Book Review - "American Underdog" by Congressman David Brat


The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link in the right side bar. American Underdog written by Congressman David Brat discusses how Americans need to return to the moral and economic lessons of Classical Greece and Judeo-Christian values. He emphasizes the need to protect future generations through a solid Conservative agenda. The Congressman was interviewed regarding important issues of the day. People might think of him as the 21st Century “Mr. Smith”, or “Dave” Kovic. David Brat resembles these movie characters, a citizen politician, a single voice who tries to put their imprint on American politics and policy. Brat is known for his odds defying win in 2014 against the then House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Brat was a little known economics and ethics professor who ran against the Washington establishment of his own party. He noted in the book, “In politics, I believe that true power derives from the people…I began my run for office out of the simple recognition that the establishment and oversized federal government are out of touch with the desires of voters and more responsive legislators are needed immediately.” Winning the Congressional seat for the 7th District of Virginia was a spark that preceded the recent rise of Donald Trump and the Brexit election where voters want leaders to represent them, not a bunch of elitists. He commented, “Lovers of liberty everywhere should cheer the Brexit vote. The British chose clearly and decisively to take their power back from elites in Europe and to throw off the shackles of punishing rules and regulations handed down by disconnected and unaccountable officials. The people of my district, just as the people of Britain did a few days ago, proved that regular people with legitimate concerns, who play by the rules but feel like they are treated as second-class citizens in their own country, will speak out. The English need to reclaim their culture, borders, and a free economic system.” What is important for the Congressman is returning to what he considers the three pillars of America’s foundation: moral tradition, rule of law, and the free market system. He compares what happened in England; how a nation state, took back its sovereignty, to what should happen in the US, with states’ rights and the Congressional branch regaining their power. He noted, “The Tenth Amendment says the Federal Government has certain powers, but the rest belongs to the states. Then there is Congress. I am working with Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) regarding an Article I project, which says Congress should make all laws. The Senator has a picture in his office from 2013, which shows how Congress passed five inches of law compared to the Executive Branch, the President, that had eleven feet. This is a huge difference. This is happening because Congressional members do not want to take a hard vote on anything.” He cites three examples. First, the Corker Bill allowed for the passage of the Iran Nuclear Deal. “This was unconstitutional because it changed the Senate voting on treaties from a 2/3 vote to a 1/3 vote. Another example is Congressman Brian Babin (R-TX) who tried to stop the refugee flow into this country from terrorist hot spots. “Yet, the Republican leadership refused to consider it, but put a 400% increase in H2B visas in last year’s budget. They did not do the right thing, and moved 180% in the opposite direction.” His final example is how then Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) promised that he would thwart President Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty. “However, we did not fight it at all. We did nothing. The standard joke in Washington is ‘it is easy to compromise. Just vote to spend more money.’ In the last two years we had three million immigrants and just last months job report said we created only 38,000 jobs. Do the math on the job front. 0.7% growth is not sustainable. This is what I am trying to change.” The book also explains in great detail how Congress must deal with the issue of mandatory spending. He noted to, “In ten years all Federal revenues will go only to our mandatory programs, such as Social Security and Medicare. There will not be a dollar left for the military, education, transportation, or anything else. We will have to deficit finance the entire budget. This is coming from the report of the Congressional Budget Office. As representatives, we need to tell the American people about taxes and spending. We need to explain how our children will not have any basic systems in about fifteen years. We should be presenting in a clear and understandable way the different options and what will result from each. We are not doing this. Republican leadership has left a giant vacuum.” Congressman Brat has taken a pledge to only serve for twelve years. He thinks part of the solution is to have Congress make hard choices, and to have term limits. If there were more Representatives like Brat something might actually get done in Congress. He is the real life Mr. Smith and Dave, humble and honest with good ideas. Now if only others in Congress can follow his lead.

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