Hard Left: Straight Talk about the Wrongs of the Right

Hard Left: Straight Talk about the Wrongs of the Right

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by Tavis Smiley
     
 
Tavis Smiley, the left's hard-hitting answer to talk radio conservatives, takes on the political right and thrashes them at their own game.

Picked by Time as one of the fifty young leaders of the future, Tavis Smiley has built a national reputation as a political commentator with numerous appearances on "Good Morning America," CNBC, BET,

Overview

Tavis Smiley, the left's hard-hitting answer to talk radio conservatives, takes on the political right and thrashes them at their own game.

Picked by Time as one of the fifty young leaders of the future, Tavis Smiley has built a national reputation as a political commentator with numerous appearances on "Good Morning America," CNBC, BET, CNN and "Geraldo"—which he recently co-hosted—as well as his own highly popular radio commentary show, "The Smiley Report."

In Hard Left, he presents an impassioned polemic that will shape the Democratic platform and the political debate at the Summer 1996 Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

At last, those on the left have a fast-talking champion with fresh ideas to counter the outrageous barbs of conservatives like Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh, who have cowed Capitol Hill and dominated talk radio. Smiley is particularly harsh on Black conservatives like Ken Hamblin and Armstrong Williams, who he feels have betrayed the Black community. But Smiley isn't afraid to take on traditional politics-as-usual liberals as well. Says Smiley, it was the liberals' determined refusal to acknowledge the flaws of social programs and policies, from affirmative action to welfare, that gave conservatives the opening they needed to rechart the nation's course. Now, Smiley warns, that course has taken America dangerously close to the rocky shoals of the extreme right.

Hard Left is a clarion call to liberal politicians and leaders to take their heads out of the sand, tear a page out of the conservative playbook, and counter the conservative offensive bytackling the political and racial issues that go to the core of our society.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Smiley, a liberal black TV and nationally syndicated radio commentator, comes out swinging at the Republicans and their "Contract on America" in this partisan, thoughtful political statement. He bypasses virtually no one as he skewers politicians beholden to the tobacco industry; black conservatives ("an oxymoron") and the appointment of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court ("Black America's worst nightmare"). He encourages liberals to combat conservatives because "in any good fight, nothing counters a sharp right like a hard left." He tackles the bigotry of talk radio, the sense of moral decay in America ("The Right seems to think that financial success is an indicator of moral virtue"), the moral reasoning behind affirmative action and the need for blacks to become an elective force. He also gives us his thoughts on rap music (it's a legitimate art form), interracial marriage (he thinks it weakens the black family structure) and the recent political phenomenon known as the angry white male (he notes that blacks have always suffered society's unfairness). A hard-hitting intellectual counterpunch that liberals will endorse. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
Liberal pulpit-pounding from a young master of the exploding what's-wrong-with- America genre.

"People are tired of being preached to, from the Left and Right," talk-radio host Smiley observes. That said, he does an awful lot of preaching in this short book, in which he aims to convert his audience to Democratic populism through a mix of folksy exhortation ("well, we'd darn well better raise our voices quickly before the rhetoric of the Right overwhelms us all") and broad-view oratory ("whites today weren't responsible for slavery. But they have indirectly benefitted from the racial inequality and economic injustice that arose out of it"). In measured moments, Smiley offers sensible observations on the desirability of consensus-building and unification; drawing on his background as a poor black in a largely white area of rural Indiana, near the national headquarters of the KKK, he insists that people of all ethnicities can get along and form an equitable political coalition. He also gives credit where it is due, allowing that when conservatives "talk about the moral fabric of our country being torn apart and the need for a return to family values, they are right." Still, for Smiley the left is the Democratic Party, the right the Republicans, which leaves an awful lot of political territory unexplored, and he is too obviously impressed by his own influence ("the real power in this country today is in the media," he avers) to be entirely convincing. Some of his facts are questionable, too—he claims, for instance, that while smoking kills half a million Americans a year, illegal drugs produce only 3,000 deaths, which seems a gross undercalculation. But no matter: Smiley is on a roll throughout this book, and his enthusiasm for his cases bears his arguments along even when pure logic doesn't.

In the end, the preaching is directed to the choir, no matter how good the oratory may be.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385484046
Publisher:
The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/28/1996
Pages:
204
Product dimensions:
5.78(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.80(d)

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Hard Left 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tavis Smiley has a knack for portraying himself as an angry black man trying to save blacks from injustice, and the black community always has a tendency to buy it. Even if their preacher talks out of both sides of his mouth and makes up moral rules as he goes along. Hard Left is the biggest lie that you can find within a book. Mr. Smiley has a tendency to call others on their behavior and thinking, especially those within the right, but never challenges his own behavior that's worthy of questioning. For example, Tavis Smileys comments regarding Jews over the years that leans towards anti-semetism. Suggesting that Jews are money hungry, and have no business complaining about anything. Jews have got it better than blacks. His calling Farrakhan a 'GOD.' Also his constant defending of O.J Simpson, and referring to the Brown family as poor white trash that O.J. took care of and sold him out in the end. He's also had inner conflicts regarding gender. He's pretty much pushed the idea within interviews,that women are not useful except within the kitchen and the bedroom. He's sexist and proud of it, and it was one of the factors that played a role in Mr. Smiley being fired from his hosting job on the BET network in 2001. As for his views on black conservatives, Mr. Smiley yet again proves that he is a man that talks out of both sides of his mouth. Those same black conservatives are people that he respects and often emulates within interviews. Especially how he articulates himself referring to blacks as 'NO GOOD NEGROS.' Comments that many blacks are starting to challenge him publicly about.Some of his other subjects mentioned within the book regarding interracial dating seems a bit odd. Especially the idea that it dissolves a community. Mr. Smiley himself has said within interviews that European women are his personal preferences, yet goes after Clarence Thomas for marrying a white woman. His views on welfare and cross burnings are legitmate issues, but still being pushed through a mouthy hypocrite.I've had a great deal of time to watch Mr. Smiley through the media, listening to him within certain forums that he assumed it was the safest to make racy comments, and compare it to this book. He clearly cannot blame the problems of black America solely on the doorsteps of white conservatives. Especially since he's a one man wrecking crew. This book shows you how to weave body language around half truths or flat out lies. Anger is always convincing when making your point, yet in the end you become a person loaded with hot air and no substance. Just like Mr. Smiley!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a libertarian I try to be intellectually honest by reading books from those whom I disagree. I always come away disappointed. So it is with this book. What is here to inspire? All that is here is the same old liberal inability to hold people responsible for their actions. Blame whitey, hate america and talk about angry white men. That's it? Are such racial sterotypes progressive? The author does a decent job of pointing out imperfections and hypocrisy on the right but fails to dent the basic core values of the right. That's what matters. There is nothing here to inspire poor blacks to raise themselves up from the ash heap it's rather the opposite. Just more excuses to stay there. More negativity. The only real solution offered by the author is to vote democrat. Big deal!