Alterman, journalist and proud liberal, readies his readership for the coming day when the word liberal is given a wash and rinse after being slimed by conservatives. Arguing that liberals are so downtrodden they may have forgotten who they are, Alterman provides a refresher course, explaining what liberals believe and why liberal policies are reviled, even though most people approve of their basic ideas as long as they aren’t identified as liberal. His insightful examination of so-called liberal problems (secularism, abortion, dovish foreign policy) leads into an extensive and sharp rebuttal of all the crimes attributed to liberals. In ironically entitled chapters—“Why Do Liberals Hate Patriotism?” “Why Do Liberals Blame America First?”—Alterman fights back with facts and wit. He busts myths in “Why Do Liberals Deny America Was Founded as a Christian Nation?” but he owns up to the fact that liberals do like to tax and spend (conservatives do, too, just on different things). Readers of Alterman’s What Liberal Media? (2003) will find some familiar points here, but this rock-’em, sock-’em defense effectively proves that not all liberals are wimps. --Ilene Cooper
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