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When the Tea Party Came to Town: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives' Most Combative, Dysfunctional, and Infuriating Term in Modern History
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When the Tea Party Came to Town: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives' Most Combative, Dysfunctional, and Infuriating Term in Modern History [Kindle Edition]

Robert Draper

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“Vivid . . . Compelling . . . [Draper’s] refreshingly balanced account captures the drama of one of Congress’s most combative and maddeningly frustrating years in memory.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“Colorful . . . An engaging and often funny chronicle of the year in the House of Representatives following the Tea Party–powered 2010 elections.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“Superb . . . A rich and deeply reported look at the House Republicans who took over the chamber after the 2010 elections.” (Ryan Lizza The New Yorker's "Ten Best Political Books of 2012")

“A gripping and fast-paced narrative.” (The Daily Beast)

Product Description

When the Tea Party Came to Town demonstrates Robert Draper’s uncanny ability to ferret out news-making tidbits and provides us with the first look at this game-changing Congress—sure to be a classic work.

In When the Tea Party Came to Town, Robert Draper delivers the definitive account of what may turn out to be the worst congressional term in United States history. As he did in writing about President George W. Bush in Dead Certain, Draper burrows deep inside his subject, gaining cooperation from the major players, and provides an insider’s book like no one else can—a colorful, unsparingly detailed, but evenhanded narrative of how the House of Representatives became a house of ill repute. Because of the bitterly divided political atmosphere in which we live, this literary window on the backstage machinations of the House of Representatives is both captivating and timely—revealing the House in full, from the process of how laws are made (and in this case, not made) to the most eye-popping cast of lawmakers Washington has ever seen.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 987 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Reprint edition (April 24 2012)
  • Sold by: Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005FLPM0W
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #255,558 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  69 reviews
257 of 285 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Confirms My Worst Fears About Our Congress April 26 2012
By Amazons Are Us - Published on
This new book genuinely confirms my worst fears about the decay of our government through the last five Congressional sessions. I listened to a detailed preview and interview about Do Not Ask What Good We Do through online and cable news recently. As a proud non-partisan Independent, born out of 6 generations of Republicans, I now fear greatly for our nation. Moreover, Robert Draper's book underscores how a relatively small radical segment of the Republican Party is now trying to secretly diminish and seemly dismantle our "We the people" government simply for their narrow short-term election year power gains. Behind what appears to be the necessary checks and balances by Congressional governance, it's now really all about winning elections, staying in office, making money, agitating class warfare, political distractions, coded rhetoric, and setting-up to win the next election to make more money. Has anyone ever asked themselves if we really want "less government," then does the trillions of our tax dollars dollars we pay remain in their pockets -- can you say what "taxation without representation" means now? Clearly, Mr. Draper's book title is perfect for our times. Ironically, the GOP started out as an anti-slavery, socioeconomic rights and political equality party in the 1850s when we were a young nation and a very divided republic -- including our national "birth defect" of slavery and various forms of racial terrorism, according to former (Republican) U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Having read Grand Old Party by Lewis L. Gould, Thaddeus Stevens: Nineteenth Century Egalitarian by Hans L. Trefousse, American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia by Bruce Frohnen, Jeremy Beer and Jeffrey O. Nelson, and Alfred Blumrosen's Slave Nation book (truly must-reads), greatly enhanced what Mr. Draper is detailing. The bottom line: today's GOP brand has been mostly body-snatched by self-serving special interest parasites. The strategy of pre-emptive politics and fear mongering for short-term gains is the new status quo -- the divide and conquer tactic. Regardless of your political leanings, I hope many will read Do Not Ask What Good We Do during, before and beyond election day. I definitely will -- just as I will still pay taxes, and vote people in or out of office -- even if I'm possibly the last rat on potentially sinking ship.
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for political junkies May 5 2012
By Steve Wainstead - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Robert Draper is a first-rate writer. In this page-turner he treats Democrats and Republicans (and Tea Partiers) with equal care and criticism.

Draper is a "fly on the wall" through the 2011 sessions of the House of Representatives. Through his phenomenal penmanship we get to meet many Reps like Tea Party freshmen Jeff Duncan and Allen West, the soon-to-be-disgraced Anthony Weiner, and "Dean of the House" John Dingell, D-MI, to name only a few.

We get to see inside the machinations of the House of Representatives during the Continuing Resolutions (to continue funding the Federal government) and the debt ceiling debates -- ending with the so-called Super Committee, which (we learn) Senator Harry Reid expected to fail when he proposed it (see page 274).

With earmarks gone for this session of Congress, the majority party leaders (Boehner and Cantor and McCarthy) had no way to lure Tea Party freshmen into voting the way the party leadership wanted them to... leading to one of the most legislatively-unproductive Congresses in American history, with the House passing only some 90 bills.

Draper periodically opens chapters with entertaining stories from Congresses of previous centuries that were mired in partisan deadlocks. The historical perspective is reassuring: there is nothing new under the sun in politics.

