The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted

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The New York Times bestselling exposé of what passes for business as usual in Washington today

There was a time, not so very long ago, when perfectly rational people ran the Republican Party. So how did the party of Lincoln become the party of lunatics? That is what this book aims to answer. Fear not, the Dems come in for their share of tough talk— they are zombies, a party of the living dead.

Mike Lofgren came to Washington in the early ...

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The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted

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Overview

The New York Times bestselling exposé of what passes for business as usual in Washington today

There was a time, not so very long ago, when perfectly rational people ran the Republican Party. So how did the party of Lincoln become the party of lunatics? That is what this book aims to answer. Fear not, the Dems come in for their share of tough talk— they are zombies, a party of the living dead.

Mike Lofgren came to Washington in the early eighties—those halcyon, post–Nixonian glory days—for what he imagined would be a short stint on Capitol Hill. He has witnessed quite a few low points in his twenty-eight years on the Hill—but none quite so pitiful as the antics of the current crop of legislators whom we appear to have elected.

Based on the explosive article Lofgren wrote when he resigned in disgust after the debt ceiling crisis, The Party Is Over is a funny and impassioned exposé of everything that is wrong with Washington. Obama and his tired cohorts are no angels but they have nothing on the Republicans, whose wily strategists are bankrupting the country one craven vote at a time. Be prepared for some fireworks.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
…[a] fast-moving, hard-hitting, dryly witty…account of the radicalization of [Lofgren's] party, the failures of Democratic rivals and the appalling consequences for the country at large…it is forceful, convincing and seductive enough to prompt one to follow along, even when the intellectual terrain begins to look familiar.
—Colin Woodard
Publishers Weekly
Lofgren expands his much-read article, “Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult” (originally published on the site Truthout) into a book-length scrupulously bipartisan diagnosis of the sick state of American politics and governance. The former congressional staffer saves the greater part of his bile for his former party, which he sees as having become inflexibly ideological and devoted to its richest contributors’ interests. Lofgren makes sure, however, to blast President Obama and his fellow Democrats for the same bad habits, primarily belligerence, disregard for privacy, and compliance with lobbyists. The general points are familiar, but Lofgren offers ideas drawn from a career in government dating back to the early 1980s. Nostalgic memories of now-striking examples of bipartisan cooperation join damning moments, like a Republican policymaker’s admission that the party aimed to obstruct the Senate for political gain. Lofgren offsets occasional cheap shots, such as against “Gucci-shod” lobbyists, by devoting close attention to budget issues rarely accorded so much detail in garden-variety op-ed warfare. Sustaining his original thesis well beyond Internet-browsing attention spans, Lofgren has crafted an angry but clear-sighted argument that may not sit well at family reunions or dinner parties, but deserves attention. Agent: Bridget Wagner Matzie, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Agency. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Lofgren, a Republican who worked as a Congressional staffer for 28 years, made news in September 2011 when he angrily quit over the debt ceiling crisis. He's critical of Democrats but saves his real bashing for Republicans, whom he called lunatics in a Truthout piece that got so many hits so fast that the site crashed.
Kirkus Reviews
Lofgren draws on 28 years as a professional staff member in Congress to expose deep, disturbing trends in Washington. "Creative and constructive work is always harder than demagoguery or fear-mongering," writes the author. "We have had too little of the former and too much of the latter during recent decades." Lofgren tears into Congress' "high measure of low cunning," especially among Republicans, whose use of "political terrorism" illustrates the party's principal objectives: delay and gridlock, obstruction and disruption. They consistently play to their base but with no positive workable agenda, and the cries for a reduction of the debt are often followed by the desperate need to increase defense spending. Lofgren astutely points out that defense spending is the personification of inefficient spending, and it creates no jobs. As "chicken hawks" play to the crowd and their fears of illegal aliens, drug wars and terrorists, talk-show personalities stir up the more radical elements until rational thought can no longer be found. The author distinctly lays the blame for the current situation at the feet of the Bush/Cheney administration, which nearly perfected the propaganda with the War on Terror, the Patriot Act and Homeland Security. Lofgren certainly doesn't excuse Democrats, who often fail to offer a good alternative; plus, they lack the fanatics that drive the far right. President Obama must also assume responsibility for continuing some of the more heinous practices of the Bush administration, though the author neglects to mention the fact that the obstructionist Congress has thwarted him at every turn. A well-argued call for more sanity in American politics.
From the Publisher
"Lofgren has crafted an angry but clear-sighted argument that may not sit well at family reunions or dinner parties, but deserves attention." —-Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670026265
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/2/2012
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mike Lofgren spent twenty-eight years working in Congress, the last sixteen as a senior analyst on the House and Senate Budget committees, which gave him ringside seats on TARP, Hurricane Katrina disaster relief, debates on the Pentagon budget and the amazing antics of various deficit–reduction commissions. He holds two degrees in history and received a Fulbright scholarship. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 The Party of Lincoln, the Party of Jefferson 9

2 Tactics: War Minus the Shooting 25

3 All Wrapped Up in the Constitution 44

4 A Devil's Dictionary 55

5 Taxes and the Rich 67

6 Worshipping at the Altar of Mars 85

7 Media Complicity 112

8 Give Me that Old-Time Religion 128

9 No Eggheads Wanted 144

10 A Low Dishonest Decade 165

11 Are The Democrats Any Better? 189

12 A Way Out? 200

Acknowledgments 219

Notes 221

Index 229

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 11, 2012

    If I could give it 6 stars, I would! A MUST READ, especially now.

