Breezy reflections from a political veteran who thinks government can still work. In this brief book, assisted by Sussman (What Americans Really Think, 1988, etc.), former US senator and Connecticut governor Weicker offers a grab bag of frank reminiscences from a long career. He defends the integrity of most politicians, though he regrets that ``we have gone from a politics of accountability to a politics of reelectability.'' Weicker rose quickly in politics as a Republican: from Greenwich first selectman to the state legislature to one term in the House of Representatives before entering the Senate in 1971 at age 39. Weicker served notably on the Senate Watergate Committee, making powerful statements of patriotism and saying his own party should be above ``these illegal, unconstitutional and gross acts.'' A deep-sea diver, Weicker then became alerted to our underdeveloped oceans policy and met with Fidel Castro about the issue, which led to harassment from Miami's right-wing Cuban community; Weicker disparages politicians for letting that small corps shape our stance on Cuba. He also recalls fighting right-wing senators on school prayer and abortion, and damning Reagan budgets. Though Weicker's instincts on public health issues are good, he's a little self-congratulatory in assessing the congressional fight against AIDS and the effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Weicker lost his Senate seat in 1988 and returned to Connecticut as governor in 1991, bravely fighting for a much-needed state income tax. Though Weicker's analysis of the future of third-party politics is sketchy, he rightly warns that national budget reform requires us to recognize that ``we have welfare for middle-income America.'' And, he adds, ``compassion is really an enlightened form of self-interest.'' Disjointed, but a good antidote to the Gingrichian vision.
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