• Congressman Doc Hastings Online Reviews
Congressman Doc Hastings Online Reviews

Amazon

This is a very well written biography, starting with Doc’s childhood and running through his 10 terms in Congress.

This is a very well written biography of Western Washington’s representative to Congress, starting with his childhood and running through his complete career as a public servant.

The author keeps things moving with an excellent structure. Each chapter covers one 2-year period: an election, the major challenges faced by the U.S., Doc’s response to those challenges, along with the smaller issue of great importance to Doc and Western Washington, but not on the national stage. Each chapter also digs into Doc’s committee responsibilities (Ethics, Rules, Natural Resources) and legislative priorities. It’s disappointing that most of the dirt Doc saw as a member and later leader of the Ethics Committee remains secret.

The book is based on many interviews, with long and insightful quotes from many politicians on both sides of the aisle.

I have a couple of quibbles. The author’s focus on the phrase “voter suppression” is naïve and off base. Having personally witnessed the ballot box stuffing by the King County Democratic Machine, which goes unmentioned here. Any efforts to improve voter roles is not only appropriate but necessary to enjoying a democracy rather than being subjected to an illusion of democracy in Washington State.

Overall, an excellent read.

Martin Stever
July 4, 2018

If you really want to learn how Congress works read this book. It gives you the picture warts and all regardless of your politics. It gives you a picture warts and all. You may wonder how anything gets done.

It made me appreciate more the efforts made these people, even though I may not agree with the direction I feel they are leading us.

Larry J. Green
June 11, 2018

It describes the day-to-day life of a congressman through twenty years of political turmoil – the mundane and the important – providing the reader with rich insider’s view of what it is really like to serve as a member of Congress

Unless you lived in his rural Central Washington congressional district, followed Congress closely, or were interested in nuclear energy, natural resources, or the environment, you probably never heard of Doc Hastings. To many in both the nation’s Washington’s, Hastings was an obscure but loyal Republican foot soldier who served ten terms in Congress between 1994 and 2015. He was reelected every two years by an average margin of sixty-three percent. His unremarkable profile was typical of many members of Congress.

And yet, congressional insiders knew a different Doc Hastings. The Hastings they knew was an influential member of the Republican conference, a close associate of House Speakers Dennis Hastert and John Boehner, an influential member of the Republican Steering Committee, member of the important Rules, Budget, Ethics, Government Accountability, and Natural Resources Committees, and chairman of the Ethics and Natural Resources Committees.

And therein lies one of the delights of this book. It describes the day-to-day life of a congressman through twenty years of political turmoil – the mundane and the important – providing the reader with rich insider’s view of what it is really like to serve as a member of Congress.

But that is only part of what is special about this book. Hastings served in Congress during some of the most difficult and politically-dividing events in recent American history. Elected in the 1994 “Republican Revolution,” he had a ring-side seat for the Clinton impeachment, 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, massive increases in the national debt, the 2008 Great Recession, multiple budget crises, Obamacare, and the 2013 fiscal cliff.

The author convincingly makes the case that each of these issues, as well as countless others, increased the partisan divide in the United States, as well as the political polarization and organizational dysfunction of the Congress during the years Hastings was there. While he had plenty of help, the decisions that Hastings and leadership of both parties made during those years helped set the stage for the election of 2016 and the subsequent Trump administration.

Congressman Doc Hastings: Twenty Years of Turmoil, is part history, part biography, and part civics lesson. The author’s clear and understandable writing style helps to personalize Hastings, tell his stories, and help the reader better understand how Congress actually works. It is a useful and interesting read leading up to the 2018 mid-term elections.

Robert Larson
April 24, 2018

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