Author and Ambassador Ira Shapiro worked twelve years as a senior senate staffer and served as a leading U.S. Trade negotiator during the Clinton Administration. In his book The Last Great Senate: Courage and Statesmanship in Times of Crisis, he delves into the period between 1977 and 1980. The imperial presidency of Richard Nixon has collapsed and fortunately for the nation, the elder wise man of the senate stepped up to the plate.
Former Senator Gary Hart described the US Senate as “a controlled madhouse,” but in this book you will get a very detailed view of the issues from the bailing out of New York City, the Panama Canal treaty, to the setting of new ethical standards.
William Byrd and Howard Baker were only a few of the men that used this branch of government to get things done. Shapiro does give an unflattering view of the then newly minted President Carter that often butted heads rather than effetely work with the others. He also chronicles how the challenge by Ted Kennedy and the hostage crisis did damage to Carter’s re-election chances in 1980.
This period came to a close with the Reagan revolution and was the start of an era of deep partisanship. Maybe this book will showcase how our current leaders need to rise to the occasion and act like statesmen to center their energy on solving our nation problems.
The Last Great Senate: Courage and Statesmanship in Times of Crisis by Ira Shapiro
2012 Perseus Books 476 pp
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