If the book were three times longer I would have enjoyed it three times as much. I couldn't get enough of this inside look at the sausage-making process.
100 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As much an indictment of the media as it is of Congress April 26 2012
By Todd Bartholomew - Published on
Bashing Congress is hardly new, as Robert Draper quickly points out. Complaints from within and without date back to the early days of our Republic and certainly everything here is hardly a newsflash from a Congress that not only has the lowest public opinion in history, but seems hell bent on driving it still further downwards. Dysfunctional Congresses and partisan politics are likewise nothing new, but what is stunning is the access that Draper is given by members of the 112th Congress and that Draper is willing to serve it up, warts and all. Most reporters and members of the media are so timid and afraid of saying what is REALLY going on out of fear that their access to politicians will be cut off. As a result they apparently willingly acquiesce and will only cite "unnamed sources" or will heavily water down what true news they do report so as not to offend. That is NOT the case with Draper as he names names and says what was really going on behind the scenes during the current (112th) Congress, some of which points out why opinion polls rank them so poorly. Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat you'll find much to agree with and much that will shock you as politicians in both parties come off very badly.

Some of the shots Draper takes are obvious ones, like the idiotic hubris of Rep. Anthony Weiner, who got what he deserved. Draper skewers Weiner ruthlessly here and takes no prisoners on either side of the aisle. Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi is revealed as despised by members of her own party for forcing unpopular votes on vulnerable members in the 111th Congress that cost many their seats in the 2010 elections. President Obama comes in for criticism from congressmen for his unwillingness to lead or to use his political capital to advance causes near and dear to his heart. The right's criticism of Obama "leading from behind" frequently came to mind and Draper lays things out with a crispness and conciseness he demonstrated in his columns for Politico and the New York Post. Republicans take the heat as well, with many, including key leaders, demonstrating a fundamental failure to grasp basic economics which clearly hampered negotiations during the budget debates and beyond. The ubiquity and mindlessness of talking points is thrown up for the ridicule it deserves with many members unwilling to deviate from their party's line or to show any original or creative thinking.

On balance neither party comes off well, and if anything reading "Do Not Ask..." will diminish and degrade any lingering respect you may have had for Congress, congressmen, and our current two-party system. Draper's expose also indirectly exposes how the media keeps our society under-informed and underserved, serving to play off our existing partisan divide. I found myself thinking of the comment Garry Marshall's character Stan Lansing on "Murphy Brown" about "politics is a game of three card monte designed to distract everyone while everything goes to hell". By turns depressing, dispiriting, and saddening, "Do Not Ask..." points out the inadequacy of our current system and sadly it doesn't offer any solutions. That is left for the reader to determine. "Do Not Ask..." will certainly prove popular on the Sunday talk shows, with the 99% crowd and Tea Party supporters. What they do with it remains to be seen.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Frustrating Walk Through the 112th Congress July 5 2012
By Samuel J. Sharp - Published on
This book gives an inside look into the 112th Congress by following the budding careers of Republican Freshmen (Jeff Duncan, Allen West, Blake Farenthold, Renee Ellmers, Raul Labrador) and detailing their frustrations and successes. A few veteran Democrats such as John Dingell, Chris Van Hollen, Anthony Weiner, and Sheila Jackson Lee appear throughout, but the focus is primarily on young Republicans. Draper's tone and anecdotes are designed to create disgust in the reader towards Congress, and readers of all political viewpoints will probably agree that Draper does this successfully.

Draper discusses events from 2010-2012 in great detail (with the chapter on the debt ceiling particularly well detailed), but there is little analysis of Congressional history and no discussion of what the future of the House might look like. The book lacks a major overriding theme or argument, so the reader is left to reach his/her own conclusions. The book is nonetheless entertaining reading and based on the bibliography, Draper conducted an appropriate number of interviews to create an authoritative portrayal of the members highlighted. Draper also did a good job of exposing the conflicts facing the Freshman between being leaders and representatives of their constituents by observing town hall meetings and other district gatherings. Readers who greatly enjoy politics will be very satisfied by this book and the unique perspective is offers.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One sided but interesting Dec 28 2012
By Allison - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I first heard about this book after an interview with the author on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I was intrigued by Stewart's comment about politicians being "real people" and decided that I should read the book. I must admit, it was really good. Given, it was good in a, "now I am frightened about the state of our country" way, but it was still good. The book mostly follows the Republican/Tea Party freshman that were voted into office during the 2010 midterm elections.

I enjoyed it because it offered some insight about a select few individuals that helped me to understand why they do and vote the way that they do. Granted, what they do isn't effective nor efficient (as illustrated by the book), but it offers insight nonetheless. The book has a liberal slant at times, but for the most part it stays pretty middle of the road and keeps the reader interested. This book had the potential to be very dry, but the author has a way of telling the stories that keeps the reader engaged from start to finish.

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