Review by Choice Review
The authors (a political scientist and a reporter for the Wall Street Journal) offer a scathing indictment of influences that "corrupt" the American political system, notably a combination of money and technology. It should be pointed out that the authors are less concerned with the usual themes of the academic literature on corruption--officials using their offices and resources for private gain--than with what has been called "corruption of the political process"--activities that befoul the political waters and serve to undermine public trust in the system. To their credit, they attack both Republicans and Democrats, opening with a look at the rotten underbelly of the 1994 Republican "revolution," then going on to bipartisan campaign "dirty tricks"; the "sale" and "rental" of minority votes; the abuse of the "perks" of office; telephone "sliming" by polls; and vote fraud, new and old. They end with a "Program of Reforms," most of which have been suggested before, and which seem unlikely to come to pass. The book is polemical in the grand tradition of the muckrakers, and good for the soul. There are ample notes and excellent academic references as well. Recommended for all levels. V. T. Le Vine Washington University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
Those attached to the hoopla of electioneering should flock to Batchelor's entertaining account of GOP standard-bearers from Fremont to Bush. Skirting the candidate's performance in office, the author concentrates on conventions and campaigns, spicing his bright prose with contemporary illustrations and editorial cartoons, including the Nast drawings of 1874 that endowed the party with an elephant as its mascot. The author assembles anecdotes and violates strict chronology to excellent effect: the section on the post^-World War II period begins with, of all things, Rose Kennedy's sympathy for Nixon's Watergate woes. A vibrant narrator, Batchelor will keep the politically curious reading from cover to cover. Faux runs the think tank (Progressive Policy Institute) that supplied Clinton with a few of his 1992 campaign ideas and must rankle at Clinton's proclamation that "the era of big government is over." As mimicry of the Republican "narrative," such statements undercut the story Faux believes the party must uphold if it hopes to reverse its 1994 rout. He would like to mute Republican-sounding rhetoric--like that inveighing against deficits--uttered by those whom he labels the "Not-liberals" of the party. He outlines a populist plan of "liberal nationalism" that borrows from Buchananism and builds on long-cherished Democratic desires for reconstructing inner cities and increasing education spending. An ardently argued platform for Democrats dissatisfied with Clinton. A sequel to Dead Right (1994), Frum's latest collection of his recent articles handicaps the Republican presidential primaries, and although the contest is over, the work remains insightful. Gramm was his man, espousing the type of conservatism Frum supports: self-reliance over welfarism, free trade over protectionism. What readers unabsorbed by the party's internecine battles may find more interesting, though, is Frum's analytical reviews of best-sellers: Gingrich's To Renew America, Powell's My American Journey, renegade Republican Kevin Phillips' Arrogant Capital, and McCullough's Truman. Sprinkled with personal essays and an odd one favoring Canadian acquisition of nuclear weapons, the collection bears close attention from GOP supporters, and awareness from their opponents. Broder and Johnson, reporters for the Washington Post, chronicle what to them is the synecdoche of America's political impasse: the fiasco of the Clintons' health system proposals. Although sympathetic to their intentions, the authors indict them for numerous tactical mistakes, charging Mrs. Clinton and an FOB policy wonk (Ira Magaziner) with drafting the plan. Thus short-circuited, the "System rebelled." Dissecting that System at battle stations deploys the authors' seasoned reportorial talents in dramatic fashion, from the president's ad-libbing his launch speech, to the withering counteroffensive from insurance lobbyists, to the disunity of Democratic congressional barons culminating in their electoral repudiation in 1994. Broder and Johnson expose the unedifying spectacle of beltway combat and the hubristic and self-interested forces who conduct it. Limbaugh mocks Lerner as "Hillary's guru," but the Tikkun editor, a practicing psychotherapist, has spent 20 years studying "the destructive consequences of the dominant ethos of selfishness and materialism." In his "call for a post-secularist and postmechanistic account of our human needs and how to address them," Lerner urges that most Americans are deeply dissatisfied in a society that ignores or denigrates personal relationships and spirituality and glorifies selfishness and cynicism. Lerner's "enemy" is U.S. culture's enthronement of the market as the model for all activity, and the reductionist vision of human nature--and human possibilities--this market ideal imposes. Includes analysis of liberals' and conservatives' failures and comments on the Clintons' role in the search for a politics of meaning. Politics isn't all philosophy a
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
This exposé of Gingrich, the Christian Right, and the Republican revolution was still being written at press time. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.