“In Order to Form a More Rowdy Book Club…”

Crowdies –

I have an experiment I’d like to propose.  Let’s read the new book “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks” by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein and have a virtual book club discussion around it next month.

The book talks about the dysfunction afflicting the Congress and the confluence of forces that have contributed to – and perpetuate – that dysfunction. Mann and Ornstein are serious and longstanding Congressional and political observers, are not bomb-throwers from the left or the right and have some cred: Mann is a senior fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution and Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

What I have in mind is something similar to what we did in 2010 with gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner: I’ll put up a post on a certain date that kicks off the discussion and then let the discussing – and cussing – begin.  I’ll extend an invite to both authors to join us (you never know) but even in their absence, we could have an interesting conversation and – who knows – we might learn something.

Book clubs seem to meet on Wednesdays for some reason so how does Wednesday, August 8 sound?  That gives us a month to get the book and read it.

No need for a show of hands!  Go forth and read!

– Austin

9 thoughts on ““In Order to Form a More Rowdy Book Club…”

    1. Invites are out to Messrs. Mann and Ornstein. They may be too sensible to participate (and God knows how many earnest citizens like me have invited them to things just like this), but I figured the worst that can happen is that they never read their spam folders anyway.

      – Austin

  1. pm says:

    Ok Jon I got the book. This will be an interesting experiment for me…I got it on my (new) Kindle and I will be travelling most of August, so my participation will be dependent on cooperative wifi….

  2. Newt says:

    Please, not another Horner bland-fest. I fail to understand how a poltitician like him can go through life standing for nothing, but critical of everything.

    1. Newt – I’m depending on you to read the book and be a voice for the conservative wing of our conversation! I’ve read the first part of IEWTIL and the authors lay a heavy bill of responsibility for the current state of affairs at the feet of those on the right. Grab your like-minded friends and invite them too.

      – Austin

      1. john sherman says:

        Maybe you could keep a parallel list of people like Judge Posner and Ornstein who used to be (like a year ago) considered conservative stalwarts and who now are running from the designation because those who have appropriated the name are in Posner’s word “goofy.”

  3. This list of Republicans who no longer have a place under the Republican tent cover a broad spectrum of conservatism. Some of the most successful Republicans in recent times – Arne Carlson, Dave Durenberger, Rudy Boschwitz and Norm Coleman for example. On a national stage, Richard Lugar and Bob Bennett. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

    I’m about halfway through the book (it’s an easy read) and one of the authors’ central tenets is that the GOP’s extremism in recent years is not business as usual in terms of partisanship and that it couldn’t have come along at a worse time.

    Here’s the nut graph:

    “The Republican Party has become an insurgent outlier, ideologically extreme, contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime, scornful of compromise, unpersuaded by conventional understandings of facts, evidence and science and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

    – Austin

    1. I’m about halfway through; there are a couple of charts and a picture of Sara Palin in bustier, but that’s it. No formulas, though, so that’s a good thing.

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