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Spoiled Rotten : How the Politics of Patronage Corrupted the Once Noble Democratic Party and Now Threatens the American Republic
by Jay Cost

Overview -

The Democratic Party has long presented itself as the party of the poor, the working class, the little guy. As Jay Cost's sweeping revisionist history reveals, nothing could be further from the truth.

Why have the Democrats gone from being the people's party of reform to the party of special-interest carve-outs?  Read more...


 
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More About Spoiled Rotten by Jay Cost
 
 
 
Overview

The Democratic Party has long presented itself as the party of the poor, the working class, the little guy. As Jay Cost's sweeping revisionist history reveals, nothing could be further from the truth.

Why have the Democrats gone from being the people's party of reform to the party of special-interest carve-outs? In Spoiled Rotten, political analyst Jay Cost tells the story of the modern Democratic party from the end of the Civil War to the present, tracing the sad decline of a once noble political coalition that is no longer capable of living up to its lofty ideals.

When Andrew Jackson formed the Democratic party in 1828, he promised to stand up for the little guy against the rule of privileged elites. What has become of this promise? According to Cost, recent history has shown the Democrats to be anything but the party of and for the people. Instead, they have become a collection of special-interest groups feeding off the federal government, exchanging votes for subsidies and benefits.

With the creation of a partisan spoils system in the nineteenth century, both parties practiced the politics of patronage. But, starting with the New Deal, Franklin Delano Roosevelt used the power of big government to transform whole classes of society into clients of the Democratic party. Urban machines, southern segregationists, and organized labor all benefited from this approach. FDR's successors--Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter--followed suit, turning African Americans, environmentalists, feminists, government workers, teachers, and a number of other groups into loyal Democratic factions. As a result, the Democratic party has become a kind of national Tammany Hall whose real purpose is to colonize the federal government on behalf of its clients.

No longer able to govern for the vast majority of the country, the Democratic party simply taxes Middle America to pay off its clients while hiding its true nature behind a smoke screen of idealistic rhetoric. Thus, the Obama health care, stimulus, and auto bailout health care bill were created not to help all Americans but to secure contributions and votes. Average Americans need to see that whatever the Democratic party claims it is doing for the country, it is in fact governing simply for its base.

Hard-hitting and uncompromising, Spoiled Rotten is a timely, powerful polemic from a rising intellectual star.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062041159
  • ISBN-10: 0062041150
  • Publisher: Broadside Books
  • Publish Date: May 2012
  • Page Count: 355


Related Categories

Books > Political Science > Political Process - Political Parties
Books > Political Science > American Government - National
Books > Political Science > History & Theory - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-02-06
  • Reviewer: Staff

According to conservative Weekly Standard columnist Cost, clientelism is “the exchange of votes for governmental favors between a faction and a party,” and Democrats have signed on so many hungry mouths that demands for “gimme” have overwhelmed the public interest. In this revisionist history, Cost convincingly argues that, in striving to revive the national economy, FDR’s administration created a “Tammany on the Potomac,” which attracted elements of the ruling coalition to “the private benefits they enjoyed from the party’s benevolent protections.” Ironically, Cost says, although Andrew Jackson founded the Democratic Party in 1828 in reaction to rampant government corruption, modern Democrats evoke nothing so much as the venal Republicans of the Gilded Age, and they are “no longer capable of governing for the public good.” Cost suggests that the party has “become a threat to the American republic itself.” The book raises timely concerns in an election year. Agent: Byrd Leavell, Waxman Literary Agency. (May)

 
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