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Take It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future Hardcover – January 10, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
An intelligent, carefully outlined strategy to seize power from the Republicans and restore it to its rightful place slightly left of center, this book (despite Carville's "Ragin' Cajun" claim to gonzo liberalism) is remarkably reasonable and cleverly calculated to appeal to a broad spectrum of Americans. Carville and Begala have a solid grasp of the issues that concern the majority of citizens: moral values, political corruption, taxes, health care, energy issues and, of course, the war in Iraq. They are most persuasive when arguing for seemingly common-sense policies: their energy plan-conservation, environmental remediation and making a "real commitment to alternative fuels"-is based on the handling of the energy crisis of the 1970s that saw the U.S. cut energy use and oil imports while growing the GDP. Regarding health care, the authors argue for allowing employers to buy into the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program, which offers 180 different plans to 9 million government employees. Some of the authors' arguments are harder to swallow; for example, the extremely speculative notion that had Al Gore been elected president, 9/11 could have been averted. And criticism of Republican leadership often devolves into name-calling and mudslinging. (Jack Abramoff, in a stroke of timely luck, receives his own section titled "The King of Republican Sleaze.") That aside, Carville's and Begala's book is a refreshing entry into a field long overcrowded by polarized, pedantic screeds.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
With the inimitable styles for which they are known, Democratic political consultants Carville and Begala dissect the 2000 and 2004 elections when Republicans triumphed over Democrats and take a long-range look at the national impact of the Bush-Cheney years. Rather than cry over the recent losses, Carville and Begala applaud the strengths of the Republicans and strongly advise the Democrats to recast the respective images of the two parties and take the lead on social and cultural issues. On abortion, Democrats need to stand up to pressure groups and advocate to reduce the need for abortions; on gun control, they should respect gun owners and enforce the laws already on the books; on Iraq, they should challenge Bush to win the war and respect the military; on energy, they should push for independence on oil; on taxes, they should advocate for taxation of wealth. Citing numerous instances of Democrats shying from identification with religion, the consultants strongly advise that those who have such beliefs should express them, and the party should point to the religious basis of policies to provide for the poor and protect the environment. With great humor and frequent jabs at the Bush administration--Louisiana native Carville is particularly incensed about the handling of the New Orleans flooding--these consultants offer a thoughtful and passionate appeal for change in the Democratic Party and the nation. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
Carville's jumping on board with Hillary Clinton ("I love her to death") is a substantive confirmation of my earlier comments when this review was first written. Now that we know there ARE smarter Democrats, i.e. both Senator Obama AND his wife (whose brain and demeanor I love to death--and I am an estranged moderate Republican and Latino), I drop this book to a TWO. See the links below, as well. Huckabee-Obama, with Bloomberg funding Bradley-Collins, a transpartisan cabinet for the people (not to be confused with any actual future cabinet) and a balanced budget online for a national "conversation that matters," and we have our country back.
Bottom line: Carville is totally consistent with the bi-partisan spoils system and top-down elitist mandates that continue to treat the voters as "marks" whose pockets can be picked. Furthermore, it was Bill Clinton and his brain-dead "Republican" Secretary of Defense and his "travel bug" Secretary of State of no substance, who allowed terrorism to flourish for eight years, in essence setting the stage for the neo-cons to rip off the Nation and take the world from 75 failed states in 2005 to 177 in 2007.
ENOUGH! Both the Clinton and Bush dynasties, and the Democratic and Republican "machines," need to be BURIED.
I absolutely love to hear James Carville go at it, and I respect Paul Begala. Their book is definitely worth buying and worth reading, and it makes a lot of good points. However, if there were smarter more organized Democrats around, this book would only merit two stars. It gets four when compared to some of the other garbage that is being published with a foreword by Howard Dean and absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
The authors do a fine job of focusing on jobs, health care, oil, and security, but they do it in a glib incoherent way that is not backed up with budget numbers.
Worse, they ignore the only dog-catcher issue around: whether or not everyone's vote counts, and consequently, whether or not this is still a democracy.
This is a book that draws on Op Eds and Google searches, that combines the intellect and wit of two men with a glossy cover, and that provides good read but not much more. This is NOT going to win any votes, nor can it be used by any candidate as a serious guide.
Both the Democrats and the Republicans stink at leadership, and both appear to be completely corrupt and bereft of any grand strategy that is backed up by either a coherent real-world budget or a moral commitment to a coalition cabinet and electoral reform.
This book and its authors are part of the last gasp of the Democratic Party: those that think that with just a little bit more money from George Soros and just a little bit more charm from Bill Clinton, that the Democratic base can beat the Republican base, and go issue on issue. Dream on. As a moderate Republican who is completely disenchanted with the extremist Republicans and actively looking for an alternative, I would suggest that if this is the best the Democrats can do, we may as well all move to Costa Rica.
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