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.