In his defense of the value of a relatively strong public sector, Jacob Weisberg, a political columnist for New York
magazine and contributing editor of The New Republic
, assigns blame to both ends of the political spectrum for the public's loss of faith in government, finding fault with conservatives for their hypocrisy and liberals for their elitism and racism. Like a number of writers before him, including John B. Judis
), Michael Lind
(The Next American Nation
) and E. J. Dionne Jr.
(They Only Look Dead
), Weisberg offers early 20th-century Progressive Herbert Croly
as a guide to reviving a sense of "nationalist fellow feeling."
From Publishers Weekly
In a thoughtful critique of the anti-big government sentiment that dominates U.S. political discourse, New York magazine political columnist Weisberg charges that Bob Dole, Newt Gingrich and many fellow Republicans are "pseudolibertarians" who use the rhetoric of smaller government but generally support costly federal programs. The pseudolibertarians are "Reagan's true disciples," Weisberg declares, noting that during Reagan's administration, federal spending on social programs, education and agriculture substantially increased. A contributing editor to New Republic, Weisberg also blasts "reactionary liberal" Democrats (e.g., Mario Cuomo, Richard Gephardt) who, in his assessment, dodge the pressing need to balance the budget, revamp a deeply flawed welfare system and check uncontrolled Medicare costs. According to Weisberg, President Clinton fumbled his attempt to forge a new majority coalition when he abandoned his campaign call for a "New Covenant," meaning that government should enlarge opportunity rather than dispense benefits. Skeptical of government funding for the arts but hopeful that government can further broaden goals such as racial progress, Weisberg urges Democrats to return to the pragmatic approach of pre-New Deal Progressives such as New Republic founder Herbert Croly.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.