Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy (Hardcover)
by Jacob S. Hacker, Paul Pierson
This book is so hot in progressive political circles that its publisher, Yale University Press, has sold out and doesn't even know when a reprint is coming in. (But, yes, BuzzFlash has copies for you.)
Two young academics from Yale and Berkeley nail the radical right wing Republican coup in a lucid, compelling analysis of how we arrived at a government that's too extreme for America, but that has escaped the American public pulling the fire alarm for our Constitution.
"Off Center: The Republican Revolution & the Erosion of Democracy" pulls all the threads together of the radical right wing coup and serves up the stark reality in a trenchant 255-page book. This is the "big picture" of the unmaking of the American Revolution -- and you'll be nodding your head in agreement all the way.
Here's just one brilliant observation among a book chock full of them:
"Most political analysts have missed the scope of this crucial development because they have failed to fully appreciate the increasingly networked character of the modern conservative movement. The GOP coalition is not simply the sum of its parts. Looking only at Congress, or only at lobbyists, will not reveal the full picture. Instead, the power of the leadership, and of others at the top of the new Republican hierarchy results in large part from their increased role in linking these realms. Looking only at Congress, or only at lobbyists, will not reveal the full picture. Top Republican leaders are, quite literally, brokers. And their power is multiplicative, not additive. The more they can control the behavior of legislators, the more they can control the behavior of lobbyists. And the more they can control the behavior of lobbyists, the more they can control the behavior of legislators. Each link in this complex chain of power holds together because the leaders -- and only the leaders -- can deliver." (Page 161)
If you have read BuzzFlash over the past five years, this is a book that puts together the national political perspective you have come to know. No, Hacker and Pierson -- the authors -- are not shrill, irreverent and over the top like BuzzFlash can sometimes be, but they do share a deep understanding of the Machiavellian forces at work in the modern extremist Republican Party. They fully understand and detail the structural and strategic means by which America has been captured by a radical cabal.
They don't rant and rail like BuzzFlash; they analyze and describe the process of this nation's undoing by an infrastructure put together by zealots who endanger democracy. They are level-headed, even-keeled, and dead-on accurate.
Yale University Press describes "Off Center" this way: "The Republicans who run American government today have defied the normal laws of political gravity. They have ruled with the slimmest of majorities and yet have transformed the nation's governing priorities. They have strayed dramatically from the moderate middle of public opinion and yet have faced little public backlash. Again and again, they have sided with the affluent and ideologically extreme while paying little heed to the broad majority of Americans. And much more often than not, they have come out on top. This book shows why -- and why this troubling state of affairs can and must be changed."
This is an accessible, vital book in understanding those who are endangering America from within. They are tenacious, shrewd, ruthless and well-funded, and they regularly outflank the hapless Democratic leadership who still thinks governance is about Robert's Rules of Order.
For anyone who wants to know how America has become dangerously "Off Center," this is the book to read.