by Sean Hannity
248 pages | Buy this book
In only its first year, Hannity argues, the Obama administration has been radical, even tyrannical, in its “socialist” policies. But rather than whine about it, conservatives should focus their anger strategically. Calm down and think smart, warns Hannity. And above all, keep saying no to Democrats wherever possible.
What's The Big Deal?
There’s nothing new about conservatives lamenting Obama and his policies, but Hannity’s treatise actually offers a game plan for a GOP that desperately wants to return to power. His smartest advice? Stick together. In the fight to unseat Democrats, he warns fellow conservatives, don’t be fooled by the temptation to form a third party. Doing so would only play into the hands of Obama. Tea party, he’s looking at you.
Buzz Meter: Rumble
The fact that Hannity hosts a prime-time show on the highest-rated cable-news network ensures some buzz. Predictably, for a staunchly partisan book, it’s gotten raves from the National Review and The American Spectator. Equally predictable is left-leaning media watchdog Media Matters’ quick assembly of a list of 21 Hannity claims that are false.
One-Breath Author Bio
The Book, In His Words
Yes, the leadership of the Republican Party has often been disappointing—spending too much when in power and failing to oppose Democrats effectively when out of power. But we all agree that any Republican leadership is vastly superior to the disastrous Democratic policies we’ve seen in just this first year of Obama’s presidency” (page 7).
Judging By the Cover
With a large glamour shot of the author against an American-flag background, it’s hard to tell whether Hannity thinks more highly of himself or his country. But beyond the cover, his contempt for Barack Obama is unmistakable.
Hannity has no qualms about appropriating specific political terms for his own fearmongering devices. His favorite: socialism. He tacks on that label to just about everything associated with Obama.
The pendulum swinging between parties is a core truth of Washington. Not so, says Hannity. “At the risk of sounding dramatic, [forming a third party] would be furnishing the final nail in the coffin of this republic,” he writes. “Dramatic”? Nah.
Don't Miss These Bits
1. Where did the GOP lose its way? Hannity offers a frank assessment in chapter 7, but not before blaming it all on the Dems. “The Republicans’ failure to answer the Democrats’ outrageous charges [on the Iraq War, reforming Social Security, and the aptitude of President Bush] contributed to the Republican Party’s losing faith with the public, which in turn contributed to their defeats in 2006 and 2008” (page 177). He also chalks up Republican failures to party leaders’ desire to be loved, rather than to be shapers of good policy.
2. Both conservative and progressive strategists should note Hannity’s battle plan. For starters, he suggests, the anger that’s fueling the tea-party protests should continue. Next, continue to say no at every turn to everything Obama pursues. And lastly, prior to November, craft a vision for the country that’s substantive and positive, not just steeped in anger or even violence (pages 192–196).
3. Hannity also offers predictable prescriptions for key political issues. Energy: keep drilling and mining. Immigration: beef up the borders. The Second Amendment: fight the good fight to expand gun rights. And the Constitution: push lawmakers to only appoint and confirm judges who subscribe to an “originalist judicial philosophy” (page 238), meaning those who tend to lean right.
Swipe this Critique
Hannity’s pocket guide is the epitome of preaching to the choir, which is exactly how it was designed. It is, in many ways, the most detailed assessment to date of how to return his party to power. But his populist tone at times lacks intellectual honesty. He revives the oft-disproved death-panel meme and claims, without providing any evidence, that the White House is organizing violent attacks on tea-party protesters. While Hannity’s plan is specific, his divergences into fanning the flames of outrage likely won’t help solidify his far-right base, which has fractured over the past few years from the GOP’s more moderate core. And, political strategy aside, it makes for a less focused read.
Prose: Hannity keeps his writing quick. The side effect: blanket claims that often lack evidence or rationale.
Miscellaneous: Political-strategy books often rely on historical examples, but Hannity’s fixation on Ronald Reagan leaves one wondering: what about other (living) GOP leaders?
Construction: Some might call it reading-lite. But short words and short chapters cater beautifully to a short attention span.