Synopses & Reviews
"Hamburger and Wallsten pull back the curtain and reveal the Republican battle plan to take over American politics. With compelling detail and scrupulous fairness, the two uncover many of the machinations that have been below the radar screenuntil now."
Roger Simon, author of Divided We Stand
Is the United States becoming a one-party country? Republicans control every branch of government in Washington and most governorships. Even in the face of public despair over Iraq, the downfall of GOP powerbrokers like Tom DeLay, and the Bush administration's inept response to Hurricane Katrina, Republicans remain firmly planted in the driver's seat of national politics.
One Party Country shows that Republicans own a clear advantage in the fundamentals of campaigning: money, organization, and message. And even as many pundits ponder potential Democratic success in upcoming elections, this book's rigorous examination of the GOP machine suggests that a Democratic resurgence faces steep barriers barriers erected by conservatives who have worked to build their dominant position since the days of Barry Goldwater.
Los Angeles Times political reporters Hamburger and Wallsten unravel Karl Rove's vast and complex plan, both to consolidate the right's own power base and to continue chipping away at the Democrats' constituency, the New Deal coalition of labor and minorities that buttressed Democratic dominance for decades. The strategists fighting to build a long-lasting Republican majority have deployed a vast arsenal to that endfunneling taxpayer dollars to gain entrée in black churches, harnessing cable broadcasts and the Internet, forging alliances with conservative Jews and Christians, politicizing policy decisions to a greater extent than at any other time in history, and revolutionizing the way campaigns are run. And they have mastered the very art of grassroots political organizing that once was the trademark of Democratic campaigns.
Some of the tactics are stunning in their audacity and ambition, like ordering federal bureaucrats to make decisions based on the reelection chances of Republican lawmakers. Not to mention using the Voting Rights Act to pack liberal black voters into single congressional districts to assure the elections of white conservatives in neighboring ones. One of the most striking creations was a White House faith-based initiative that has directed millions of dollars to African American churches in the hope that their pastors will feel indebted to a Republican president and become willing to campaign for his party.
Some developments have led to trouble. The aggressive Republicanization of Washington lobbying shops spawned GOP embarrassments like Jack Abramoff, the super-lobbyist at the center of one of the capital's biggest corruption scandals. But while Democrats hope to benefit politically from what they call a "culture of corruption" in Republican-led Washington, they show few signs of grasping how dramatically the GOP machine has transformed American politicsand how hard it will be for the Democrats to catch up.
The twenty-first century GOP is the New York Yankees of national politics. And like a dominant sports franchise, the Republicans have put in place the advantages they need to ensure an automatic edge in every foreseeable cycle. One Party Country describes brick-by-brick how this one-party foundation was builtand foreshadows whether it has been built to last.
"Despite the Bush Administration's current unpopularity, Hamburger and Wallsten contend, the Republican domination of American politics is unlikely to end anytime soon. In this astutely argued polemic, the authors note that political hegemony today has less to do with a party's popularity than it does with pinpoint marketing, judiciary packing and artful gerrymandering. Political mastermind Karl Rove is quoted as having remarked about the young George W. Bush: 'He was exuding more charisma that any one individual should be allowed to have.' Nevertheless, Rove has relied not upon Bush's charisma, but rather pro-industry regulation to build Republican war chests, careful selection of congressional candidates, and grassroots campaigning of the sort that used to be the province of Democrats. From lobbying to single-issue marketing to co-opting traditional Democratic constituencies (Hispanics, African Americans, Jews, immigrants), the authors find that the Republican machine appears to have identified and commodified every potential vote in the nation. Unfortunately, there's a crippling streak of self-defeatism underlying the text: the Republican agenda is portrayed as an invincible crushing force, and the book provides no view into the limits of Republican power. This convincing work certainly calls attention to the threat that the U.S. may soon be one red state nation under God, but for those who would sooner be dead than red, the authors offer little solace." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"One Party Country proves once and for all that Republicans are simply better than Democrats at the basic blocking and tackling of politics. Anyone who wants to know why the GOP will win more than lose for the foreseeable future needs to read this book."
