Spoiled Rotten: How the Politics of Patronage Corrupted the Once Noble Democratic Party and Now Threatens the American Republic

Spoiled Rotten: How the Politics of Patronage Corrupted the Once Noble Democratic Party and Now Threatens the American Republic

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by Jay Cost
     
 

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A popular columnist for The Weekly Standard, conservative journalist Jay Cost now offers a lively, candid, diligently researched revisionist history of the Democratic Party. In Spoiled Rotten, Cost reveals that the national political organization, first formed by Andrew Jackson in 1824, that has always prided itself as the party of the poor, the

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Overview

A popular columnist for The Weekly Standard, conservative journalist Jay Cost now offers a lively, candid, diligently researched revisionist history of the Democratic Party. In Spoiled Rotten, Cost reveals that the national political organization, first formed by Andrew Jackson in 1824, that has always prided itself as the party of the poor, the working class, the little guy is anything but that—rather, it’s a corrupt tool of special interest groups that feed off of the federal government. A remarkable book that belongs on every politically aware American’s bookshelf next to Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism and The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes, Spoiled Rotten exposes the Democratic Party as a modern-day national Tammany Hall and indisputably demonstrates why it can no longer be trusted with the power of government.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
According to conservative Weekly Standard columnist Cost, clientelism is “the exchange of votes for governmental favors between a faction and a party,” and Democrats have signed on so many hungry mouths that demands for “gimme” have overwhelmed the public interest. In this revisionist history, Cost convincingly argues that, in striving to revive the national economy, FDR’s administration created a “Tammany on the Potomac,” which attracted elements of the ruling coalition to “the private benefits they enjoyed from the party’s benevolent protections.” Ironically, Cost says, although Andrew Jackson founded the Democratic Party in 1828 in reaction to rampant government corruption, modern Democrats evoke nothing so much as the venal Republicans of the Gilded Age, and they are “no longer capable of governing for the public good.” Cost suggests that the party has “become a threat to the American republic itself.” The book raises timely concerns in an election year. Agent: Byrd Leavell, Waxman Literary Agency. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
Weekly Standard blogger Cost examines what he sees as the dangerous domination of the Democratic Party by special interests. The author looks at how Democratic presidents have handled various groups in the party coalition, including African-Americans, unions, feminists and environmentalists. He argues that Democratic presidents have long catered to such groups with expensive programs, to the detriment of "the public interest"--a practice that has made the party "a threat to the American republic itself." His historical overview is wide-ranging, extensively researched and often engagingly written, but readers who don't share Cost's conservative outlook will not be won over. Often, he seems to conflate "the public interest" with right-leaning policies. He lauds President Clinton for pursuing goals that liberal groups disliked, such as welfare reform and the North American Free Trade Agreement, while deriding Clinton's attempt to allow gays to serve openly in the military as a mere sop to a Democratic constituency. The author also roundly criticizes Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson, who shepherded especially large government programs. But Cost saves his harshest words for President Obama, who he claims has "focused relentlessly upon the interests of the party clients over the public good." In particular, the author characterizes the president's health-care reform policies as a massive handout to left-leaning special interests. It is interesting to note that some members of these same groups regularly criticize Obama for not being liberal enough, a fact Cost does not explore. He also doesn't address how Republican Party policies have been influenced by its own coalition groups, which would make for an informative comparison. An impassioned argument that will only appeal to a conservative audience.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062041159
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/15/2012
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
935,591
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.06(h) x 1.21(d)

Meet the Author

Jay Cost writes the twice-weekly "Morning Jay" column for the Weekly Standard and was previously a writer for RealClearPolitic and a popular political blogger. Cost received a BA in government from the University of Virginia and an MA in political science from the University of Chicago. He lives in Pennsylvania.

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