Mon 16 Apr, 2012 11:15 am
One thing I was happy to hear was Specter said teaching Civics again will help to save our government. BBB
Life Among the Cannibals: A Political Career, a Tea Party Uprising, and the End of Governing As We Know It
by Arlen Specter and Charles Robbins
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
A revealing memoir of how Washington is changing---and not for the better
During a storied thirty-year career in the U.S. Senate, Arlen Specter rose to Judiciary Committee chairman, saved and defeated Supreme Court nominees, championed NIH funding, wrote watershed crime laws, always staying defiantly independent, “The Contrarian,” as Time magazine billed him in a package of the nation’s ten-best Senators. It all ended with one vote, for President Obama’s stimulus, when Specter broke with Republicans to provide the margin of victory to prevent another Depression.
Shunned by the GOP faithful, Specter changed parties, giving Democrats a sixty-vote supermajority and throwing Washington into a tailspin. He kept charging, taking the first bursts of Tea Party fire at public meetings on Obama’s health care--reform plan. Undaunted, Specter cast the key vote for the health plan.
In Life Among the Cannibals, Specter candidly describes the battles that led to his party switch, his tough transition, the unexpected struggles and duplicity that he faced, and his tumultuous campaign and eventual defeat in the 2010 Pennsylvania Democratic primary.
Taking us behind the scenes in the Capitol, the White House, and on the campaign trail, he shows how the rise of extremists---in both parties---has displaced tolerance with purity tests, purging centrists, and precluding moderate, bipartisan consensus.
"Worth reading because it might be a long time (if ever) before somebody so unarguably knowledgeable will exercise such candor about partisan American politics.”
--Philadelphia Daily News
"Specter ... offers his knowledgeable, withering critique of brutal partisanship in national politics."
"A highly readable battle cry from the moderate center—and timely, given the tenor of politics today."
“A remarkable work, as Specter courageously chastises the Republican Party for its fixation on litmus tests. Specter -- a veteran Republican who left the party in April 2009 -- is right to warn of the risks posed to America by hyper-partisanship. … An impassioned call for the return of moderation to the party.”
--D.R. Tucker, The Huffington Post
Praise for Never Give In
“Written in Senator Specter's trademark candor, Never Give In is a compelling tale of survival---both personal and political---from one of the Senate’s most independent voices.”
--Vice President Joe Biden
“Never Give In brims with the singular tenacity and humor that have characterized Arlen Specter’s nearly thirty years in the United States Senate. This book is both an entertaining read and an unflinching account of the experience of fighting an intensely personal battle on a highly public stage.”
--Michael J. Fox
“He knows a thing or two about illness and politics. It's a hell of a read.”
About the Authors
SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER, son of Jewish immigrants, grew up in Kansas, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania, served as an editor of the law journal at the Yale Law School, and was a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. As an Assistant Counsel to the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President Kennedy, he developed the Single Bullet Theory. As Philadelphia District Attorney, he created a national model for the modern prosecutor’s office, sought life sentences for career criminals and realistic rehabilitation for first offenders, and trail-blazed prosecutions for police brutality. During thirty years in the U.S. Senate, he served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, the Intelligence Committee, the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. He presided over the confirmation hearings of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, and his questioning of Judge Robert Bork, by many accounts, prompted the Senate to reject Bork’s nomination. He led successful efforts to triple funding for the National Institutes of Health. In 2007, Time magazine named him one of the Ten-Best Senators. He currently practices law in Philadelphia, lectures at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and recently hosted a pilot of PBS’s Arlen Specter’s The Whole Truth, a public-affairs television program that cuts to the heart of the day’s toughest national political issues.
CHARLES ROBBINS served as Senator Specter’s communications director in his Senate office and on his presidential campaign. He is the author of the forthcoming novel The Accomplice as well as coauthor, with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, of the forthcoming The U.S. Senate, and coauthor of Senator Specter’s Passion for Truth. A former newspaper reporter and Navy reserve officer, he is a graduate of Princeton University, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and the master of fine arts program at Queens University of Charlotte. He lives in Washington, D.C.
By R. M. Dreyfus
I've waited months for Specter's book to be published, mainly because of his impressive legislative record and the sadness of how his hands were tied in his ability to lead the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, having said that, I suppose I've identified (or disqualified) myself as being both pro democratic and pro Arlen. Which clearly these reviewers (8 to date) are not; outdoing themselves in condemning a book, that some of them have clearly not read. ("Read all my reviews" some of these proclaim - so I did - and found a love of writing hostile reviews, or reviews such as "Cat S_ _ _ One", that depicts violent combat scenes of cute little animals enthusiastically dispatching figures with turbaned heads that presumably represent Taliban.
Some news opinionators have selected passages that talk of nudity and it appears that commentators have picked up on these titillating sound bites. By contrast, reviews in the Washington Post and the Huffington Post are relatively enthusiastic about the book. Books by the likes of Dick Cheney and various ex-presidents are predictably self-serving and shy on details of the controversial areas of their careers or their obvious misteps. I anticiaped an intelligent tell-all expose of his 30 years in the senate, by someone who has transcended the need for party allegiance - and was not disappointed.
We live in the era of a paralyzed, stridently partisan congress and supreme court - and how this destructive state of affairs came to be is a story that needs to be told. This cause is not served by ad hominems that suggest Specter is homosexual, an opportunistic flip-flopper, suffering from dementia, or simply that he should die. He isn't flawless - he was nasty to Anita Hill, and his judgment about the single JFK assassin theory in the Warren Report was questionable. However critics would do well to look at his entire legislative record.