Over the Cliff: Book Review

October 13, 2010

I am very grateful to PoliPointPress for sending me a copy of Over the Cliff: How Obama’s Election Drove the American Right Insane. You see, I watched it all happen, but I didn’t write it all down. Luckily, authors John Amato and David Neiwert did, so there now exists a permanent record of the post-2008 craziness without which the upcoming Rally to Restore Sanity would be unnecessary.

Not only do Amato and Neiwert provide documentation of the journey over the cliff; they also contextualize and explain the reprehensible far-right GOP tactics used to attempt to discredit President Barack Obama during his first year in office: the “birther” attacks, the health care town hall disruptions, the “czars,” and the Tea Party—a “grassroots” movement that one could say sprang fully formed from the head of Dick Armey.

And let’s not forget Fox News. While many of the tactics described in Over the Cliff are standard operating procedure for the GOP (e.g., drumming up racial prejudice and culture wars), the fact that, as the authors put it, “Fox had declared war on the Obama White House from the day of the president’s inauguration,” is a postmodern addition to the American Right’s list of vile deeds. The book discusses the “greatest hits” of falsehoods deployed by Beck, Hannity, and O’Reilly, as well as others of their ilk, and—in doing so—does us all a great service.

Once you’ve read Over the Cliff, you can no longer say that any of the atrocities against truth and democracy it outlines didn’t happen. The book tells the real story behind each GOP fabrication, thereby exposing the ultimate insanity of the party’s actions. In the face of that insanity, any progressive-minded American can only be inspired to fight back, which is what Amato and Neiwert want us to do.

Over the Cliff ends with this entreaty:

The millions of ordinary people who elected Barack Obama president need to be called back to the fray, engaged anew, and empowered to take the nation down another road, one that guides us far away from the cliffs of fear.

What beautiful words to read as we approach November 2, 2010. So, please read, think, and VOTE. Let’s not allow this election to end in a cliffhanger.

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