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Take It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future Hardcover – January 10, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Printing edition (January 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074327752X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743277525
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,118,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An intelligent, carefully outlined strategy to seize power from the Republicans and restore it to its rightful place slightly left of center, this book (despite Carville's "Ragin' Cajun" claim to gonzo liberalism) is remarkably reasonable and cleverly calculated to appeal to a broad spectrum of Americans. Carville and Begala have a solid grasp of the issues that concern the majority of citizens: moral values, political corruption, taxes, health care, energy issues and, of course, the war in Iraq. They are most persuasive when arguing for seemingly common-sense policies: their energy plan-conservation, environmental remediation and making a "real commitment to alternative fuels"-is based on the handling of the energy crisis of the 1970s that saw the U.S. cut energy use and oil imports while growing the GDP. Regarding health care, the authors argue for allowing employers to buy into the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program, which offers 180 different plans to 9 million government employees. Some of the authors' arguments are harder to swallow; for example, the extremely speculative notion that had Al Gore been elected president, 9/11 could have been averted. And criticism of Republican leadership often devolves into name-calling and mudslinging. (Jack Abramoff, in a stroke of timely luck, receives his own section titled "The King of Republican Sleaze.") That aside, Carville's and Begala's book is a refreshing entry into a field long overcrowded by polarized, pedantic screeds.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

With the inimitable styles for which they are known, Democratic political consultants Carville and Begala dissect the 2000 and 2004 elections when Republicans triumphed over Democrats and take a long-range look at the national impact of the Bush-Cheney years. Rather than cry over the recent losses, Carville and Begala applaud the strengths of the Republicans and strongly advise the Democrats to recast the respective images of the two parties and take the lead on social and cultural issues. On abortion, Democrats need to stand up to pressure groups and advocate to reduce the need for abortions; on gun control, they should respect gun owners and enforce the laws already on the books; on Iraq, they should challenge Bush to win the war and respect the military; on energy, they should push for independence on oil; on taxes, they should advocate for taxation of wealth. Citing numerous instances of Democrats shying from identification with religion, the consultants strongly advise that those who have such beliefs should express them, and the party should point to the religious basis of policies to provide for the poor and protect the environment. With great humor and frequent jabs at the Bush administration--Louisiana native Carville is particularly incensed about the handling of the New Orleans flooding--these consultants offer a thoughtful and passionate appeal for change in the Democratic Party and the nation. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

What the book does not say explicitly is that you cannot fight unreason with reason.
kaioatey
If the Democrats elect to follow the advice given in this book (and they will not) they will quickly become the majority political party in America, again.
William Mann
Their book is definitely worth buying and worth reading, and it makes a lot of good points.
Robert David STEELE Vivas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Old MacDonald on January 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was challenged by a friend to read this and try to refute the facts brought up by the authors about the current rampant corruption in the Republican Party. Honestly, as a former Republican voter, I have to agree with the authors.

1. The current Republican Party is not my father's party, nor the party I thought it was.

2. The amount of corruption in this Republican Party and current administration would make turn of the century Robber Barons blush.

3. The evidence cited in the book is irrefutable. The current Republican Party and current administration do not have our (Americans) best interests at heart. To them it is Party first, Greed second and maybe, Americans a distant third.

Lastly, what makes this book all the more readable is the fact that they (authors) own up to the horrible mistakes made by the democrats in the last two presidential elections. I hate to admit it, but if democratic strategists follow the steps to 'take back' the government, as outlined in this book, my former party is in big trouble.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Eric English on January 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is the first truly ground-breaking contribution to the "How on earth can Democrats win if they couldn't even beat Bush in 2004?" genre. Carville and Begala stake out a position that bridges the gap between bold Progressivism and DLC-style triangulation.

