The Good Fight: The Education of an American Reformer

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The 1972 McGovern presidential campaign manager, Colorado senator, and 1984 and 1988 Democratic presidential contender presents a collection of rambling essays that exude a personal bitterness and frustration with the government since 1980. By referring to himself as ``the reformer,'' Hart unintentionally casts himself as the successor instead of the student of his reformist role models, Soren Kierkegaard and Thomas Jefferson. Much of his anger is directed at the media, the public-be-damned legacy of the Reagan era, and, to a lesser extent, those New Deal Democrats mired in tax-and-spend policies and bureaucratic gridlock. Hart relates some interesting personal experiences about the Senate Committee on Intelligence of the 1970s and the rudderless Democratic Senate contingent of the early 1980s. Unfortunately, the introspective, compassionate leader revealed by Richard Ben Cramer in What It Takes ( LJ 6/15/92), is obscured by Hart's depersonalized, professorial style. For an excellent, current survey of the roots of Democratic reform see Bruce Miroff's Icons of Democracy ( LJ 2/1/93). Public libraries may want this.-- Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp . Lib., King of Prussia, Pa.
Joe Collins
Whatever happened to Gary Hart? You know, the Colorado senator whose legacy, unfortunately, will be two unsuccessful presidential campaigns, the second of which ended ignominiously in the Donna Rice fiasco. The fact of the matter is, Hart has written a somewhat ponderous tome that touches very briefly on the Rice incident (he blames the media), but mostly combines reminiscences of his political career with his thoughts on Keynesian economics and the men he considers great reformers: Jefferson, Kierkegaard, Tolstoy, and Methodism founder John Wesley. This first section is a tough row to hoe for the casual reader; but once Hart begins musing on his political life, so begins the fireworks, all centering on the Democratic party's lost years following the bitter 1968 presidential campaign. Hart was McGovern's campaign manager in 1972, and he takes plenty of shots at Nixon before moving on to his primary target, Ronald Reagan. Hart allows Reagan his popularity, but roundly criticizes Democratic Senate colleagues for caving in completely to Reagan's charisma and ultimately allowing the now-huge deficits to occur. Even though a Democrat is back in the White House, Hart says his party has sacrificed many of its principles for fear of alienating conservative voters. "The Good Fight" holds no surprises, but after the slow start it becomes an entertaining account for voters of any party.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679419884
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/11/1993
  • Pages: 327

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