As readers of The Washington Post and his syndicated column know, Dana Milbank covers politics with snap and crackle. His gift, and his dogged reporting, serve him well in his new book ... Milbank’s book isn’t without flaws. He overreaches at times, and here and there the writing feels rushed or breathless...But these are minor complaints, alongside the book’s considerable merit ... All I know is that after reading The Destructionists, I needed a drink.
If you’ve ever wanted to permanently freeze your television on MSNBC or be locked in the network’s greenroom, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank has written the book for you ... long-winded and often repetitive ... Milbank’s one-sided take breaks little new ground, and will do little to persuade people who do not already share his worldview. It reads like a long opposition-research document compiled by Democrats, which is not surprising given his columns and the fact that his wife, Anna Greenberg, is a Democratic pollster ... The author does make some valuable arguments about the missteps and deceptions of the Grand Old Party. His account of the lead-up to the Iraq war reminds readers of how Bush used the post-9/11 patriotic surge to garner support for an aggressive military effort in the Middle East ... In his Washington Post columns, Milbank displays a certain cleverness and snark that provide enough sugar to help his journalistic medicine go down in 'a most delightful way,' as Mary Poppins put it. Unfortunately, none of that charm is evident in this book, which makes it a challenge to read even when one agrees with his arguments ... Milbank’s selective recounting of contemporary political history is part refresher course, part screed. It would have been more effective and persuasive as a long magazine article rather than a long book.
Milbank takes so many individual Republicans to task in this volume that one wonders: Do those not mentioned feel left out? ... Milbank knows his subject and timeframe...He has a well-honed edge as a commentator and a columnist's way with words. He punches relentlessly, the way a boxer works a speed bag. At times, the less avid reader may feel pummeled as well. But Milbank's fans will not go away disappointed.