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The Conscience of a Liberal: Reclaiming the Compassionate Agenda Paperback – September 3, 2002
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The first part of the book explains Wellstone's unlikely ascension to the Senate (he was once a college professor), and some of his campaign war stories are fun reading for political junkies. One of the most amusing passages describes how he once nearly clocked New York Republican Alfonse D'Amato over a disagreement: "When the train reached the Senate chamber, I jumped out and lunged forward, intending to catch D'Amato and deck him. My body was shaking with uncontrollable anger." Another senator held him back, and Wellstone calmed down.
The bulk of The Conscience of a Liberal, however, is given over to laying out a political agenda that includes universal health care, reversing welfare reforms, prekindergarten education, raising the minimum wage, and campaign-finance reform. He closes with a call for a new politics: "This is not a conservative America.... There is a huge leadership void in this country that the Democratic Party, emboldened by political courage and a commitment to the issues that made our party great, can fill." Sadly, one of the politicians who helped fill that void is now gone himself. Still, his ideas live on. --John J. Miller
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is not perfect. Wellstone uses WAY too many exclamation points, and his writing style doesn't exactly sing. Also, as in far too many other political books, there are too many statistics and figures and a little too much inside baseball.
Yet I found something bracing -- something that made me literally stop and think -- in nearly every chapter, sometimes even every couple of pages. And the personal parts of the book (when Wellstone does something almost no politician EVER does, and writes about true and very real personal difficulties in his life) are downright searing. I've repeatedly read the portion about Wellstone's father's slow death and I cry every time. I found so much to unexpectedly relate to in this book; it was a revelation.
Wellstone was a great and HONEST politician. This world of Bill Clintons and Jack Ryans needs more honest politicians with the enthusiastic spirit of Wellstone!
TWO THUMBS UP!!
author of "Our Brown-Eyed Boy"
Having said that let me rave about this book. I go to Chapter 9 titled A Winning Progressive Politics, where the author notes 'A progressive politics is a winning politics, as long as it is not organized in a way that is top-down and elitist. It must respect the capacity of ordinary citizens and focus on workaday majority issues. I have never understood arguments for the need for politicians to 'move to the center' to get elected. What is the operational definition of 'the center'? If what is meant is that you need to have more votes than your opponent, then I am all for being in the center. But this is too obvious. If what is meant by the center is the dominant mood of the populace -- the issues that are important issues to Americans and what they hope for--then I would again argue for the need to occupy the center. A politics that is not sensitive to the concerns and circumstance of peoples lives, a politics that does not speak to include people is an intellectually arrogant politics that deserves to fail.'
Page 206 of the same chapter 'Clearly, there is a forgotten American majority. It is precisely this America that our politics today fails to serve fully and fairly.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I never did get to thank Senator Wellstone. By the time I was old enough to travel to some event where I might meet him, he was gone. Read morePublished on July 4, 2013 by Amazon Customer
This book is not only insightful into what it takes to become and stay a Senator, Wellstone gives incredible insight into how legislation is passed. Read morePublished on February 8, 2013 by zack Armstrong
I went into this book expecting the liberal version of The Conscience of a Conservative. I wanted a fair defense of liberal values and ideas so that I could understand the other... Read morePublished on August 8, 2012 by Dan
Full Disclosure: Huge Paul Krugman fan. Read several of his books and can't seem to ever disagree with him! Read morePublished on August 31, 2009 by Grant Beehler
For every good and fair minded person to read. It really opened my eyes.Published on November 4, 2007 by Irene Smith
I am disappointed in this book. I expected something more philosophical and/or well written. I admire Wellstone's work as a politician but find his writing rather mediocre. Read morePublished on August 18, 2006 by KATE VANHORN
I was a great admirer of Paul Wellstone ever since the fall of 1990. Although I have lived in Minnesota since 2001, in 1990 I was a college sophomore in another state who was... Read morePublished on April 28, 2006 by Lams712
This is the type of feel good no meat and potatos thinking that permiates the liberal left. An agenda designed to fail from start to finish because the author refuses to accept... Read morePublished on February 8, 2005 by H. Walsh