Amazon Reviews

Posted by Terri McCormick On January - 28 - 2014

Inside Look at Our Political System

By John Chancellor “Mentor coach” (Spring Hill, TN)

Terri McCormick gives us a detailed inside look at the workings of politics at the state and national level. Unfortunately, the picture is not pretty. Politics is a rough and at times very dirty business. It is not governed by ideals and what is best for the constituents. All too often our legislation is determined by special interest groups who control or have an undue influence on our legislators.While I think everyone has some idea about the inner workings of the political machines, this book goes pretty deep to expose the way things really work.The approach of the book is to track Terri McCormick journey as a Wisconsin State Legislator and her run for national office.In my opinion, the book loses some of its punch because she tries to cover too much ground. I believe there are three themes in the book.

The first is her personal journey. While this is interesting and gives a detail look at the workings of the Wisconsin State Legislature, there is a little too much detail that is not of significant interest to those living outside the area.

The second theme of the book is the problems plaguing both political parties. The career politicians are more focused on their own standing and have lost touch with the citizens who elected them.

There is a third theme, how to run a political campaign. While there is some valuable information in that section, the information will be of little interest to most readers.

Terri is very sincere in trying to alarm the public about the current sorry state of our political system. However I believe her message would have been much more successful if she had narrowed her focus and omitted a lot of the material that was specific to her and her experience in the Wisconsin Legislature.

I found the title intriguing, but as she is quick to point out, there is no connection between the title and the content of the book. The major political parties are both plagued by leaders who are more concerned with their own agenda than that of the people.

Terri McCormick throughout the book advocates a strong press as a check on the politicians. While in theory this is correct, I believe that too much of the press has their own agenda and reports the news from their own bias.

The main message of this book is that “We the People” must take a much more active interest in and control over the political process. We must make the elected people accountable.

Unfortunately there seems to be too much voter apathy for people to really do the work necessary to become knowledgeable on the issues and hold the politicians accountable. There is also the entitlement problem. We have become very focused on “What’s In It For Me.” Too many people are willing to tolerate bad legislation so long as they are getting what they want.

A good message but not nearly focused enough in the presentation.

A Republican Populist?

By Retired Reader (New Mexico)

This book is a mixed bag of the personal recollections of a former politician and continuing activist held together by the theme of populism and grass roots activism. It also attempts to provide some guidance in the related arts of running for political office and building a reform movement. This sort of political memoir is fairly common, but this book is unique in this genre in that it actually contains significant and original ideas on politics and governance.

McCormick from all appearances is an idealist who maintains that fast disappearing conviction that the first loyalty of any elective official ought to be to constituents not to party. She is a republican and a conservative, but more in the manner of Thomas Jefferson than Karl Rove.

Her political philosophy closer to the center than that of libertarian republican Ron Paul, but she clearly would be comfortable with many of his ideas. Like Paul she believes that the U.S. Constitution is the definitive blueprint to governance in the U.S. rather than a “living document” containing broad and often ambiguous advice. She is a conservative thinker, but not an ideologue.

She is a critic of the duopoly (Republican/Democratic) hold on power in the state and national legislatures, the tyranny of party over principal, and the focus of both parties on maintaining power in the hands of the select and keeping the status quo. McCormick’s stories of are depressing indeed.

It is encouraging however that McCormick, at least in this book, is a strong advocate for integrity on the part of politicians, the media, and most importantly the electorate. She appears a strong advocate for real fiscal responsibility, educational reform, and an engaged electorate. These are positions only the duopoly could argue with.

When You Get So Mad You Just have To Do SOMETHING

By Kerry Thomas

When political parties and self-serving career politicians care more about winning elections than adhering to the principles they profess, the voters are left to choose between the lesser of two (or more) evils, having to choose the candidate who will do them the least harm, instead of casting their vote FOR a candidate they would actually trust, a candidate they would wholeheartedly endorse, someone they would feel comfortable inviting to their home for a meal, someone they would want their children to emulate.

Occasionally, you do come across someone who has been dragged kicking and screaming into politics, not because they see politics as a career, but who became active in the political process after getting screwed over once too often, someone who got so fed up with their elected representative that one day they decided they weren’t going to take it any more.

Terri McCormick recounts the trials she went through in her political life, the toll it can exact on you and your family, with real life examples of what she endured battling to change a corrupted political system perpetuated y career politicians. It’s not a book many in the Republican hierarchy will embrace, but it does illustrate how politics really works, from an insider’s perspective.If you’ve had it with voting for the political skunk that stinks the least; if you’ve reached that point where you’re so mad at our politicians that you just have to do something, What Sex Is A Republican? will give you direction, and help you channel that anger in a productive positive direction.

Political Junkies!

By Coffee Addicted Writer’s Reviews “Billy” (Midwest)

“What Sex Is a Republican?” is a autobiography of the former Wisconsin State Representative, Terri McCormick. Her childhood and family life is briefly covered in a few chapters. Terri didn’t become a political player until after she became involved in reforming her children’s school. She went up against the teacher union, leading the way for the state to form more chapter schools.The author covers her campaign to become the State Representative of Wisconsin, which she held from 2000 to 2006. During this time, she talks about the mistreatment she encountered from other politicians and media outlets.

It was not because of her sex, but because of her political beliefs.Terri became what I would refer to as a “rare politician” – an official who is working for the people and not their political party. She discusses about the radical partisanship that is in both parties, and the “front row politician” – the party leaderships that pull the strings on the bills and amendments being passed.The book is not a straight autobiography. At times, I felt like I was reading a text book about the corruptions and backstabbing in our government.

Terri McCormick does a good job on writing about how our government has changed. Our country’s founders wanted a nation that was run by the people. It seems the politicians have forgotten about our Constitution, and instead they only think about their parties and their own agenda. The book covers the ups and downs of campaigning, which would be a good guide to read if you are thinking about running for an office seat. I recommend “What Sex is a Republican?” to any political junkie, or just someone who wants to learn how to make some changes in our troubled government.

A Great Book for Tea Partiers

By PatFish1 “Pat” (Georgetown, De)

So okay, I am the perfect person to do a review of this book.

I am, ahem, a Republican, not that I’m necessarily proud of this. I wrote a book, hand to God, titled “Republican Sex” although I have not published the thing.

My book, however, is an R-rated affair, fiction, with a helluva plot and a good story but let’s not go there. When I saw this book up for review I decided it was good for me. I am nothing like this book’s author, either. As the book’s cover asserts: ” Terri McCormick, M.A.-is a public policy and leadership innovator. She was a State Rep to the Wisconsin legislature from 2000to 2006.”

I am a common Blogger.

Here’s what Terri McCormick has to say about Bloggers, from the book:

“Realize that bloggers represent their own interests and are not credible, reliable or subject to the ethics code below”
The little bit of bemused justice here is that this Blogger of her own interests gets to review might Terri McCormick….M.A.(why is this part of her author’s title?)

Which is not to say I did not enjoy the book. In fact I did enjoy the read, I found McCormick’s observations and experiences to be right on, I consider this book a must read for a certain sort of individual, more on this later.

Let’s begin with the title. It makes no sense at all and has little to do with the book’s contents.

McCormick does write almost exclusively about the Republican party and by me she’s got the party mentality, issues and problems nailed dead on. But it has nothing whatsoever to do with sex.

Methinks Ms. McCormick was trying to attract a salacious sort of attention to her offering, a salacious attention that MY book should, without misleading anyone, attract.

Not that my book’s published or anything but we’ve already dealt with that. I’d be too embarrassed to publish my book for the sex scenes but maybe someday, under a pseudonym.

McCormick guides the reader through her story of entry into the political scene, through her trials, and tribulations, in the Wisconsin state legislature. She does give some background of her life, tales of her parents, their story.

This book is not, however, a book written by someone who sees his or her self as a future candidate. Two things make this not the case.

First, Terri McCormick now runs a political consulting firm and leads to the next conclusion that this is not a “meet the candidate” tome…specifically the way it is written.

For rather than getting up close and cuddly with the reader, McCormick writes to an audience learning the political ropes. In fact, this book is written exactly as if for a Political Science course.

It has bolded chapter topics, bulleted chapter conclusions, inspirational quotes to begin the chapter and summaries at each chapter’s end.

Thus it is hardly the stuff one would take along to the beach.

It is, however, a great insight to political machinations.

There are morals to each story. There are great hurrahs and ways to overcome and at times one can almost hear the Battle Hymn of the Republic faintly in the background during the read.

I offer that this is a good thing. I admire Terri McCormick, how she had an idea, how she stuck to her guns. I admire this book which exhorts those with similar ideals should carry on, HOW they should carry on, WHY they must carry on.

It’s not a Pollyanna world, as McCormick readily explains. Her verbally graphical explanation of the “front row” versus the “back row” as well as her run-ins with her nemesis, the “speaker” in the Wisconsin legislature, make clear that there are obstacles but obstacles can be overcome.

It’s a perfect book for a novice political activist. A Tea Partier, for example.

Buy the book. Read it before the upcoming November elections.

Read it before throwing YOUR hat in the political ring.


D. Blankenship (The Ozarks)

As I begin this review, I must admit to being one of those people who love reading and studying the history of politics and various governments, but have absolutely no interest in current politics what-so-ever. I am probably one of the most apolitical animals you will every encounter. When I first received this work for review, my soul let out a little bit of a groan and I buckled grimly down and began my reading with more of an attitude of facing a distasteful chore than enjoying a good read. I must say I was wrong; I thoroughly enjoyed this work by a person, Terri McCormick, who is a rather remarkable person.

By the author’s own admission, the title of this work is a bit misleading right from the get-go. When the reader starts with the first page he or she should be prepared to exchange the word Republican with that of Democrat at any given point in the book.

While Mrs. McCormick is indeed a Republican, she is certainly not a Republican apologist. As you read her words you must throw out any preconceived notion or stereotype of the extreme Right Wing-nut. It helps if you catch on very quickly that she is more of a centrist populist than anything else.

This was a blessing from a personal point of view as I have little patience with either the extreme right or left and have strong feelings that our nation would be quite better off without either.

Anyway, this book recalls the author’s career in Wisconsin politics both at the State and Federal level. Her main focus seems to be on encouraging more people to get involved with the workings of their government; to become more aware of what is going on and to take what ever action they are capable of taking. To be frank, there is some very grim reading between the covers of this book.

Again, I was sort of comforted by these tales as they more or less reinforced many of the assumptions I have already made.

We all love to have our beliefs endorsed and reaffirmed from time to time and I found myself well rewarded here.As one reviewer has pointed out, Terri McCormick has at least three objectives in this book. She has told her personal story, she has given us a first hand glimpse into the world of politics and she is making a very fine effort to encourage people to get involved and run for office themselves; to make meaningful changes, if you will.

From a personal point of view I was more interested in her personal story and in her “insider” tidbits than anything else. My perception and belief that Machiavellian politics are alive and well in our country were and are well founded as attested to by this author.

One need only blink their eyes a bit; adjust their place in time just a tad, and we could well be getting a first hand view of the Byzantine Court of several centuries ago and indeed, even drift to Italy and join the merry House of Borgia at times. It is all quite disgusting and sadly discouraging I fear.

A goodly part of this book outlines campaign and leadership strategies. I certainly am not qualified to comment on the author’s ideas and suggestions here, but will admit that many to most of them made a lot of sense to my mind.

This is a very practical, realistic and transparent lady here and she more or less says it the way it is. Each reader must make their own mind up about that aspect of the work though.

I liked this book. It was well written and sends out a very powerful message. I am afraid the message was lost on me though as I would probably feel more comfortable in joining High Sea Pirates than get involved with the political situation as it stands now…I simply would not have the stomach for it. Not to say that I do not admire people like Mrs. McCormick that are willing to do so…my goodness we need more like her, it is just that I certainly could not be counted among them.

Don Blankenship – The Ozarks

This book gives a candid view of politics.

By Robert G Yokoyama (Mililani, Hawaii)

What Sex is a Republican is a well written book. I enjoyed reading about Terri McCormick’s successful pieces of legislation involving veterans property tax and environmental issues with Fox River in Wisconsin. She makes me care about issues in a state I do not live in. She implores voters to elect people who have integrity, and she encourages people to run for office if they have the passion and desire to do so. There is a lot of corruption from people who sit in the front row in politics, but McCormick is hopeful that the political climate can change if citizens get involved. She provides information that I have never read in a political book before. She gives the reader the elements of a successful policy plan. The information is interesting to me, even though I am not interested in a political career at the moment.

I liked looking at the photos at the end of the book.

There is a photo of Terri with Adrian Cronauer. He is the subject of the Good Morning Vietnam, a movie that I love. I wish this book had foot notes at the bottom of the page. This is the only criticism I have about the book. This book has end notes instead. Foot notes would make the book easier to read and follow. By the time I got to the end of the book, I forgot the relationship between the source and the end note. I had to go back and read certain parts over again. I really enjoyed reading this book though.

Don’t Let the Feminista Title Fool You!

By Stephen Kastner

“The political class would have you believe that it is all about ideology – left/right or liberal/conservative – but is it? What if I told you that the political class in both major political parties is only interested in reelection… in a quest for power and control.” – Terri McCormickThere is an ever-increasing divide forming between the American people and “the system” that governs them. It’s not drawn in Red vs Blue, neither liberal nor conservative. No matter what side of that “aisle” you place yourself on, the average American feels like something is fundamentally wrong with the way policy is being formed and implemented on both a national and a global scale. The once silent majority has become much more vocal, empowered by blogs, social media communities and instant messaging, rallying at tea parties and launching money bombs.

Terri McCormick writes What Sex is a Republican? from that perspective and opens with a warning, “Do not be bamboozled into thinking that there is any difference between the elites in one political party and the elites in the other, they are all a part of the same club.”In her book, she explains what we can and must do to rescue our once-enviable democracy, starting with, “a return to open and honest debate… now possible due to the the technology of the Internet. Today… we have the ability to create the kind of community that our Founding Fathers envisioned – that is a fully engaged citizenry involved in educating itself on the issues, providing private opinion and acting on behalf of the greater good.

“The Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll recently revealed that less than 10% of people surveyed have “a lot” of confidence in national banks, corporations, or the federal government.”The real question,” she asks is, “When did we the people, as citizen leaders, take a backseat to war chests.” According to her research she traces this decline in populist control of elections to the 1960’s, “…when large amounts of monies poured into political campaigns to buy airtime and advertising messages.”In her case, just following that money trail led her to an ongoing, head-to-head battle with the elite members of her own political party – from Madison all the way to the White House.

First as a private citizen fighting for educational reforms and then as an elected official, serving in the WI State Assembly. For 6 years, Terri McCormick continuously matched wits and outmaneuvered many of her own Republican gatekeepers who tried to make her conform to their top-down management style.She quotes one of her Neenah, Wisconsin constituents, Max Bowen who explains, “Since 2000 the GOP has been run like a street gang. All power is vested in the leaders, and others are to follow with unquestioning loyalty. Talking points are sent from above, and loyal followers are expected to stay on message. Dissent from the ranks is not tolerated.”Terri McCormick blames elitism as one the fundamental reasons we are losing faith in our elected officials, “…the divide is not between left and right, but between the front row and the back row.”

In the Wisconsin Legislature and in her campaign bid for Congress in 2006, Terri McCormick found herself branded a maverick for not following that top-down model of acquiescence. Reading her book is like taking a long hot shower after more than a decade of being splattered with the dung of greedy pigs wallowing in the money-troughs of Wall Street’s swindlers, beneficent corporate lobbyists and wealthy campaign contributors.

“As you read this book,” Terri explains, “you will begin to understand that the politics of governance is not about political party and ideology as much as it is about obedience to the `front row’ – to those party bosses who pay for political elections… the party elites who hold the purse strings and command obedience – if you let them.”

Terri McCormick’s narrative is that of a conservative populist.

She sprung from the grassroots rather than via the political machine, thus her loyalties remain first and foremost with her constituents. Sharing that top-rung in the order of importance is a belief and a track record of making ethical choices over adherence to dictates from Party bigwigs… perhaps the reason why many Republicans break rank and vote for Sen. Russ Feingold.

Populism should be a winning platform plank for members of either mainstream political party in any campaign, but populism doesn’t win party support, as fully evidenced by her last campaign for Wisconsin’s 8th CD in which she effectively ran as a Republican against George W. Bush. You may recall Terri McCormick was facing former Assembly Speaker John Gard in the 2006 Republican primary election when blessings were dispensed from the top down – before the voters ever had a chance to make their voices heard in the ballot box.

McCormick explains, ” …the White House’s spokesman cast me in a news article as an `irrelevant primary candidate.’

Despite my high polling numbers and popularity, the fact of the matter was that I was not a member of the political class. George W. Bush announced that he would be campaigning for my primary opponent – before the primary.”

Terri devotes only a portion of her book to her disillusioning experiences in the 2006 campaign because it is important to realize from where she springs. What happened to her was also foisted upon Republican primary candidates running in Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas and Vermont. McCormick spends much more time explaining how she succeeded tactically as a political reformer:

* starting with the emerging charter school movement as a private citizen

* to overcome corporate manipulations in spearheading the defeat of lobbyists and big business seeking approval for the Crandon Mine Ammendment – a potentially devastating assault on the environment of northern Wisconsin.

* and as a legislator pushing for a bill that would save the State of Wisconsin millions of dollars each year in a Competitive Prescription Drugs Purchasing Pool

If and when we return to selecting our leaders and legislators following the McCormick model, as described in her book, we may begin to restore a government “by and for the people.”

If you plan to campaign for any elected office, please read this book. Then, make a pledge to follow its principles, because Terri McfCormick lays out the guidelines for rekindling faith in our fundamental democracy based on one simple word… integrity.

This original review first appeared in Door County Style Magazine online of which I am the editor and publisher.

A GRassroots Call to Get Involved in Your Government!

By Stephen Edds (Indianapolis, IN)

Terri McCormick has issued a decree to the American people to get up off their couches, quit watching reality TV, and get involved in restoring the Republican party before it’s too late. As McCormick points out, too much of Washington is concerned not with maintaining the conservative principals that got them into office, but maintaining power at any cost. And that cost is passed on to the American people.

McCormick has the experience and the intellect to be a leader of the new group of conservative republicans that can restore the party to greatness. While Sarah Palin is getting all of the attention, the eyes of the party should focus on McCormick.This book is recommended reading for those ready to reclaim their party.

Eye-opening look at state politics

By Paul Lappen (Manchester, CT USA)

This book gives an inside look at present-day state government in America. It is not a pretty picture.The author, a resident of Wisconsin, first got involved in state politics while working to get a law passed establishing charter schools in Wisconsin. It was intended to help those students who don’t fit in the usual classroom setting. The state teacher’s union was not happy. McCormick ran for the state legislature on the Republican ticket, but with a populist philosophy. Solving problems that affect the people of Wisconsin should be uppermost in the minds of all state legislators, right?

Republicans are all about cutting spending, and shrinking the size of government, at least in public. But, heaven forbid that a Republican legislator should propose a bill to actually cut spending. The Republican leadership will make sure that the bill never sees the light of day, and the legislator will be told that if they even think of ever doing that again, they can expect a primary opponent at the next election. Many members of the Wisconsin legislature are there simply to line their own pockets (while McCormick was in the legislature, several senior Republicans were under indictment for fraud).

The next most important job for a Wisconsin Republican legislator was to do whatever was necessary to make the Democrats look bad. Helping the people was at the bottom of the list.Intending to keep McCormick busy and quiet for several months, the Republican leadership gave her a task force, involving Medicare Cost Sharing. After several months of meetings and public hearings, McCormick wrote a bill that would actually save the state some money. She was not supposed to do that.

This is a very eye-opening look at the condition of state government in America. If you think Congress is partisan and inflexible, read this book and see that, frequently, state government is just as bad. This is very much worth the reader’s time.

Read all reviews on Amazon

Terri McCormick honored for excellence in government relations by Cambridge's Who's Who industry experts