"This book examines the struggle between President Obama and the United States Congress to manage federal spending and tax policy for the three and one half years between 2009 and the summer of 2012. More than half the book focuses on the intense 44-day crisis in June and July 2011 when the United States came to the brink of a potentially catastrophic default on its debt."--Note to readers.
Nobody comes out looking particularly good from this account, although I think it's clear that the president and his team were much more invested in and willing to make a large-scale compromise on tax and budgetary policy than the congressional Republicans, who simply come across as reflexively anti-revenue ideologues, willing to take the country to the brink of economic collapse and balance the budget on the backs of the very poor in order to protect the interests of the extremely wealthy.
I wish Woodward had been able to add to the discussion the perspective of some of the hardliners in the House (other than Cantor), since it was that bunch who very nearly kept a deal from happening at all, and who are, as we've seen since, largely responsible for ensuring that pretty much nothing gets done (unless Boehner goes around them as with the fiscal cliff fight, which may be the best possible solution for future debates over the debt limit and other such things).
Like Woodward's other books, a basic tick-tock, offering different participants' own versions of events and filled with little insidery details.
It is nice to hear that some of these folks actually do occasionally try to do the right thing. The book made everyone look bad though--which makes sense because everyone dropped the ball. Very interesting...yet very depressing book.
I thought the author did a good job at being objective in the writing of the book. I did not feel he leaned one way or the other, politically speaking. He made both sides of the aisle look bad. I expected him to paint the story with a liberal brush.
One thumb up.