Life in the Marble Palace: In Praise of Folly

Life in the Marble Palace: In Praise of Folly

by Honorable Clifford B. Stearns

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940157520793
Publisher: FriesenPress
Publication date: 12/21/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 798,862
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Cliff Stearns is an Executive Director based in APCO Worldwide’s Washington, DC, office and serves as a member of APCO’s International Advisory Council. Recently he was elected President of the United States Association of Former Members of Congress (USAFMC). He is a former Member of Congress for Florida’s 6th district, where he gained extensive experience in telecommunications, technology, cybersecurity and international trade during his twenty-four years of service. Congressman Stearns was also a business owner of motels and restaurants before being elected to Congress. As chair of the Energy & Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, he helped increase transparency in the federal government and led the Solyndra investigation. Congressman Stearns served as the Republican leader on the Communications, Technology and Internet Subcommittee and was chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, where he enacted consumer privacy and data security legislation. He is a graduated of the George Washington University with a degree in electrical engineering. He was a captain in the United States Air Force and served four years as an aerospace project engineer providing satellite reconnaissance of Vietnam. He was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for distinguished service and meritorious achievement and later, as a Congressman, received the Air Force Association W. Stuart Symington Award, the highest honor presented to a civilian in the field of national security. Mr. Stearns lives in Ocala, Florida, with his wife Joan. He and Joan have three grown sons.

