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Off Center: the Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracyby Jacob S. Hacker
Synopses & Reviews
While most Americans remain politically moderate, American politics has careened to the right over the last two decades. Why? What can be done? This book helps make sense of recent political changes and explains how popular will is deliberately being subverted. The authors propose important reforms to strengthen our democracy and return American politics to the center."The most illuminating book on contemporary American politics to be published in over a decade. Every political journalist in America needs to read and heed this brilliant book."—Eric Alterman, author of When Presidents Lie and What Liberal Media?"Closely argued and very readable. . . . This book should become required reading for anyone interested in the triumph of the neocons or worried about where they are leading America."—Publishers Weekly
Hacker and Pierson shrewdly assess the new structures of political power in our country and the success of conservative Republicans in mobilizing resources and framing political choices. This book is innovative, its important, and it will open many eyes. It is the book Karl Rove would wish he had writtenif he were on the other side.”—E. J. Dionne, Jr., author of Stand Up, Fight Back and Why Americans Hate Politics
"One of the mysteries of contemporary American politics is how, in the wake of triangulating Democrats, a small base of conservative Republicans has steered the country so far to the right. In this book, two political science professors from Yale and Berkeley examine ascendant far-right Republicans and offer a sobering analysis of their strategies, many of which, the authors argue, have weakened the ordinary voter's power to 'ensure that American politics remains on center.' Closely-argued and very readable, the book never sinks under the weight of its details; the authors use an ironic list of rules like 'Don't Just Do Something, Stand There' to give chapter and verse on how the ultra-right 'hide their radicalism in a thicket of policy detail' and use poll-driven language to sex-up initiatives lacking popular support. There are excellent passages on the 'fiscal chicanery' of recent tax cuts and several damning vignettes of the maneuvers behind corporate energy subsidies, Medicare privatization and the Bush administration's complicity in relaxing environmental and work safety regulations. The authors compare 'The New Power Brokers' who guide this revolution (Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Grover Norquist and Tom DeLay) to the Medici, but they emerge from these pages like little Machiavellis: ignoring dissent, threatening to fund the conservative rivals of moderate Republicans and quietly undermining alternative power bases. The authors believe this deep-pocketed elite will control the Republican party for some time to come. If that is true, this book should become required reading for anyone interested in the triumph of the neocons or worried about where they are leading America." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Even though most Americans are politically moderate, American politics is careening to the right.Why? What can be done?
Written in a highly accessible style by two professional political scientists, this narrative tells the story of a deliberative process restricted and distorted by party chieftains, of unresponsive power brokers subverting the popular will, and of legislation written by and for powerful interests.
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 nationand#8217;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 whyand#151;and why this troubling state of affairs can and must be changed.Written in a highly accessible style by two professional political scientists, Off Center tells the story of a deliberative process restricted and distorted by party chieftains, of unresponsive power brokers subverting the popular will, and of legislation written by and for powerful interests and deliberately designed to mute popular discontent. In the best tradition of engaged social science, Off Center is a powerful and informed critique that points the way toward a stronger foundation for American democracy.
About the Author
Jacob S. Hacker is Peter Strauss Family Associate Professor of Political Science, Yale University. PAUL PIERSON is professor of political science (Avice Saint Chair in Public Policy), University of California, Berkeley.
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