Making Government Work: Lessons from a Life in Politics

Overview

"Performance is better than promise" has long been the motto of Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings, a former Governor of South Carolina and six-term U.S. Senator whose distinguished political career speaks volumes about the potential of the elected and the electorate to use government for the good of all. Making Government Work serves as equal parts political memoir and reform-minded call to action as Hollings shares compelling—and often candidly colorful—accounts from his half century of public service to illustrate the smart stewardship of resources ...
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Overview

"Performance is better than promise" has long been the motto of Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings, a former Governor of South Carolina and six-term U.S. Senator whose distinguished political career speaks volumes about the potential of the elected and the electorate to use government for the good of all. Making Government Work serves as equal parts political memoir and reform-minded call to action as Hollings shares compelling—and often candidly colorful—accounts from his half century of public service to illustrate the smart stewardship of resources and authority needed to enact policies that can make positive differences in the lives of Americans.

Hollings lays out clearly his deep commitment to improving our system of government, strengthening regulations on free trade, countering dependence on campaign contributions, and enhancing our communications and education programs to compete better in an information-driven global marketplace. This prescriptive compendium of sound thinking seeks to reinvigorate a floundering system and to call good people and good ideas back into the service of America's bright future.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Thorough memoir makes brisk work of former South Carolina Senator Hollings's five decades of public service. The author barely touches on his early years growing up in Charleston, attending The Citadel, serving in World War II and completing law school. "Instead of writing an autobiography," he explains, "I tell a story of how government once worked and can be made to work again." First elected to the South Carolina state legislature in 1948, Hollings moved on to become the state's governor in 1959. He pushed for a sales tax to boost education needs and delicately straddled the line between segregationists and integrationists amid the fallout from Brown v. Board of Education. (He ensured that black student Harvey Gantt was safely admitted to Clemson College without calling in federal marshals.) Hollings's aggressive attempts to bring big business to South Carolina and his close ties with the Kennedys both worked against him in an increasingly conservative (and decreasingly Democratic) state, and he lost a bid for re-election. However, in 1966 he filled out rival Olin Johnston's Senate term and was re-elected in 1968. Trips to Southeast Asia opened his eyes to the mistake America was making in trying to "build and destroy a nation at the same time"; the government is using the same "wrongheaded strategy" today in Iraq, Hollings believes. Some of the highlights of his career: the valiant but failed attempt to get South Carolina judge Clement Haynsworth appointed to the Supreme Court; early progress on environmental issues and campaign-reform measures; The Case Against Hunger, a 1970 book rallying against poverty in his state; advocacy of a balanced budget and spending reductions thatculminated in the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act of 1986; and opposition to NAFTA. In his substantial final chapter, Hollings hectors against the evils of "free trade" and offers a cohesive litany of ways to "rebuild" the United States. A sound account of a half-century's functioning of the legislature.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570037603
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 6/18/2008
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,040,026
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings has enjoyed a remarkable career in public service as a South Carolina legislator (1949–1954), Lieutenant Governor (1955–1959), Governor (1959–1963), U.S. Senator (1966–2005), and U.S. presidential candidate (1983–1984). A visionary workhorse, Hollings has focused throughout his career on putting government on a sound financial basis and promoting economic development to create opportunities. Recognized as a policy expert on the budget, telecommunications, the environment, defense, trade, and space, he is the author of the Coastal Zone Management Act (1972), the Ocean Dumping Act (1972), and the Automobile Fuel Economy Act (1975) and coauthor of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Act (1985). Hollings led in the creation of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children in 1972 and passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Kirk Victor covers the U.S. Senate for the National Journal and was part of a reporting team that won a National Headliner Award in 2005 for coverage of Congress. A native of Savannah, Georgia, Victor has a law degree from the Antioch School of Law and an M.S. degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1 The Accidental Politician 7

2 Taking Charge as Governor 42

3 Getting to Know the Kennedys 84

4 Getting Started in the Senate 111

5 Clement Haynsworth's Nomination to the Supreme Court 141

6 The Early Fight to Protect the Environment 151

7 The Supreme Court Corrupts Congress 159

8 Imperial Nixon, Cautious Ford 170

9 The Carter Years: A Time of Big Battles 181

10 The Assault on Government 201

11 Attacking the Excesses of Reaganomics 214

12 Missed Opportunities 231

13 The Early 1990s: From Budget Battles to Trade Wars 246

14 Protecting the Public Interest 266

15 The George W. Bush Years: Reckless Policies Divide the Country 277

16 Making Government Work 304

Notes 333

Index 345

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