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Had Enough?: A Handbook for Fighting Back Hardcover – December 2, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Veteran political strategist James Carville has always had a knack for being concise. He is, after all, credited with coining "It's the economy, stupid" while directing the 1992 presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. And as host of CNN's Crossfire, he favored a combative in-your-face approach that stood in stark contrast to the stereotype of the mushy liberal. In Had Enough, Carville, along with co-author Jeff Nussbaum, takes that economic phrasing and aggressive style to offer a handbook for lefties tired of losing arguments and elections. To point out how fundamentally misguided he believes the GOP to be, Carville goes straight to the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. While Republicans can be credited with providing for the common defense, Carville says, they have failed miserably on all other directives issued by the founding fathers on what government is supposed to do, including promoting the general welfare, establishing justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, and securing the blessings of liberty for ourselves and posterity. Although the arguments are not remarkably different from those made in a slew of other lefty books (Bush's tax cuts favor the rich, Republicans seek to curtail civil liberties), the book also offers "Had Enough" solutions to pressing issues of public policy that will come in handy for liberals looking to defeat a conservative brother-in-law in a political argument or even hold their own on Crossfire. These solutions always sound eminently reasonable, although that's due in large part to their being contrasted to Carville's interpretation of Bush and company's approach ("Use everything as an excuse to dig, drill, and burn.") Still, Carville and Nussbaum make a cogent, impassioned, and highly entertaining indictment of the Bush administration, which, combined with a smattering of incongruously placed but nonetheless tempting Cajun recipes, makes Had Enough a worthwhile read. --John Moe

From Publishers Weekly

For liberals who think Al Franken and Michael Moore show too much restraint, the Ragin' Cajun launches another no-holds-barred assault on the conservative powers-that-be. Carville's shtick remains intact, so the political commentary is saturated with jokes about being married to a Republican, stories about his family down in Louisiana and recipes for barbecue shrimp and bread pudding. But if you thought he was mad before, wait until Carville tears into George W. Bush and his administration. Not content with merely attacking Bush's Iraqi war strategy, Carville denigrates the entire war on terrorism, reminding readers that Senate Democrats proposed tougher homeland security proposals that the president consistently rejected. He also suggests that not only could Gore have handled 9/11 better, it probably wouldn't even have happened. And he's just getting started at that point, gearing up for tough criticism of tax cuts, school vouchers, tort reform and other GOP policies. But finger-pointing isn't enough; Carville provides a "nice little progressive playbook" of counterstrategies to rebuild economically and socially the way he says only Democrats can. It's hard to tell sometimes whether he's putting on his pitbull act: the "fuel or freedom" tax on SUV owners is probably satirical, but a full ban on contributions to incumbent congresspeople is so radical it's got to be serious. As Howard Dean recently proved, Democratic candidates still turn to Carville for talking points, so don't be surprised to see some of these proposals raised on the campaign trail next year.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (December 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743255755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743255752
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #741,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By C. Haaker on January 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is James Carville's first rule for Democrats. His excellent book details what the Democratic Party has to feel proud about, which includes Social Security, Medicare, public schools, regulation of the financial markets, food safety, etc ... basically, examples of the government performing actions that benefit its people. He contrasts this with the current neo-conman government of Mr Bush and his father's staff, which has been a "pay to play" operation restricted to participation by the wealthy. Then Carville proposes progressive (aka "liberal") solutions.
This is a great book to get Democrats, maybe even Greens, fired up and ready to engage in the Political Process. To provide that additional kick in the a$$ (the book uses a lot of foul language*), Carville leaves the reader with a list of things they can do, concluding with "Be Positive" (and a recipe for bread pudding with hard sauce.)
If you're angry or depressed with the current state of the nation, read this book! Then resolve to take at least one "action" per week.
footnote: * Mr Carville is inclined to use salty language, as does Al ("Lies and the Lying Liars") Franken. For this reason, conservatives will probably want to avoid this book, so as not to get their delicate sensibilities offended. But genuine conservatives might learn something about how "their" government has been acting since Mr Bush began squatting in the White House, so I recommend they give "Had Enough" a try, too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
James Carville in some ways is preaching to the choir. The people who buy and read the book are for the most part already in agreement with him. His greatest value is that he provides focus. We all know the economy has gone south, education is in a crisis, we are disliked by the world community, the war has not turned out well, and welfare systems are in grave jeopardy. He gives us reasons why these things happened, and then builds a structure for fixing the problems. He does it with raucous humor and keen insight. He also talks about his mamma, and so we know he is a good man. This is a good handbook for Democrats and it would also be a good eyeopener for Republicans, if they could just open up their minds long enough to glimpse how the rest of the country lives. Anyone who has lost his job, or can't afford health insurance, or is looking forward to Medicare and Social Security needs to understand what is happening and what can be done about it.
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Format: Hardcover
Had enough is James Carville's best book to date. On the cover he sports a shiner which reminds readers of his committment to change, and to getting this country back on track. He looks just like an ol' junkyard dog. He aims to go after the Republican right-wing and get his readers stewed up in the process.
Speaking of stew, he has several of his mamma's, Miss Nippy's, down home Cajun recipes in the book, and Republicans can buy it just for the culinary hints. Of course, they might want to shy away from Carville's own recipe for roast elephant, though I find it quite appealing.
This Cajun version of Howard Beale has had enough, and his book tells readers not just his gripes, but what he intends to do about them. And he tells readers not just to complain but to do somethin.' First, he tells them to stop apologizing for being liberal or progressive, thus the review's title and the book's premise. Repulicans should apologize not us. This admonition is the first of "Ten Rules for Progressives to Live by."
Carville is no vacillating analyst; he is an infromed, unaplopgetic, partisan with a penchant for factual evidence, something sorely missing in many a right-wing argument he would argue. He tells Democarts that we have to articulte solutions not just problems. He offers a charming story by the late Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburne. He likened the Democratic party to a donkey who could kick down a barn, but darn if he find it in him to build one. Carville teaches progressives to build a movement.
The focus of his book is on the six purposes of government enumerated in the Preamble to the Constitution. He looks at domestic policies and issues that are meant to fulfill these objectives.
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By A Customer on November 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
While recent months have brought a number of excellent books expressing liberal political views and correcting the dishonesty of those on the right, Carville adds practical advice and guidance to help people make a difference.
This belongs on your shelf along with the recent titles from Al Franken, Joe Conason, Molly Ivins, David Corn and Alan Colmes. They all show you where the Bush neoconservative agenda is misguided and destructive, but only Carville offers solutions. The others tell us why, Carville shows us how.
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By A Customer on January 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a Californian who prospered during the dot.com years and now going on my 3rd year of unemployement, this book should be a must read for all those who are baffled by there state of affairs. Yesterday, I had a guy who holds multi degrees with over ten years experience in IT make me my Mocha Frappachino at the local St**rbucks--he's grateful for just having that part-time job. If you are to lazy to read the book or to pissed off to read it then just look at the graphs they are revealing enough why things are the way they are. I wish Carville could do a video with his charts that way I could send the video out to all my friends who are out of work so that they could cast an effective vote.
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