explain how various "Washington barbarians" are bankrupting America. Full of partisan and reformer zeal, the freshman class of 1994 set out on its crusade to reform Congress and reduce government spending. However, the crusaders met their Saladin in President Clinton and his skillful use of the veto pen. The House freshmen were further disillusioned when their leadership opted for compromise rather than continued confrontation following the government shutdown in 1995. Scarborough bitterly compares the Republican leadership to the pigs in George Orwell's Animal Farm—indistinguishable from the corrupt Democratic bosses they had ousted. His account of the Republican Congress is well told from the perspective of the House freshmen, but Scarborough never asks the hard questions about why the Gingrich Republicans became so unpopular with voters. Similarly, the book's promise to reveal the "real deal" about why government spending continues to rise, is nothing more than the revelation that interest groups, lobbyists and politicians collude on government spending because it is in their mutual self-interest.
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“Joe is a refreshingly independent thinker and straight talker.” (Senator John McCain)

“A strong, independent voice...[a] hard-hitting collection of revelations.” (Mario M. Cuomo)

“Scarborough pulls no punches.” (Daily News)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition (stated) edition (September 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060749849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060749842
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,448,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Buckstein on September 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It isn't often that one runs into a former member of Congress willing to criticize his own political party and most of its current office holders, including a sitting President of the United States. But that's just what Joe Scarborough does in this book.

He laments that Republicans are not the party of Reagan anymore. Both major parties demand allegiance to their platforms before their principles. Government grows at the expense of citizen's wallets and personal freedoms. These and other pithy statements fill this book.

He explains how, after Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, party leaders eventually "began buying votes and building a patronage system by spending other people's money - specifically yours and mine." Sending pork home was one of the best ways to insure reelection.

Scarborough is especially shocked and saddened that "while New York and Washington were still burning, congressmen and senators added pork projects for their home districts onto an emergency spending bill aimed at September 11th relief needs."

While he is critical of Democrats and Republicans, he reminds the reader that most Democrats never promised to cut spending and taxes. Most Republicans did, making their sell-out even more offensive.

Beside the massive spending spree, the book discusses such moral efforts as defense of marriage and character education in schools. Adding federally mandated student testing, Scarborough asks the "conservative moralists" if they "really believe Republicans will run the White House forever? Or do they simply plan to resume their assaults on the socialization of education when Democrats retake the White House?"

The book was obviously written and edited quickly to come out before the November elections.
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Format: Hardcover
Joe Scarborough is about the only honorable conservative pundit on TV or radio these, in my opinion. People from all ideologies can't help but respect his fairness and honesty in promoting the common good even if his beliefs on ideology conflict with some. He never loses sight of common sense and spares no one...not even his own party when it comes to corruption. His book is no exception.

As a regular viewer of his show, I looked forward to reading the gory details of the circus in Washington. Scarborough shows early and often what his deepest, most passionate hatred is about Washington: wastful, irresponsible pork barrel spending. The examples of wastful spending in Congress is apalling. The bribes, payoffs and hypocracy and corruption is enraging. His story of how he got into Congress is inspiring for anyone thinking of running for a House Seat. His accounts of what Washington is like just screams reform. And his suggestions are lucid and practical and should go into practice.

The detailed blame he puts on his own party for the astronomical and dangerous deficits accumulated over the past 4 years of GOP-controlled Washington is shocking. The two-faced, self serving image he paints on most people in Washington would make almost anyone vote their congressman and senator OUT of office.

Great book for reform advocates and honest people. We are not alone. Joe is on OUR side.

About the only drawback in my opinion is the partisanship tainted throughout the book. Although he's mad at his party leaders, he still aplogizes for his party by saying where it should be. Angry, honest Democrats and Liberals could say the same thing. His dismissal of Dem's as inherently bad and critique of Repub's as acting like Dem's is biased.
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Format: Hardcover
Joe Scarborough has written an extremely good book about the operation of our government in quite a candid way. Given his own background as a Congressman during the Gingrich era, and his political affiliations, one cannot complete this book and not call Scarborough a true patriot. He kept his word and served in the House with integrity. A rare breed these days, unfortunately, and he makes no secret of his disapproval for the way Washington is currently operating.

He makes it quite clear that the Republican Party is no longer standing by its own ideological beliefs, but rather is spending astronomical amounts of money to fund programs which are not truly benefitting the American public. Too much pork-barreling is happening, as well as too much backscratching. Scarborough was one man who tried to make a difference, but the numbers clearly overpowered him. The lobbyists, the powerhouses on the Hill, and all those affiliated with special interest groups are the ones really running America.

We need more Joe Scarboroughs in Congress. The more people we can get, who recognize and live up to their duties as legislators, then perhaps the better a chance we stand in turning our country around for the better.

It's actually quite scary, to not really know what back door deals are being brokered in the congresspeople's self-interest of being re-elected. I think all of our legislators need to read this book, and as a supplement, watch "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" as a refresher for being a honest and admirable public servant.
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