I don't usually make recommendations for gifts (other than gift cards!), but this year, I can think of one gift that would be most appropriate this Christmas, er, "holiday" season. It's the best political book I've read this year--Michael Graham's That's No Angry Mob, That's My Mom.
The WTKK-FM host's book should be considered the first great book about the Tea Party movement. With his characteristic humor, Graham traces the origins of the movement (reminding us that it's Seattle-based activist Keli Carender, not CNBC's Rick Santelli, who should be considered the founder of the movement), the attempts to discredit and smear the movement as a front for anti-Obama racial bigotry, and the movement's initial political successes (including Scott Brown's historic victory in January 2010).
That's No Angry Mob, That's My Mom is a written documentary, capturing the hopes and frustrations of those who joined the effort to compel our government to be fiscally responsible. Graham makes clear that the image of Tea Party members as uneducated, frothing-at-the-mouth haters is nothing more than a false stereotype, one that hurts average Americans.
I was initially a skeptic of the Tea Party movement for a number of reasons, one of which was the notion that Tea Party members wanted to "take this country back." "Back to what?" I thought. "The big-spending Bush years?" Graham argues that what the Tea Party movement actually wants is to take this country forward--to a time when the government is actually accountable to its citizens.
One cannot fully appreciate or understand the Tea Party movement without reading Graham's book. I'd actually recommend giving the book as a gift to progressive friends: if they can get past the subtitle ("Team Obama's Assault on Tea Party, Talk-Radio Americans"), they will find a work that gives them new insight as to the motivations of those who voted to return the House to GOP control.
The Tea Party movement--a movement that skeptics like myself thought would flame out--is burning stronger than ever. That's No Angry Mob, That's My Mom documents this political climate change. I had the pleasure of interviewing Graham last April, and during that interview I told him that his book was "the definitive word about the Tea Party movement."
My opinion hasn't changed. It has only grown stronger.
That's No Angry Mob, That's My Mom is the gift that keeps on giving wisdom.