MIDDLE CLASS DREAMS by Stanley B. Greenberg


Building the New American Majority
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 President Clinton's pollster charts a course for US politics through the current turbulent period and beyond. Greenberg, former Yale professor of political science and now Clinton adviser, says we've lived in this century with two political visions: the Democrats' ``bottom up'' promise of aid to working people and the Republicans' ``top down'' promotion of business for the general prosperity. The pollster says both visions have been discredited, the Democrats' approach now seen as little more than favoritism toward minorities, Republican policies as benefiting the rich at workers' expense. He offers a brief political history of the century, including the ``Great Republican'' (18961928) and ``Great Democratic'' (193264) eras, concentrating on the rhetoric of those periods and how it contributed to current political beliefs. The key to future political and economic progress, Greenberg says, lies in aiding a hard-pressed and increasingly angry middle class, people like those in Macomb, Mich., a longtime Democratic bastion whose voters turned overwhelmingly to Ronald Reagan in 1980--and where Greenberg has done extensive political research. Though he questions whether anyone can lead us during this period when ``the old is dying and the new cannot be born,'' Greenberg saw promise in a young Bill Clinton's disavowal of old orthodoxies, in his advocacy of efficient, activist government whose policies ``had the breadth to reach the middle class.'' He describes Clinton's rise, the campaign-trail development of his message, and how it was eventually made to click with voters. This book will serve as a reminder, for those stunned by Clinton's struggles, of the premises of his candidacy and how his subsequent actions have missed their mark. Greenberg offers a succinct diagnosis of the current political malaise and a prescription for mainstream political renewal. His book is most likely to be read by Democrats, but its lessons should be taken to heart by all who care about our nation's future. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-8129-2345-6
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Times/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1994


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