Friday, May 12, 2006

Booknote: Take It Back

Title: Take It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future
Authors: James Carville and Paul Begala
Publication Information: New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006
ISBN: 0-7432-7752-X
Genre: Nonfiction
Subgenre: Politics, Political Science, Current Events

This is probably the book that the operatives at the Democratic Party should be reading, but they probably won't. More importantly, it is a book for those who are tired of letting the Right dictate everything from morality to politics. Carville and Begala, who are featured commentators on CNN, have written a basic plan for Democrats, and I think for progressives in general, to stand up and take control of the nation. It is as simple as that. The authors discuss current events and various issues, and then they provide their analysis of how the issues can be taken back. Much of it does boil down to not tolerating the misinformation and lies put the dominant politicians and their allies. When they attack, rather than taking it, others should attack back. If they lie, catch them at their lies and force them to explain why they take certain positions. For instance, they discuss the many tax breaks for the one percent of the country while removing various health care measures for the middle class. If the Right and conservatives supposedly are so compassionate, why do they then make the middle and poor classes bear the burdens and sacrifice so much? The authors say it is time to make the Right and conservatives have to actually answer that and other questions.

The book overall is a good read in eleven chapters, including a conclusion about progressive patriotism, because, after all, questioning and asking for accountability is being patriotic. Every chapter includes a list of notes and references for readers who want to check the information trail. The tone of the book is fairly casual, almost conversational at times. In a way, the voices of the two authors come across strongly (you can almost hear them at times). It gives a good sense of current events, and how things have gone fairly low since the current administration took over (hey, given their poll numbers at about 33% at last reading, I am not saying anything that's not true here). For Democrats and progressives, the book may offer both a sense of affirmation and a sense that something can be done. For Republicans and conservatives, it may be a book to skip, or maybe they should be reading to know what the other side thinks, the other side that seems to be getting larger in their discontent. Those in the middle may want to read it too. It may prompt them to ask a few questions. And asking questions is always a good reason for me to read a book.

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