Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Second Civil War Ronald Brownsteen

"How Extreme Partisanship has paralyzed Washington and Polarized America" reads the subtitle on the cover. It has some interesting Washington stories from the old days but settles down to explaining how its all Bush's fault. The text slides from one opinion to another opinion with few examples. Stuggles over legislation are always explained in terms of conservative or liberal, with the expectation that the liberals ought to win most (or at least some) of the time. He talks about "poison pills" and "the olive pit in the jelly doughnut" (small but controversial amendments to bills) but never explains just what they are/were, and what they mean.
Ronald's theme is Bush destroyed a happy jolly bipartisan Washington DC because he didn't have Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi over for dinner often enough.
It could be, that Harry and Nancy were pushing for unacceptable policies that Bush felt honor bound to oppose. Since Ronald glosses over just what the policies under dispute were, this reader finds it hard to take sides, one way or the other. For that matter, Ronald avoids discussing the role of the press in all this. Aside from mentioning that Fox news started up in 1997, the press might as well not exist.
Recent political history might also be interpreted as the country is evenly split over policies such as Iraq, gay marriage, abortion, immigration, and the rest of the hot potatoes and neither side has the votes to impose it's solution.
It's too bad. The subject is interesting, but Ronald's lightweight coverage of the situation makes it an unsatisfying read.

No comments: