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The Radical Center: The Future of American Politics Paperback – October 8, 2002
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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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
This book is *loaded* with common sense. It is absolutely not a political spin manual, a manifesto for revolution, or a ponderous think tank "blue sky" prescription for curing all the ills of the world. This book has three simple focal points and they are powerful:
1) More Americans identify themselves as Independents than as either Republicans or Democrats, and the way is open for a new "radical centrist" choice of leadership;
2) The original social contract that placed highly educated experts in charge of everything (government, corporations, even non-profits), taking care of the largely ignorant masses, is *history*. The people are smart, the people are connected, and the people want *choices* rather than ideologically-contrived menus.
3) Young adults are the key to the future and will decide the next few major elections, but only (a huge caveat) if leaders of vision and charisma can come forth with truthful options grounded in reality--the authors are carefully critical of political "triangulation" that seeks to manufacture false representations of common interest, only to betray those the moment after election.Read more ›
Although I would agree with some of the other reviewers in the respect that the authors tend to throw out some statements without backing them up, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in domestic policy and the future of American politics.
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.
Keep an eye on these two and The New America Foundation. They're writing about the things that everyone else will be discussing in ten years.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't know if the authors acknowledge this or not, but Bill McDonald first coined "radical center" as a way to describe the growing movement toward building cooperation and... Read morePublished on July 2, 2007 by Joan W. Chevalier
From what I can tell by the reviews on this page, all the proposals in this book are basically libertarian. It is thus highly misleading that the book calls itself centrist. Read morePublished on May 30, 2005 by oogleye
The Radical Center is very informative covering a very wide range of issues in current U.S. politics and putting them together in a thoughtful way and making creative proposals. Read morePublished on March 24, 2002 by E. S. Wilson