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Life in the Marble Palace: In Praise of Folly 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Former Congressman Sterns writes an excellent assessment of the foibles of the Congressional life, the frustrations and the lack of ethics and integrity that he experienced during his many years on the hill. He elaborates on the corruption he saw, misuse of public funds, the consequences of the national debt and other tragedies that are destroying our government. Unlike other Capitol Hill exposés, he gives us a counter-proposal and suggestions on what needs to be done to solve the current futility of partisanship that is blocking Republicans and Democrats from working together. His spiritual and philosophical insights are profound, timely and useful. This book should be required reading for all current legislators including our President as well as all those hoping to work in the political arena in the future. He is a prophetic "voice crying in the wilderness" and one can only hope his superbly written book does not fall on deaf ears.
SenatorLarryPressler More than 1 year ago
Life in the Marble Palace is a wonderful book about how things really work in Congress. I am a strong advocate for teaching more Civics--basic government. This book tells of Cliff Stearns's gargantuan efforts over a twenty-four year period of service in the US House of Representatives. In particular, I was impressed with Congressman Stearns's description of how as a committee chairman he had to raise a certain amount of dollars for the party to keep the chairmanship. I had an identical experience when I was chairman of the Senate Science, Commerce, and Transportation Committee. Cliff Stearns is leading an effort among the reformers to try and get campaign spending under control. His book is the only place I have read a clear description of how raising money has become a way of getting chairmanships on committees and subcommittees. It is certainly also true in the US Senate. Cliff Stearns's book should be read by every high school student in America as it describes how legislation is really made in Congress. Also, Cliff points out that Congressional travel is very necessary. Iw as glad to see that candor as it is so essential that our members of Congress have international exposure. Cliff had the courage to say so.
donald morrissey More than 1 year ago
"Life in the Marble Palace" is a surprise. It's hard to find a Congressional memoir whose work and author-facing the "dirty devices of the world"... still retain that quintessential American characteristic-optimism. The book give reader some insights into some the key policy fights (ObamaCare, for one) that occurred during his tenure. He also gives the reader a good accounting of what it means for a citizen to come to Washington and survive and yes , even, thrive. He pulls no punches on the hard realities of day-to-day political survival of today's House Member and even defends some unpopular practices e.g. foreign travel by Members at taxpayer expense. There is a much maligned adjective in today's cynical atmosphere-"earnest" (resulting from or showing sincere and intense conviction). The author is, in the best sense of the word, earnest. That, combined with his surprisingly retained optimism--makes "Life int the Marble Palace" worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you think Life in the Marble Palace is just another typical memoir by a former Congressman about his life in Washington, you are in for a surprise. To be sure, Stearns does describe the pressures facing congressmen; the backroom political deals, the never-ending campaign for re-election, and the importance of fundraising, both in the campaign and in gaining influence in Congress, but the real significance of this book is Stearns’ discussion of the moral dilemmas he faced in trying to do the right thing. He discusses the balance among the needs of his constituents, his contributors’ wishes, the best interests of the nation, and what is morally right. Stearns provides an enlightening discussion of his thoughts on freedom, liberty, and the role of God in politics and why he believes our federal government is failing to live up to the ideals of our founding fathers. He incorporates the essays of the Federalist Papers and the writings of classical Greek and Roman philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero and applies them to present day Congress. In discussing the dilemmas faced by Members of Congress in trying to make the right decision, Stearns argues that there is a moral right and wrong in every vote and that ultimately there must be compromise for anything to be accomplished. Stearns also gives us insights into some of the major issues of his time in Congress, including the Clinton impeachment, the TARP bailout, and Obamacare. He offers a personal, behind-the-scenes look at the backroom deals, the negotiating and maneuvering involved and is often critical of his own party’s participation in the process. He notes that when his party was in the majority, he routinely offered amendments to cut appropriations bills by as little as one percent, and they all failed. In his book, Stearns argues that money plays too great a role in Congress and supports a limitation on campaign expenditures. He calls for balancing the budget and a return to federalism to limit the power of the federal government. He makes a strong case for reform of the current political system and a return to the principles on which this nation was founded. It is recommended reading for anyone wanting to know how Congress really works and how it should work.
PJFinVA More than 1 year ago
As a former 24-year Member of Congress, Cliff Stearns provides an intriguing look into our legislative branch, especially the House of Representatives. In a series of essays, Stearns takes us into the the U.S. Capitol and congressional offices and gives the reader his unique insight of how the process works – the fundraising, casting votes, balancing the elected officials’ values and experiences with those of the constituents. Stearns lays out the unvarnished facts behind the legislative process. This is not a simple civics manual but rather this book ties the function of Congress to specific examples: the financial crisis and the bailout of Wall Street, Obamacare, and assorted scandals involving individual members. Stearns names names and takes them to task, specifically former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. Interspersed throughout the book, Stearns includes his thoughts on freedom, government, American exceptionalism, philosophy, and religious faith. He engages the reader in considering divine law and individual freedom. The reader learns about the drudge of fundraising members endure, and the maneuvering and infighting required to progress through the committee system. Stearns shares his own struggle toward the chairmanship he earned. The author also highlights the role of the almighty dollar throughout the workings of Congress and its corrupting influence. Life in the Marble Palace, Stearns’ first book, underscores the value of limited government to preserving our freedoms, and treats readers to a robust evaluation of American democracy at work, and at its failures. This is a must read for anyone who wants to get beyond the mundane of legislative procedures and see how the legislative branch really functions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting, informative, insights re to Congressional issues and dynamics. Once started I could not put it down and read it all the way through. To paraphrase the old saying "politics is like sausage, you don't want to see it made." Stearns outlines in a series of topical chapters melange a personal, moral, and classical philosophical observations coupled with a variety of major issues analyses and preferences. He describes the hard nasty trade-offs of congressional committee appointments and the policy ramifications e.g., the dichotomy of what is best for the members of Congress versus what is best for the country. Rarely are these elements congruent. His vignette totally reflects why government is dysfunctional. To quote a long time grad school professor of mine, "the stated purpose of legislation is never the real purpose; rather, the unseen one is the real one." There is another quote I am reminded of on the element of freedom which Stearns discusses i.e., "freedom without responsibility is mere license." This is the reason why all citizens who are interested in our country and its future welfare should read this book. Lt. Col. Ed Johnson US Army Ret.