• The Impostors

  • How Republicans Quit Governing and Seized American Politics
  • By: Steve Benen
  • Narrated by: Ron Butler
  • Length: 11 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (246 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

The National Best Seller

The award-winning producer of The Rachel Maddow Show exposes the Republican Party as a gang of impostors, meticulously documenting how they have abandoned their duty to govern and are gravely endangering America

For decades, American voters innocently assumed the two major political parties were equally mature and responsible governing entities, ideological differences aside. That belief is due for an overhaul: In recent years, the Republican Party has undergone an astonishing metamorphosis, one so baffling and complete that few have fully reckoned with the reality and its consequences. 

Republicans, simply put, have quit governing. As MSNBC's Steve Benen charts in his groundbreaking new book, the contemporary GOP has become a "post-policy party". Republicans are effectively impostors, presenting themselves as officials who are ready to take seriously the substance of problem solving, but whose sole focus is the pursuit and maintenance of power. Astonishingly, they are winning - at the cost of pushing the political system to the breaking point. 

Despite having billed itself as the "party of ideas", the Republican Party has walked away from the hard but necessary work of policymaking. It is disdainful of expertise and hostile toward evidence and arithmetic. It is tethered to few, if any, meaningful policy preferences. It does not know, and does not care, about how competing proposals should be crafted, scrutinized, or implemented. This policy nihilism dominated the party's posture throughout Barack Obama's presidency, which in turn opened the door to Donald Trump - who would cement the GOP's post-policy status in ways that were difficult to even imagine a few years earlier.

The implications of this approach to governance are all-encompassing. Voters routinely elect Republicans such as Mitch McConnell and Mike Pence to powerful offices, expecting GOP policymakers to have the technocratic wherewithal to identify problems, weigh alternative solutions, forge coalitions, accept compromises, and apply some level of governmental competence, if not expertise. The party has consistently proven those hopes misguided.

The result is an untenable political model that's undermining the American policymaking process and failing to serve the public's interests. The vital challenge facing the civil polity is coming to terms with the party's collapse as a governing entity and considering what the party can do to find its policymaking footing anew.

The Impostors serves as a devastating indictment of the GOP's breakdown, identifying the culprits, the crisis, and its effects, while challenging Republicans with an imperative question: Are they ready to change direction? As Benen writes, "A great deal is riding on their answer."

©2020 Steve Benen (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

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Three Card Monte Politics

The Impostors, How Republicans Quit Governing and Seized American Politics, written by Steve Benen, and narrated by Ron Butler. This is a brilliant work; whose presentation is very readable (listenable.) Its subject matter is a comparison between today’s American political marketplace positions from the right and the left. It covers the topics of economics, health care, environment, immigration, fiscal, monetary, and foreign policy and compares the positions of the two factions of American government Republicans/Democrats. It is not kind to the Republicans or Trump. Its technique in the presentation is to compare the policy of the Republicans and the Trump Administration versus the Democrats and the Obama Administration. What does it all come down to? The Republicans or Trumpsters, according to Mr. Benen, are not political theorists as one would expect from our Representatives and their Parties. They, Republicans and Trump, are shenaniganist. (I just made up that word.)

If Trump and the Republicans are not intellectually driven, then one might ask for what purpose is their goings-on. Mr. Benen’s Answer: To hold power for their titillation of having that power and the opportunity of using that influence to attract to themselves emoluments. Mr. Benen though explains further, to get to that reward, they must seduce their constituents into believing they are working for the common good while the common good is only a pitch to the constituents.

Here is a simple rule to help decide whether to purchase and read this book. If you are going to be a national representative in the Congress or an aide, you must read and master the policy history and breakdown of today’s political issues discussed in the volume. It very well presented but complex and to enjoy you must be a policy wonk. If you are lightheaded this is far too sophisticated of a publication.

I had been looking at our national division as a struggle between the conservative point of view versus the liberal point of view. Mr. Benen has proven to me; there no longer is a conservative philosophy. There is only a con job, by the right, being perpetrated on their adherents.

19 people found this helpful

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Stop trying to make "post policy" happen.

I am a progressive and a fan of The Rachel Maddow Show, which the author produces, but this is a prime example of a book that should have been an essay. While I agree with the premise, it is painfully redundant. He repeats the phrase "post policy" like he's paid per mention. I agree that the modern Republican Party does not aim to construct meaningful policy to help the American people, but doesn't that just mean their policy is now obstruction of legislation, dismantling of free and fair elections, and theft of government resources? It may be an evil policy, but it's a policy. Going though a vast and yet still incomplete list of the Republican Party's top hits of hypocritical bullshit was infuriating but not illuminating. The author also bounces between calling the GOP incompetent and therefore implying they are unaware of what they are doing and then saying they are also malicious.

