Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley on Republican Gomorrah: "Terrific...but appalling."
Jane Smiley’s review, from the Huffington Post:
About twenty years ago, I read an article about a death row inmate who had shot a clerk in a convenience store. The way the murder was presented by the man on death row was mysterious–his hand just rose up and the gun went off. Shooting the clerk in the face in the midst of a robbery wasn’t in fact his fault. He never said, “I shot a man.” It just happened.
I thought of that man while reading Max Blumenthal’s terrific, but also, of course, appalling new book, Republican Gomorrah. Apparently there isn’t a single person in the present incarnation of the Republican party who does anything. Things happen–God does it. Satan does it. No Republican is an agent of his or her own success or failure, sin or redemption. It just happens.
The consequences of this lack of responsibility are there for all to see–screaming threats, guns at rallies, unhinged behavior every time a Republican doesn’t feel the way he or she wants to feel, absolute sense of powerlessness leading directly to an absolute will to power. Because that was the thing that struck me about the murderer in the 7-11–he had the power and in his own last moments, the clerk knew it. But the killer, no matter how well armed, never felt it.
Republican Gomorrah is a frightening book because it is clear to all of us on the outside that the various Republican operatives who surround James Dobson and his ilk have no consciences and will stop at nothing. They invoke the name of God for purposes that shame God absolutely–hurting, destroying, maiming, and damning others who either don’t accept their beliefs or don’t acknowledge their power and righteousness. Of course that is frightening.