WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A DEMOCRAT by George McGovern

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A DEMOCRAT

KIRKUS REVIEW

Almost 40 years after his unsuccessful campaign for the presidency, the liberal Democrat addresses the state of the party, and the state of the country, in what reads like a long stump speech.

Whether embracing the label “bleeding-heart liberal” as “a compliment,” arguing that “the erosion of the American way of life began in 1981, when Ronald Reagan became president” or proclaiming of the Republican “faith in supply-side economics” that “the idea isn’t worth a hoot in a rain barrel,” the former senator from South Dakota isn’t writing to win converts from the conservative wing or even the center. The minister’s son is preaching to the choir, a choir that he fears might be tempted to sacrifice for political pragmatism the ideals he maintains represent the heart of the Democratic Party. “Food and hunger are not partisan issues. They are human issues,” writes McGovern (Abraham Lincoln, 2008, etc.), who believes much the same about education, medical care, jobs, immigration and other issues where he insists that intransigent Republicans are uncompromisingly in the wrong. Though the candidate who ran his own presidential campaign on a peace platform takes issue with the military interventions continued under President Obama, he is less critical of the administration’s attempts at bipartisanship than many liberals have been: “Never during my lifetime have I witnessed any president beset by the narrow partisanship that has plagued President Obama. The American people elected him for his vision—of change, of hope, of compromise…These ideals have been trampled on by Republicans.” Yet even those who generally align with McGovern’s ideology might find curious his assertion that “I often feel that the federal government is more sensible about spending than I am.” Though the rise of the Tea Party suggests a vocal opposition, McGovern believes that government is our friend—the bigger the better.

A book of heartfelt conviction that will not change a single mind.

Pub Date: Nov. 10th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-399-15822-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2011




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