Maybe I follow politics too closely to enjoy this book, since I engaged with every example he mentions in real time. There was no new information, nor a profound or new perspective on what he did discuss. I ended with a feeling of, "well, duh." Just kind of obvious and we already know all of this.

Finally, the narrator was painful and his extremely brief attempts at a southern accent when quoting southern congressmen was cringe inducing.

17 people found this helpful

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Best analysis of Trump and the Republican party

This is a stunning book. It is by far the best of all the Trump "tell all" books of the last three years. Extremely well researched. The amount of shocking Republican behavior and hypocrisy is overwhelming.

11 people found this helpful

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Sadly true

You just don’t want to believe that things have gotten so bad. This explains so much about the lack of governance coming from the Republican Party. I found myself laughing at some of the ridiculous remarks made by GOP leaders that so showcases their stupidity and laziness. They’re only in it for the paycheck, the primo benefits, and the “retirement” plan.

10 people found this helpful

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exposes McConnell and his thugs

some was hard to listen too...Republicans are morally bankrupt.
I am morally angry and frustrated

5 people found this helpful

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Wonderful book

This was my first book into the Republican party. I very much enjoyed the humor and the history that was told. it was very well researched and very informative. highly recommended. The audio narrative was perfect and was good in preparation.

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Excellent summation of post-policy governance.

This was an excellent summation of how the Republicans have not come to govern but how they execute their so-called policies. The post-policy theory is laid out in succinct and concise terms. Benen's style of writing is completely readable and actually engrossing. I managed to read this in just 2 or 3 days. This is saying something, as it usually takes me a week or two to tackle a book. All in all I highly recommend it!

4 people found this helpful

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Must read for those wanting to fix the GOP

Great read, should be a requirement for anyone interested in modern politics or those wanting to fix the problems plaguing the GOP.

4 people found this helpful

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Finally!

The author puts forward many examples of gop flip flopping, going against their own own stated ideas. just to not look like they were working with Dems. Almost all of it is verifiable!!! Before u start whining about bias, research it first.

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Meticulously Documented but Unhelpful

Steve Benet exhaustively documents everything Congressional Republicans have done in the past two decades. If I had not been paying close attention to the news for the past 20 years, I would not have believed that an entire party could shift its focus away from legislating to shenanigans and get away with it election after election.

But they have. If people could read this book before the 2020 election, they would have renewed conviction that it's important to get rid of all the Republicans and start the party with fresh members. Nothing short of losing their jobs and their power will convince these fake legislators that their crimes of opposition and obstruction ultimately do not pay.

Unfortunately, their constituents are still voting for them. The author does not address the voters. Republicans will continue their legislative laziness, lies, and false outrage because it works.

I wish someone would write a book about that. Why do so many Americans choose lies, alternate realities, and conspiracy theories over facts and real issues? Why do so many Americans respond to superficialities and sensationalism instead of truth, evidence and expert analysis? Is it because they have a hard time following political concepts, and they relate better to politicians that sound like them?

That's how Donald Trump got elected in 2016 despite his obvious incompetence and despicable character. or perhaps because of it. His base elected him because he was like them, ignorant and racist, and they loved him. Apparently 40% of the American voting public can't handle anything more than sound bites, brief talking points, theatrics, lies, and conspiracy theories-- even though tens of thousands of Americans are dying because of a manageable virus he decided not to manage.

We will know later in November whether or not this segment of the population will be outnumbered by voters who care enough about the facts and the issues to outnumber those who don't.

To finish the review of this book, it is shocking, and every American should read it. But it is extremely redundant. Once Republicans shifted to what Benet calls post policy behavior, it's one disaster after another. I had a difficult time getting through it because it was extremely infuriating that they're doing this garbage and getting away with it. But more Americans need to know about it. So I hope more people read the book --and soon.

2 people found this helpful

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  • bookworm77
  • 06-23-20

Finally I get it

For years I’ve wondered what on earth is happening? and why do people support politicians who seem to be clueless?Now I know!
Thank you so much for this informative and easy to digest book.
Highly recommended and the narrator is fantastic.

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  • Annabelle
  • 07-15-20

Brilliant - Explains Republicans behaviour

If you're interested in USA and their politics read/listen to this book. Steve Benen explains the non ideological Republicans who have no real policy but to gain power and block Democrats, and have no regard for the economy.

A great view of why Republicans kiss Trumps butt.....Steve is brilliant - he is the blogger for the brilliant Rachel Maddow