Condemning what the author sees as the divisive partisanship and polemical half-truths of liberals and conservatives alike, this militant but muddled manifesto urges left and right to unite behind a "politics of creative problem-solving." Satin, publisher of the Radical Middle Newsletter, pushes a poll-certified grab bag of public-private partnerships and wonkish policy nostrums pitched explicitly at professionals (a.k.a. "knowledge workers" or "the creative class") whose only political identity is that of "caring person." The result is a confused, ad-hoc program that aims to achieve great public purposes without aggrandizing government or alienating special interests. Some proposals, like affirmative action based on poverty, not race, represent a fresh take on important issues. Others, such as his energy policy, which is largely a hodge-podge of minor tax incentives for fossil-fuel alternatives, are half-measures. The boldest initiativesa universal health-care plan that uses tax credits to subsidize individuals purchase of private insurance, a universal jobs program that offers employers tax credits for hiring workerschannel their largesse into massive state subsidies to the private sector. Satins often glib analyses of policy issues will not satisfy knowledgeable readers, and in his de-politicized politics of caring, real conflicts seem to be ignored rather than confronted.
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"Mark Satin sees ... radical middle politics as an innovation that's ideally suited to 21st century America." - Nancy Beardsley, Voice of America radio, July 27, 2004
"[O]ne of the most refreshing political books I've ever encountered. ... [M]ust-reading for those who are trying to find a ray of sanity in our present political climate.." - Larry Cox, Tucson Citizen, March 18, 2004
"Passionate, popularized, and personalized, with frequent asides about Satin's [activist] background. ... [A] fresh and often original voice." - Michael Marien, Future Survey, April 2004
"[T]he policy proposals cataloged here don't fii neatly into the standard left / right model. ... [M]oderate in tone and intelligently reasoned - shockingly so." - Gadi Dechter (later appointed to Obama's Commerce Dept.), Baltimore City Paper, February 25, 2004
"Radical-middle politics is ... characterized by 'idealism without illusions,' according to Satin. It is more visinary and imaginative than politics-as-usual, but it 'faces the hard facts on the ground'." - Robert Olson, The Futurist, January-February 2005
"Satin firmly believes that the current system can't lead to the moderate majority he wants. The most 'radical' thing about Mark Satin's Radical Middle is the extraordinary depth of the author's belief that identifying solutions to America's problems depends on spurning conventional party politics." - Ed Kilgore (policy director, Democratic Leadership Council), The Washington Monthly, June 2004
"[M]akes a lot more sense than ... the many braying pundits at the edges of the national parties." - Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2004
"[Satin] is quick to stress that he doesn't necessarily have the right answers, and that his proposals are merely opening salvos in an ongoing debate over what constitutes radical-middle solutions." - Leif Utne, Utne Reader, September-October 2004
"Satin ... attempt[s] to lift politics to a higher level of discourse. His concise commentary [is] mixed with several parts idealism, a good dose of realism, a touch of spirituality, and always heaps of common sense." - Carter Phipps, EnlightenNext: The Magazine for Evolutionaries, June-August 2005
"Concludes with a three-chapter section offering sugestions to help readers implement Radical Middle values in society." - Jill Ortner, Library Journal, May 1, 2004
"[T]he notion of a politics of the 'radical middle' [has been] articulated most persuasively by Michael Lind and Mark Satin." - Leonard J. Santow and Mark E. Santow, Social Security and the Middle-Class Squeeze, Praeger, 2005
"[O]ne of the most important reads of the last five years ... and it's easy to read!" - Tony Trupiano, The Tony Trupiano Show, Michigan Talk Radio Network, July 21, 2004