A disillusioned conservative delivers a spirited critique of the Republican Party’s deterioration since George W. Bush’s presidency.
Readers might expect a punchy argument from a book entitled “Stupidparty,” and debut-author Andendall provides exactly that. Acknowledging off the bat that such a title might serve as a signal to readers that what follows is “contentious,” he explains that the terminology was introduced into the political lexicon in 2013 in a speech given by the Republican governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal. Whatever the attribution, this isn’t a book for those in search of rhetorical moderation or gentle understatement. Andendall describes himself as a disaffected conservative frustrated bywhat he describes as the Republican Party’s precipitous decline in basic rationality as they consistently embrace unsupported myth over settled fact. “How can such an alternate myth-driven reality occur?” he wonders. The book is exhaustively researched by a political junkie: Andendall manages to cover everything from voter fraud and global warming to Keynesian economics and creationism. The pugnacious prose is accompanied by a series of visual aids, which include satirical cartoons, humorous pie charts and a puzzle about the “Stupidparty.” The author, however, often chooses entertainment value over sustained argument: The first two chapters are essentially lists of quotes, sans context or explanation, meant to allow wayward Republicans to incriminate themselves. Often hilarious, the actual analysis provided can be very astute; for instance, with genuine empirical rigor and élan, Chapter 11 (“Environmental Stewardship = Better Capitalism”) dissects the problem of disenfranchised farmers as a political constituency. Yet it’s hard for such a rollicking ride not to sometimes turn strident, and at the very least, readers might grow weary of the constant repetition of the term “Stupidparty.” Referring to a list of the Republican Party’s vices, the author seems to acknowledge precisely this failing: “For the sake of succinctness and ironic humor this list may be somewhat oversimplified”—a similar criticism that could be applied to this book as a whole.
A fast-paced, wryly humorous read for those who are looking for entertainment first, political edification second.