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Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders [Hardcover]

Tom Coburn , Hart John Hart
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 11 2003
Tom A. Coburn, a congressional maverick who kept his promise to serve three terms and then leave Washington, offers a candid look at the inner workings of Congress-why the system changes politicians instead of vice versa. Breach of Trust shows readers, through shocking behind-the-scenes stories, why Washington resists the reform our country desperately needs and how they can make wise, informed decisions about current and future political issues and candidates. This honest and critical look at business as usual in Congress reveals how and why elected representatives are quickly seduced into becoming career politicians who wont push for change. Along the way, Coburn offers readers realistic ideas for how to make a difference.

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About the Author

Senator Tom Coburn is a former business owner and practicing physician. He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994.  A true citizen legislator, he honored his self-imposed term limits pledge and left Congress in 2001. The author of Breach of Trust, a congressional exposé, he returned to public service in 2004 after a successful campaign for the U.S. Senate.



John Hart was Dr. Coburn's press secretary from 1997 until 2000. In 1994, he became the youngest person ever to win an Amy Writing Award. He lives in Washington DC with his wife, Kimberly, and is now serving as the Communications Director for U.S. Representative Jim DeMint, a Republican from South Carolina.

From AudioFile

Physician and former Congressman Tom Coburn is a passionate man, with equally ardent views about Congress, the Constitution, and his faith. Characterized by some as a maverick, Coburn examines Washington from a perspective rarely heard. He believes, for example, that Congress should restrict its activities to the letter of the Constitution, and his self-limited three terms in Congress were based on his view that career legislators are bad for the country. Coburn's memoir is interesting, although many points he presents as novel are well known. BREACH OF TRUST is surprisingly entertaining, although Coburn's extreme views will certainly infuriate many readers. Richard Fredricks reads with a twangy voice that is generally effective. Unfortunately, at times he reads far too fast, requiring the listener to exert some effort just to keep pace. D.J.S. © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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ONE SUMMER MORNING in June of 1994, I woke up with the sudden realization I should run for Congress. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover
The subtitle provides more than a clue. Political outsiders wind up in the House of Representatives and then they are under tremendous pressure to conform, to play the game, to scratch backs and make deals. As a reader, I'm reminded of that scene in Casablanca: I"m shocked!..shocked! Rick...there is gambling going on in this place!
Tom Cogburn's an MD who goes to congress as one in a group of spirited, idealistic conservatives, hatched and spoon-fed upon Reagan era ideas about the expenditure of taxpayer money. Think of the David Stockman budget cuts and government internal clashes and shutdowns in the 1980s. This book updates us, brings us to a close-up of the 90s budget struggles. Clinton's the president and the economy is buoyed up by a stock market boom cycle. The U.S. is experiencing the benefits of a bankrupt Soviet Union, the Democrats are crowing about something called a "peace dividend", and there is large-scale military downsizing. Meanwhile, Republican ideologues are hard at work downsizing the domestic services bureaucracy. A classic liberal vs. conservative fiscal battle is taking place. Cogburn's culminating event is the 1997 budget battle between President Bill Clinton and the Republicans led by Newt Gingrich and a vast team of bright-eyed spending conservatives united in the single purpose of saying no to spending increases. The spending conservatives are the children of the "Reagan Revolution" and they've all taken the primary oath of self-imposed term limits.
During one of the longest and most protracted government shutdowns, Republican veteran Bob Dole says enough is enough! Dole chastizes his idealistic Republican confreres for what appears to be a prima donna obstinacy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening...and sickening Jan. 20 2004
Format:Hardcover
Dr. Coburn is armed to the teeth with facts, figures, and behind the scenes stories that the main stream press avoids or ignores. While it would be easy to become disillusioned with the entire political process after this candid view of Washington, he actually projects a tone that is surprisingly optimistic. The author is the complete opposite of a partisan hack. He goes after Democrats and Republicans alike. He is equally supportive of those few principled politicians in both parties. Dr. Coburn is truly a patriotic American and this book should be required reading for virtually EVERY high school civics class and college political science class. It would trigger a new American revolution. Don't miss this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars True Conservative Jan. 1 2004
Format:Hardcover
In Breach Of Trust, Tom Coburn recounts some of his experiences as a 3 term US congressman. His efforts to help limit the runaway spending in Washington put him at odds with his own party and with the Washington mindset - where winning elections is the priority of both parties, and responsible policy is the casualty. A major theme is that term limits would be a good method to end careerist politics and permit individual members to vote their conscience. He tells of specific instances where party leaders compromise the best interests of America to present an electable image in the respective home districts. His insights ring true. Dr. Coburn does not pretend to be perfect, and freely admits his own mistakes. His honesty, tenacity, and candor are examples we all should aspire to. I recommend this good book to all fiscal conservatives and anyone interested in the way that Washington works - and why it usually fails.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Coburn is a true Citizen Legislator Oct. 1 2003
By CTS
Format:Hardcover
Excellent book for those interested in the workings of the Beltway. Dr. Coburn explains why term-limited politicians are better than 'careerists'. Using specific examples and personal conversations with Congressmen and Senators, he explains why reforms in Medicare and Social Security will never happen as long as we have career politicians in office. He says they are more interested in getting re-elected than bringing about real change. You'll never vote for a career politician again!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Coburn is a true Citizen Legislator Oct. 1 2003
By CTS - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Excellent book for those interested in the workings of the Beltway. Dr. Coburn explains why term-limited politicians are better than 'careerists'. Using specific examples and personal conversations with Congressmen and Senators, he explains why reforms in Medicare and Social Security will never happen as long as we have career politicians in office. He says they are more interested in getting re-elected than bringing about real change. You'll never vote for a career politician again!
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening...and sickening Jan. 20 2004
By Lee Hernandez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Dr. Coburn is armed to the teeth with facts, figures, and behind the scenes stories that the main stream press avoids or ignores. While it would be easy to become disillusioned with the entire political process after this candid view of Washington, he actually projects a tone that is surprisingly optimistic. The author is the complete opposite of a partisan hack. He goes after Democrats and Republicans alike. He is equally supportive of those few principled politicians in both parties. Dr. Coburn is truly a patriotic American and this book should be required reading for virtually EVERY high school civics class and college political science class. It would trigger a new American revolution. Don't miss this book.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Conservative Dec 31 2003
By Andrew J. Givens - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In Breach Of Trust, Tom Coburn recounts some of his experiences as a 3 term US congressman. His efforts to help limit the runaway spending in Washington put him at odds with his own party and with the Washington mindset - where winning elections is the priority of both parties, and responsible policy is the casualty. A major theme is that term limits would be a good method to end careerist politics and permit individual members to vote their conscience. He tells of specific instances where party leaders compromise the best interests of America to present an electable image in the respective home districts. His insights ring true. Dr. Coburn does not pretend to be perfect, and freely admits his own mistakes. His honesty, tenacity, and candor are examples we all should aspire to. I recommend this good book to all fiscal conservatives and anyone interested in the way that Washington works - and why it usually fails.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Case for a New Independent Party Jan. 11 2006
By Robert David STEELE Vivas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an extraordinary book, an easy to read book, which is organized to provide 10 truths, 3 myths, 4 dangers, and 5 actions that citizens can take to restore the integrity of the Congress (both Senate and House).