    More than any other recent 'political' book, I found Lofgren's book to be especially relevant right now, before the election in November. If you are looking for an even-handed account of how we got to the point we are at as a nation, read this book. Period.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2012

    We laugh because it's funny; we cry because it's true

    Recently, Mr. Lofgren appeared on the Charlie Rose program in an indepth interview. I found Lofgren to be a wry insightful intellectual with something important to say, and saying very well. From inside the Beltway, finally someone 'socks it to 'em'. Will Rogers, America's great satirist said, "We've got the best politicians that money can buy", and Lofgren lifts the skirts of our bellacose politicans. There is nothing really wrong with the ship, it's just the disgusting people who are running, sic. 'ruining', the ship these days. I'm 65, majored in political science and economics, and my old econ professor, Walter Heller, predicted this was coming in 1965! Read his, "New Dimensions of Political Economy". Not as tragicomedic as Lofgren's work, but worthy of any person interested in where we might be headed. Into that cold dark night. Rage, rage.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Vtial Reading

    A polemical but thoughtfully accurate take on the collapse of the major parties in the United States by Mike Lofgren is a treasure. Mr. Lofgren is someone close to the subject, intellectually capable, and wise. Combined with several other recent works about politics is America, it is vital reading. Mr. Lofgren trained as a historian. His writing is fresh, lucid, and comprehensive.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    Informative collection.

    Here are all the things that have bothered you about politics but you were unable to put a name to it. Here it is defined, listed and exposed. I found this an intelligent assessment.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    Must read

    Highly recommend. Very timely.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2012

    Great title, disappointing book

    While I find that the subtitle perfectly describes how I feel about both parties, it fails to fulfill its promise of describing how the parties reached their current state of disfunction. Rather it is one long cliched gripe that basically just repeats common critticisms discussed daily in the news media. I also must ask why the author finds only economic issues as important and views social issues as mere distractions and why he blames only the Republican party for using those issues to distract from what he views as important when both parties use their stand on social issues to attract voters.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    Highly recommended

    Mr. Lofgren hits the proverbial nail on the head over and over in his current book. A lifelong Republican, i switched my allegiance several years ago and registered Independent for many of the reasons he cites in his book. While I feel he could have been a bit rougher on the Democrats, I still think the book is a must read-especially for the younger members of our electorate. I took issue with just a few of his comments about the military. Not about military brass, more about our soldiers and their families who are asked to jump on a constantly revolving platform that has them home for shorter and shorter periods, putting them back into harm's way, leaving families behind and coming back broken in body and spirit. We give as generously as we can afford to The Wounded Warrior Project and Homes For Our Troops because our men and women come back with serious physical challenges and receive all too little support from Uncle Sam. Mr. Lofgren seems to suggest that soldiers and their families receive too much in the way of "retirement" and other monies. I would agree that changes have to be made in that area because we can no longer support the generous 20 year retirement option, but to suggest that the change needs to be made for those who have retired and have long lived on that promise seems to me to be a bit over the top. I have no problem with means testing, nor do I have a problem with enforcing the law that keeps top brass from leaving the military one week and becoming lobbyists and high paid consultants the next week. He does not seem to have an answer to the question of recruitment given a severely diminished salary/healthcare option. I was most impressed with his suggestions for the future. If we're going to fix the mess our government is in, many of the fixes are laid out in that section of the book and are worth serious consideration.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2012

    Informative, fast read

    It's always fun (and kind of depressing) to read something from a Washington insider. The 'conservative glossary' was hilarious! Highly recommended, 4.5 stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2013

    Great book.

    Anyone who still believes one party is better than the other really needs to read this book! Fascinating and scary at the same time. It cuts through all those that only listen for talking points, and provokes readers to question politicians and what (more like "who") they are for. Interesting having an insider's view of all the BS that politicians think we believe from them. Sad that many still do.

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  • Posted April 20, 2013

    Recommended only moderately.

    Not very well documended and wandered from subject to subject.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    SONG REQUEST ROOM!

    Request songsm

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    SONG REQUEST ROOM

    Tell the DJ your favorite song & he will play it for you.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 25, 2012

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