- Hardcover: 220 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; 1st edition (March 3, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0813341906
- ISBN-13: 978-0813341903
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#2,813,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #5008 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > General
- #5575 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Ideologies & Doctrines > Conservatism & Liberalism
- #16374 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > United States
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Radical Middle: The Politics We Need Now Hardcover – March 2, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Condemning what the author sees as the divisive partisanship and polemical half-truths of liberals and conservatives alike, this militant but muddled manifesto urges left and right to unite behind a "politics of creative problem-solving." Satin, publisher of the Radical Middle Newsletter, pushes a poll-certified grab bag of public-private partnerships and wonkish policy nostrums pitched explicitly at professionals (a.k.a. "knowledge workers" or "the creative class") whose only political identity is that of "caring person." The result is a confused, ad-hoc program that aims to achieve great public purposes without aggrandizing government or alienating special interests. Some proposals, like affirmative action based on poverty, not race, represent a fresh take on important issues. Others, such as his energy policy, which is largely a hodge-podge of minor tax incentives for fossil-fuel alternatives, are half-measures. The boldest initiativesa universal health-care plan that uses tax credits to subsidize individuals purchase of private insurance, a universal jobs program that offers employers tax credits for hiring workerschannel their largesse into massive state subsidies to the private sector. Satins often glib analyses of policy issues will not satisfy knowledgeable readers, and in his de-politicized politics of caring, real conflicts seem to be ignored rather than confronted.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Mark Satin sees ... radical middle politics as an innovation that's ideally suited to 21st century America." - Nancy Beardsley, Voice of America radio, July 27, 2004
"[O]ne of the most refreshing political books I've ever encountered. ... [M]ust-reading for those who are trying to find a ray of sanity in our present political climate.." - Larry Cox, Tucson Citizen, March 18, 2004
"Passionate, popularized, and personalized, with frequent asides about Satin's [activist] background. ... [A] fresh and often original voice." - Michael Marien, Future Survey, April 2004
"[T]he policy proposals cataloged here don't fii neatly into the standard left / right model. ... [M]oderate in tone and intelligently reasoned - shockingly so." - Gadi Dechter (later appointed to Obama's Commerce Dept.), Baltimore City Paper, February 25, 2004
"Radical-middle politics is ... characterized by 'idealism without illusions,' according to Satin. It is more visinary and imaginative than politics-as-usual, but it 'faces the hard facts on the ground'." - Robert Olson, The Futurist, January-February 2005
"Satin firmly believes that the current system can't lead to the moderate majority he wants. The most 'radical' thing about Mark Satin's Radical Middle is the extraordinary depth of the author's belief that identifying solutions to America's problems depends on spurning conventional party politics." - Ed Kilgore (policy director, Democratic Leadership Council), The Washington Monthly, June 2004
"[M]akes a lot more sense than ... the many braying pundits at the edges of the national parties." - Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2004
"[Satin] is quick to stress that he doesn't necessarily have the right answers, and that his proposals are merely opening salvos in an ongoing debate over what constitutes radical-middle solutions." - Leif Utne, Utne Reader, September-October 2004
"Satin ... attempt[s] to lift politics to a higher level of discourse. His concise commentary [is] mixed with several parts idealism, a good dose of realism, a touch of spirituality, and always heaps of common sense." - Carter Phipps, EnlightenNext: The Magazine for Evolutionaries, June-August 2005
"Concludes with a three-chapter section offering sugestions to help readers implement Radical Middle values in society." - Jill Ortner, Library Journal, May 1, 2004
"[T]he notion of a politics of the 'radical middle' [has been] articulated most persuasively by Michael Lind and Mark Satin." - Leonard J. Santow and Mark E. Santow, Social Security and the Middle-Class Squeeze, Praeger, 2005
"[O]ne of the most important reads of the last five years ... and it's easy to read!" - Tony Trupiano, The Tony Trupiano Show, Michigan Talk Radio Network, July 21, 2004
Top customer reviews
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I really like the values, and a lot of the proposals. There's a potential here for "the next Ross Perot," who may not have won his election, but did define the terms of debate on his key issue -- the Federal Deficit -- for a decade. If I were running either of the two major political parties, I'd be all over this book, considering how to make the big tent of my party extend enough to include these issues and the people who care about them.
The only thing that earns a second star is that he does have a few seemingly original good ideas, but they are rare, and most are unworkable anyway. I was highly disappointed by the book.
Most Americans decry the hyper-partisanship and division in American politics today. On the other hand, the party activists – the only ones who vote in primaries – are more partisan than average and less willing to look for solutions in the middle. Unlike party activists, the public is pragmatic and non-ideological, willing to borrow ideas from all parts of the political spectrum.
The Radical Middle is a political synthesis, combining the best insights from the Left and Right, using a “both-and” approach. Satin applies this method to addressing several of the nation’s major challenges. His compromise health care proposal, for example, sounds a like Obama’s actual plan. It provides for private insurance the way the Right preferred instead of single-payer as the Left had wanted. Nevertheless, not a single Republican voted for the ACA.
Satin offers interesting analyses of several issues such as education, poverty, and energy. His solutions might work if they could be adopted, but many aren’t politically feasible. It’s safe to predict that no system of compulsory national service will be adopted. Some day political polarization might decline, but that day is not in the foreseeable future. ###
Please, put in an advance order for "Radical Middle: The Politics We Need Now." You will not be sorry. This book, not the tirades of movie stars and radio talk show hosts, has the information we have all been waiting for. Politicians beware. The majority in the United States of America are moving, millions strong, toward the radical middle. - beyond the din of the empty and false promises of demo-publicans. Our numbers will ensure we are heard!
The author has a prescription for change that sounds so simple -- sign up for political organizations, get experiences, run yourself, win, change things. Too bad he never once mentions how a normal guy or girl is supposed to finance that, much less get sponsored by 'the important people' without selling out.
These days, the 'Radical Middle' is too right wing for my taste, and I've decided to let the book go to the Salvation Army. No longer recommended.