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False Hope: The Politics of Illusion in the Clinton Era Paperback – March, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Solomon, coauthor of two critiques of the media ( Adventures in Medialand and Unreliable Sources ), here offers an impassioned if somewhat meandering essay warning that progressives should not expect President Clinton and his cohorts to deliver the fundamental change the country needs. A product of 1960s activism, Solomon reflects on both the symbolic and political links between Clinton and JFK (to the detriment of both), and he recounts the failure of presidents over the past 30 years to deliver concrete change. He assails the narrow focus of the news media, including public broadcasting, and points out trenchantly that the current political emphasis on the middle class obscures the wide gap between rich and poor. Discounting rhetorical defenses of Clinton--such as "we have to be realistic"--Solomon refuses to join the bandwagon, noting the administration's support for nuclear weapons and continuing aid forhuman-rights-abusing governments such as Turkey's. Our country, he suggests, is in denial, and activists must attack corporate power by organizing into both political and community coalitions.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Smith, the editor of the Progressive Review, presents a manifesto/attack from the left on President Clinton. Adopting some basic tenets from the Green Movement, the current Progressive Party advocates environmentalism, decentralized government, and the revitalizing of the cities by promoting a sense of community based on individual responsibility. In the progressive view, the ultimate political conflict is not between liberals and conservatives but between huge government, big business and the individual. Smith amplifies this thesis through case studies about NAFTA, healthcare, and welfare reform. President Clinton is seen as a political manipulator and a preserver of the Bush-Reagan status quo. William Greider's Who Will Tell the People: The Betrayal of American Democracy (LJ 5/1/92) was a more vivid expose about the growing chasm between the government and the people it is supposed to serve. However, Smith's update of Clinton's contribution to this unabated sense of alienation is frightening and warrants consideration. Solomon lobs stronger broadsides, viewing Clinton as a dupe of big business who is more concerned about invoking the myths of John F. Kennedy's Camelot than he is about actually working to end poverty. Solomon's essays include rambling attacks on the media as tools of corporate power and Clinton's failed environmental and economic policies. As a Progressive, the author repudiates the Republican and Democratic parties, claiming that neither is capable of confronting social problems. Unfortunately, he only mentions grass-roots protest as a means of changing the political agenda. This is ironic because Solomon devotes much of his book to describing the entrenched power of business and government that would probably overwhelm small community protests. Of the two books, Smith's is more appropriate for public libraries.
Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, Pa.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Common Courage Pr; First Edition edition (March 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1567510248
  • ISBN-13: 978-1567510249
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,590,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eric H. Roth on September 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
An angry, often insightful, and sometimes tirade against the "corporate takeover" of the once-liberal Democratic Party written by a media critic for Fairness and Accuracy in the Media. The author's leftwing bias is clear and upfront as he documents the rise of the Democratic Leadership Council (Senator Leiberman is the current chair - and VP candidate) as the latest chapter in neglect and oppression of poor minorites. Solomon concludes, "to accept the mirage of a humanistic Clinton administration it helps - enormously- to be white and not poor." Written in 1994, this book anticipates the tensions between Clinton and more hardline environmentalists and union activists concerned about the World Trade Organization.
False Hope's harsh, and it is very harsh, critique of the Clinton Administration's origins, motives, and consensus solutions sounds too harsh for my ears. Still, False Hope offers a breezy if depressing read that might be helpful as voters consider whether to promote Gore and Leiberman to the White House. The question remains whether false hope is better than no hope?
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