by Jeff Faux ‧ RELEASE DATE: Aug. 28, 1996
An undistinguished, predictable entrant in this election year's flurry of books on how the nation's politics should be reformed. For Faux, an unabashed liberal who served as an advisor to President Clinton's 1992 campaign, the present Democratic Party will not do. ""The closer one gets to the centers of power anywhere in America,"" he writes, the more ""its clubby bipartisan nature is revealed"": Businesses and lobbyists court Republicans and Democrats equally. Instead, he longs for a revived liberal tradition in which government is an instrument to ""create the economic environment that would enable individuals to pursue their own moral and social destinies,"" and in which the good and bad guys are clearly distinguishable. When describing the wrongs in our present way of governing ourselves, Faux is strong on particulars, as when he notes the impropriety of United Parcel Service lobbyist Dorothy Livingston Strunk's having been the principal author of a Republican-sponsored draft Senate bill to gut the Occupational Safety and Health Agency, UPS being the ""number-one violator of OSHA standards in the country."" In the manner of most polemicists, though, Faux is also quick to paint with a wide brush, as when he remarks breezily and unhelpfully that the April 1995 Oklahoma City bombing exposed ""a dark side to conservative politics."" And when he comes to making prescriptions for the future, Faux falls into vague sloganeering. At his strongest, he urges legislators to remember that in making economic choices about such matters as balancing the budget and buying new weapons systems, they are also making moral choices. He maintains that the Democrats will have to forge a stronger image of their party as the standardbearer for working people. ""Win or lose the 1996 election,"" he says, ""those who care about the Democratic Party must radically reinvent it or watch it go out of business."" Only policy junkies will find much of interest in these pages.
Pub Date: Aug. 28, 1996
Page Count: 272
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1996
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