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

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  28 ratings  ·  10 reviews
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...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 15th 2012 by Broadside Books (first published April 15th 2012)
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Jun 03, 2012 Dan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I was conflicted about this book going in. I have been a Jay Cost reader for 5+ years, going back to his time with Real Clear Politics (RCP). Initially, I intuited that he was a conservative (as I am), though it was not obvious from his analysis at first; over time, he became increasingly forward about his ideology. He wrote an FAQ on RCP explaining his conception of politics and policy that I found myself agreeing with almost 100 percent, down to notions of uncertainty, epistemological modesty,...more
Bojan Tunguz
The premise of this book is rather simple. In any democratic political system political parties that aspire for the control of the body politic will invariably attract various clients and interest groups with very limited and specific agendas. However, if a politician or a party is aspiring for a broader level of support necessary for a victory in election, that party or politician will need to make a broader appeal based on the sense of general good of the country. This constant tension between...more
This is an excellently-written, meticulously-researched history of the Democratic Party. It explains the often confusing history of the party in the twentieth century, and how it gradually, in fits and starts, metamorphosed from the reactionary, agrarian, Southern- and immigrant-dominated party that it was at the close of the Gilded Age, to the socialist-in-theory, fascist-in-practice monstrosity it is today.

The one tie that binds the old party and the new party is clientelism. Then, as now, the...more
This book never disapoints. Being old enough to remember the FDR/Hoover election I had a clear concept of the differences between the two parties and the reasons one made a choice until I had reached middle age in the 60-70s. At that point politics no longer made sense to me.
Spoiled Rotten was worth reading if only for it's lucid discription of the events and their influences which were strong enough to affect a dramatic change in the priorities of the Democratic Party.
In addition, it's a fascin...more
Alexander Scipio
Tought provoking. If the Democrat party really is pure clientilism - and Mr Cost convincingly demonstrates this to be so - then his conclusion is difficult to avoid: That today's Democrat Party is unable to govern for the national interest as it meets its obligations to its clients, and may be unable to do so for the foreseeable future. This conclusion is supported by swtiches by notable pols from the Dem to the GOP - Zell Miller, Artur Davis, etc.
Really enjoyed this. Destroys the liberal/media narrative that the Democratic party is "for the people, the underdog, the normal American," instead its focus is on specific, targeted client groups (lobbyists, special interests, welfare recipients) that receive benefits from the party at the expense of the entire American public and country. This focus drives the policy of the party, not national interests.
May 15, 2012 April marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Author argues that the "buffet rule" is a smoke screen to distract Americans from seeing progressive policies as equaling a net benefit for the country's top earners in guarantees. He claims that this is why the top bracket votes the way it does.

Lisa Tangen
I was dismayed and disgusted by the book's descriptions of greed and deceit of people in power - who use public office for private gain...sadly, it seems to be just the way things are...I marvel that our country has survived as long as it has
Excellent well researched analysis of the Democratic Party evolved from the party of the working man to the party of privileged special interest and client group. A scary read for lovers of a true representative republic.
Good history of Democratic party, but a little unfocused. Jumped around a bit, repeated a bit. Still worthwhile.
Alison Hirt
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May 28, 2014
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