It's Even Worse Than It Looks

Author: Thomas E. Mann

If you have time to read one book on the source of dysfunction and polarization affecting the U.S political system, “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks”, by  Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, is as good as any.  

What’s most refreshing about “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks” is its focus on process, not substance.  It, of course, has to use various critical issues to illustrate its point, but the crux of the book is to explain how process is at the root of most political evils these days.

Particularly insightful are the “inside baseball” explanations of parliamentary maneuvers that constrain Congress on a regular basis, especially in the Senate.  If the reader’s only epiphany is a better understanding of cloture, holds and filibusters in the Senate, the time and money spent will have paid huge dividends.

What is also refreshing is the scope and thoughtfulness of the potential solution sets.  They offer and discuss in great detail a wide range of fixes that, in additional to parliamentary considerations, include much needed electoral/voting changes and rethinking of how the media reports on politics and government.

Given my predisposition to a third party solution, I was disappointed in the authors’ failure to show more support.  But, they were solely focused on the question of a third party candidacy for President rather than the state level legislative proposal set for the in E Party.

My main objection to the book is its overemphasis on the Repbublican Party’s hand in the status quo.  The authors were obviously sensitive to this because they take time to explain the disproportionate treatment.  I think the book could have been more balanced and, in doing so, create less of a risk that a Republican leaning reader will be turned off and either abandon the read or not get the full benefit of the book’s wisdom.

I just finished reading the book a few hours ago and I am seriously thinking about taking another run through.  With a book this thoughtful and comprehensive, I am sure I missed a few nuggets or two.

 
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