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Professor and political analyst Gitlin (former president of SDS) utilizes the current president's political trajectory as a jumping off point for a sprawling discussion of the rise of the republican machine, the reasons behind the democrats' declining fortunes and the impact of this political imbalance on the average citizen. This is a sort of State-of-the-Union update: encyclopedic in scope but eminently accessible and studded with juicy morsels of Capitol Hill gossip, little-known facts and generally excellent writing. The fact that the Democratic National Committee did not have a national voter database until late 2003 is stunning, and Gitlin claims that a perpetual "war on terror" is precisely what the conservative cognoscenti want: "as long as fear is so salient to voters, Democrats will be staggering uphill." Many of Gitlin's conclusions are not necessarily new, but Gitlin's conclusions and suggestions-often missing from such political landscape surveys-for the liberal movement are impressive. His call for a simple but powerful narrative to match that of the Conservatives merits special attention from the leaders of a party made up of (at least) eight distinct voter groups.
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According to journalism professor Gitlin, the Republicans have employed a bulldozer approach to politics in everything from fiscal policy to science to diplomacy, operating with absolute certainty and bolstered by true believers among the conservative movement. What will be the lasting effect on U.S. politics of secrecy, corruption, and international mishaps that have tarnished the American image at home and abroad? What will be the enduring impact of the bulldozer on the future of American politics? Gitlin explores these questions by first analyzing the suspension of reason by much of the American public during the Bush administration that has allowed it to ignore the failures and incompetence for so long. He offers lessons to be learned from the disastrous experience for future elections, politics, and governance. Gitlin examines discontent among Democrats and prospects for a revived progressive movement, following on considerable momentum from the decline of the Bush presidency. He concludes with a section examining the potential for lasting renewal of a progressive politics as bloggers and others move to stop the conservative movement. Bush, VanessaSee all Editorial Reviews