Make no mistake about it: while this book calls for a big tent attitude on issues like abortion, it is decidely NOT another rallying cry for a retreat to the center. Contrasting their vision to the moderate, wishy-woshy "something for everyone" campaigns Democrats have waged (and usually lost) in recent years, Carville and Begala demonstrate that Democrats can win when they have a strong, simple message rooted in morality and principle. They make a persuasive case that an anti-corruption, pro-energy independence, pro-tax fairness, and pro-health care agenda is both good policy and good politics. Best of all, they do so with considerable wit and charm, annihilating the common Republican depiction of liberals as "elitist" and "politically correct." In both content and form, an indispensable guide to progressive political strategy.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on January 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Democrats have failed at the basics: defining their message, attacking their opponents, defending their leaders, inspiring their voters. "Take It Back" is focused on a set of issues believed to have cost Democrats recent elections, and presents alternative approaches.

The Kerry-Edwards ticket carried only 8 states outside the Northeast, while Republicans took 97 of the 100 fastest growing counties with a margin of 1.7 million. The Republicans did it on the basis of being regular guys (vs. Democrats seen as snots). Bush tied Kerry among college graduates, but beat him 53 to 47 among the non-college group.

Bush's campaign portrayed Kerry as weak, waffling, and weird. No president has lost re-election in wartime - knowing this, Bush used 9/11 as his answer to everything. Portrayed the election as "a choice, not a referendum" in response to Bush's low poll numbers. Attack, attack, attack - that was the Republican focus - Kerry's not one of us. Conversely the Democratic Convention banned attacks on Republicans.

Abortion: The percent of abortions dropped from 28 to 24.5 under Clinton (was unchanged under Reagan) - the authors sees this as partly due to the expanding economy, and the Clinton commitment to sex education and contraception. Democrats should also stress that being "pro-life" means doing something regarding jobs, health insurance, and support for mothers.

Americans are conflicted on abortion - they don't want to ban it, but do want to restrict it. (Examples include precluding abortions during the last three months, wanting the M.D.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Chad Clanton on January 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
For any Democrat depressed or disillusioned about our country's future, this is just what the doctor ordered.

Carville and Begala tell us why achieving real reform isn't about moving left or veering right. It's about staking out clear positions and fighting for them -- on affordable health, national security, energy independence, tax reform and more.

They challenge Democrats to put their faith into action, and refuse to sit back and let extremists define America's values. They remind us that it's the Bible, after all, that says, "Be not afraid," and that Democrats can't be timid, weak or wishy-washing on values debates.

Here's the bottom line: this is a powerful book that, if followed, will help Democrats win the White House back. It's clear that Carville and Begala are more than brilliant political strategists. They are true-believers that want our country to do better.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Wesley Mullins on January 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
James Carville and Paul Begala are tired of losing; they want to win. They believe the first step for their party (Democrats) to get back in the winning ways is to take an honest look in the mirror and then *gasp* learn a lesson from the Republicans.

By covering most of the important political issues and dissecting why each has contributed to the current status of Republican dominance in elections, the authors provide alternatives for Democrats. Rather than being consumed by absolute, unyielding devotion to abstract principals, the authors stress the importance of more pragmatic policies that will remain true to liberal principals but won't draw lines in the sand that moderates won't cross.

Where is the precedent for this type of compromise working? Across the aisle in the Republican Party. The authors show how the Republicans have won the PR war in the last two elections, presenting a wolf in sheep's clothing to voters. By voicing more populist opinions on issues like affirmative action, the Republicans have been able to appeal to the people in the middle, even if (in the author's opinion) they have been disingenuous about their beliefs. Democrats, on the other hand, have focused on the most extreme issues and have driven many from the middle away.

Even though Democrats win major points in public opinion on the issues of health care, political reform, energy, the environment, tax cuts for the wealthy, the support they gain is lost when the radical leftists in the party force universal allegiance to their opinions on abortion, gun control and national security. Or better said, for every person who loved Bill Clinton, there is someone who hates Michael Moore.
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