Doesn't hurt to ask (Trey Gowdy)

Searching for his niche - We liked this book a lot. It's well written, tells many interesting stories (involving both famous people, e.g., Trump, Biden, Tim Scott, et al., and people one never heard of), and lays out some sound principles for the art of persuasion. Ask questions versus hurling opinions and insults, set realistic goals (wholesale conversions are few and far between), master the facts, be open to other views (you could be the one who is wrong), and avoid making things personal.

The coverage of Gowdy's chairmanship of the select committee on the Benghazi attack and the Mueller probe provide revealing insights on why both of these investigations were doomed to failure. This book helps to explain Gowdy's previously expressed view that the current counterattack on the Mueller probe (seen by conservatives as a "witch hunt") isn't likely to yield a raft of criminal indictments. His basic advice is don't set unrealistic goals; aim lower and if things go well over deliver.

Given that Gowdy spent years as a prosecutor, only to resign and run for Congress in 2010, and then bowed out after 8 years to return to the legal world in South Carolina, one can't help but wonder what sort of career this man wants. Maybe he'll wind up as a judge, our guess is that he would be a good one.

Don't expect answers about how the US political system can be fixed or whatever, because, as Gowdy says, this is not a book about politics. His focus is on personal efforts to find common ground on specific issues, which effort is laudable but is not about to repair the deepening partisan divide. The author reveals his lack of engagement with the overall political situation by stating In this book that Republicans regained a majority in the US Senate in 2012 (the shift actually took place in 2014).

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