The author's conclusions, based on his experience as a three-term Congressman, are consistent with both the recent polls that show that Americans damn both the Democrats and the Republicans as corrupt and ineffective at representing We the People, and with books such as Peter Peterson's "Running On Empty: How The Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It."

As a moderate Republican, I found this book representative precisely of the vision I signed up to in the 1970's--smaller government, less waste, more discretion to the states.

Two quotes really stand out:

xix: "Although the events o September 11, 2001 have focused the public attention on the threat of international terrorism, the greatest threat to the continuity of our form of government is our government itself."

79: "What makes this [Party Line] mentality dangerous is that when the team is held together by careerism and mindless partisanship, individual members are punished for thinking for themselves [or their Districts]. When members can't think for themselves their constituents are deprived of honest representation."

The book itemizes the positive aspects of the "Contract with America" that the Republican class of 1994 hoped to achieve, and blasts Newt Gingrich for failing to honor the contract and failing as a leader.

Robert Novak is to be complemented for his superb foreword and his support of this book.

All of my reading suggests that America is ready to demand that the bulk of their representatives follow the example of the Member from Vermont, and declare Independence from the two corrupt incumbent parties. America appears to be ready for a new political party that will restore government of, by, and for the people. This book is a good starting point, and makes the case for discarding both parties as being so corrupt and unrepresentative as to be beyond salvation. We are on our own.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be mandatory for every elected official! Oct. 2 2004
By Integrity Trainer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The consistency of freshman politicians with good intentions becoming corrupted over time is a HUGE problem all over the world. Tom Coburn explains how things work in Washington. He gives some shocking personal testimonies of his experience with some of the highest political leaders and he offers some wise recommendations on how to improve things. He also builds a strong case for getting more "citizen legislators" elected and to replace them before the system corrupts them.

Although the author is a Republican, most of his criticism is of members in his own party. I too am a Republican, yet I greatly appreciate Tom Coburn sharing the truth about the lack of integrity and character in Washington. All patriotic citizens should consider reading this book to better understand why nothing seems to change in the political arena. Everyone running for political office should read this book and be aware of what really happens behind closed doors in Washington. This also provides freshmen with inner strength to do what is right no matter the cost.

The book is extremely well-written and the unabridged audio version is read quite eloquently by a professional reader.
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