- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (October 2, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385500459
- ISBN-13: 978-0385500456
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#2,833,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #2451 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > Political Parties
- #2766 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Public Affairs & Policy > Social Policy
- #4286 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Public Affairs & Policy > Economic Policy
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics Hardcover – October 2, 2001
See the Best Books of 2018 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
This bold book proposes to take American politics in a totally new direction--away from "our rigid two-party cartel" of Republicans and Democrats, and toward a centrism that currently doesn't exist in an electoral sense. "Our nation's politics are dominated by two feuding dinosaurs that have outlived the world in which they evolved," write Ted Halstead and Michael Lind. Both men are affiliated with the New America Foundation, and Lind is the provocative author of The Next American Nation and Vietnam: The Necessary War. They believe the ongoing technological revolution will transform American politics in fundamental ways, and most of The Radical Center advocates specific shifts across a range of issues. The result is a mishmash that isn't so much a set of new ideas as a blend of existing ones. Halstead and Lind want to enact private-school choice for students and parents (a conservative idea), for instance, and also to equalize funding by essentially abolishing the states' role in education (something that might appeal to liberals). Their goal, they say, is to increase personal choices where possible and minimize class inequalities where feasible.
Much of The Radical Center reads like a wonk's fantasy; Halstead and Lind identify policy problems everywhere they look--from voting rights to health care--and suggest solutions with the confidence of technocrats who believe they can remake the world. What they produce is a grab bag that will simultaneously fascinate and frustrate readers who start off ensconced on either the right or left of the political spectrum. How many people will favor both their idea of abolishing all corporate income taxes as well as their notion of implementing a new nationwide tax on consumption? But that's the point: Halstead and Lind try to forge a new politics that takes the best parts of today's left and right and abandons the rest as so much dead weight. The Radical Center is at once jarring and invigorating; readers willing to engage with it will wrestle with hard questions. Many may come away persuaded by large parts of Halstead and Lind's argument. And if the whole project sounds a tad ambitious, there's a reason: "Major political change in the United States, in short, tends to be revolutionary, not evolutionary." If that's true, then consider The Radical Center a manifesto for a new age that's right around the corner. --John Miller
From Publishers Weekly
The U.S. is in crisis, contend Halstead and Lind (Vietnam: The Necessary War; etc.). While revolutions in information technology and biotechnology are fundamentally reshaping the American economy and society, the two major political parties remain stuck within old ideas and policies. More and more Americans have become alienated from the political status quo and yearn for change, say Halstead and Lind (director and senior fellow, respectively, of the think-tank New America Foundation). In this subtle, clear, and provocative work, they offer a comprehensive blueprint for such change. America has succeeded by adapting to new circumstances while maintaining, albeit imperfectly, a balance among its three constituent parts: the market, government and community. All of the authors' wide-ranging reforms aim at strengthening these spheres. If the new economy is typified by high turnover of employees, employer-based health insurance makes little sense. Better would be mandatory individually funded health insurance, with government provision for the truly needy. So, too, should Social Security be replaced by individual retirement accounts, as the graying of America makes the current generational transfer of funds more and more tenuous and contentious. To confront growing inequality in the U.S., the authors believe, all Americans should be given $6,000 at birth as a means of assuring true equal opportunity and a stake in the system; k-12 education should be funded equally on a per pupil basis by the federal government rather than relying on highly unequal property taxes or regressive state and local sales taxes. Politically, new electoral processes should open up the system to new parties and candidates. There is something here for everyone to cheer or jeer, but in carefully tying together their myriad reforms, the authors present a remarkably coherent vision for the renewal of America. Agent, Kris Dahl, ICM. (Sept. 18)Forecast: The authors will promote this book in N.Y. and D.C., and thanks to Lind's reputation as someone who defies the usual right-left split, it should get attention on the news talk shows and from the pundits.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Here's my recommendation: Buy TWO copies of this book. Keep one, pass one on to someone you know who is in a position of power and influence -- senator, representative, newspaper editor, state legislator, and the like.
Radical Center is an apt term because the proposals he offers are far from the mundane centrist politics that have been incapable of sustaining a true political movement (ex. Perot's Reform Party). His ideas marry some of the most salient and relevant ideas from both ends of the political spectrum namely the left's belief that government should provide a safety net to those who are most in need and the right's commitment to market forces; particulary people's desire to exercise choice in healthcare, retirement and education.
My only concern is that he does not offer inspiring words or practical strategies for how his agenda can take hold in a political landscape that is and will continue to be dominated by the aging baby boomer generation and their increasing reliance on Medicare, Social Security and the other programs from the New Deal and the Great Society.
The authors provide this concise statement of the problem on p.4 of "The Radical Center." Then, they never explain how to get out of the bind. In fact, they never mention the abortion issue again. Instead, they offer some additional proposals for a centrist candidate, many of which make sense.
For example, they suggest raising the retirement age for social security. As I have argued elsewhere, raising the retirement age is in fact the only meaningful policy option available to deal with the demographic realities--the "plans" put forward by the two major parties are both bogus.
I also like the authors' proposal to abolish racial classifications. I call this the "one-race" doctrine: declare that we all belong to one race, the human race.
Overall, the book reads like a quixotic attempt to convince Democrats to adopt an agenda on Social Security, education, taxes, and race that is somewhat to the right of the platform that George Bush ran on in the year 2000. There is no "radical center" position on abortion, so I can only infer that the authors are pro-choice (otherwise, they would be Republicans).
But the authors never provide a solution to the problem that they pose in the quotation above. How can those of us who are pro-choice on abortion but tired of the industrial-era Democratic policies on other issues find candidates that we can support?