—Jonathan Alter, Senior Editor at Newsweek and author of The Defining Moment
The Democrats have an easy road to victory, right? Not quite. This book pulls the curtain back on the Republicans' astonishingly effective efforts to keep that from happening. Despite poor polling for the Republicans, they are closer to making America a one-party country than most people imagine. One Party Country exposes the way Republicans have nearly completed their plan to:
- Make the most of redistricting, so that most congressional seats aren't really up for grabs
- Create software and databases the Democrats can only dream of—a huge advantage in turning out their base
- Make modern polling useless, since even the best polls can't measure the turnout advantage
- Turn big business into an arm of the party, from K Street to corporate boardrooms and sometimes onto the factory floor
- Stir up the religious right with one hand, while actually forwarding the competing agenda of their big donors with the other
- Create policies—like Iraq, Social Security privatization, and faith-based programs—that use the government's resources to tilt the electorate to the right and undermine the Democrats
- Neutralize the Democrats' traditional advantage with Hispanics, women, and African Americans
- Fill the courts with conservative judges ready to turn away challenges to this new order
This plan is not only audacious—it's working. Are there any flaws in Karl Rove's strategy? Are Democrats fighting back? Do they even have a clue what's going on? Read this dramatic and provocative exposé and find out.
Most politicians win office intending to enact their pet policies for the short term. But as this provocative book reveals, the Bush administration' s primary governing focus is cementing GOP dominance for decades to come and eviscerating the Democrats' New Deal coalition. As one disgruntled former White House official put it, It' s the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis. Guiding this quest is Karl Rove, a man who exercises unprecedented power as he marshals all branches of government in service of the ultimate goal. This book shows Rove manipulating the most obscure federal activities and reveals how his actions shape local races and help the GOP lure the Democrats' most loyal supporters: Jews, African Americans, and Latinos. The authors detail how Republicans have turned corporate America into a wing of the party, and how their audacious, carefully crafted plan may yet unravel in a swirl of scandal in the nation' s capital. One Party Country will be the definitive account of the most ambitious attempt to redraw America' s political map and transform the nature of government in nearly a century.
Peter Wallsten (Washington, DC) covers the White House for the Los Angeles Times. Tom Hamburger (Silver Spring, MD) is an investigative reporter who covers the White House and executive branch for the Los Angeles Times. Both authors have been interviewed about the Bush administration on CNN, Fox News, CNBC, MSNBC, and NPR.
The Los Angeles Times bestseller
"Intelligent....Their book represents a burgeoning literary genre--studies of Roveology, which is the art of using what Republicans embrace, marketing information and what they theoretically are wary of, federal power, to elect more Republicans."
--George Will, Newsweek
"Persuasive....Hamburger and Wallsten discuss in great detail the misuse of executive branch power for raw political purposes."
--Mark Schmitt, Washington Monthly
The single greatest priority for the Bush administration has been the consolidation of executive power. That power has been wielded like never before for partisan gain: to win current and future elections for Republicans across America. The Democrats had everything going for them in the 2006 election, but all the obstacles Republicans have been constructing paid off by denying them an even bigger win. Democrats are confident going into 2008, but the Republican advantages endure. Through a rigorous examination of the GOP machine, this book reveals how a true Democratic resurgence faces steep barriers--barriers erected by conservatives who have worked to build their dominant position since the days of Barry Goldwater.
"Incisive journalistic digging...One Party Country does a good job of spelling out the GOP electoral strategy objectively and in detail."
--The Christian Science Monitor
About the Author
is an investigative reporter covering the White House and the executive branch for the Los Angeles Times
Peter Wallsten covers the White House for the Los Angeles Times. Both authors have been interviewed about the Bush administration on CNN, FOX News, CNBC, MSNBC, and NPR.
Table of Contents
1. The Real Center of Power.
2. Stacking the Electoral Deck.
3. The End of the Southern Strategy.
4. The Rove Doctrine.
5. The Organized Shall Inherit The Earth.
6. Death by a Thousand Cuts.
7. The Business of America Is Business—and Lobbying.
8. Put to the Test: Social Security.
9. Put to the Test: The Bench.