We're Right, They're Wrong: A Handbook for Spirited Progressives

Overview

Just in time for the primaries, a top adviser to President Clinton uses his trademark historic, pointed arguments and homespun wit to deflate GOP claims that nothing is amiss in America that budget-cutting won't cure. Filled with political war stories and including such special features as the Republicans' Biggest Lies and the Most Expensive Boondoggles, Carville's accessible reponse to the GOP's Contract with America is a succinct, fact-filled treatise well worth reading. ...
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Overview

Just in time for the primaries, a top adviser to President Clinton uses his trademark historic, pointed arguments and homespun wit to deflate GOP claims that nothing is amiss in America that budget-cutting won't cure. Filled with political war stories and including such special features as the Republicans' Biggest Lies and the Most Expensive Boondoggles, Carville's accessible reponse to the GOP's Contract with America is a succinct, fact-filled treatise well worth reading.
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Editorial Reviews

Stefanie Syman

Anyone with siblings knows what it's like to stand in stupefied silence after receiving one of their sister's (or brother's) particularly cutting insults and then, in the quiet before falling asleep, compose 85 harsh comebacks. Of course, these nocturnal retorts are useless, since your sister has already paraded around the house, puffed up like Buzz Lightyear with her victory. This resembles the sorry state of affairs for Democrats these days, according to James Carville, bad-ass Clinton Advisor, Washington consultant and author. The right has co-opted issues from morality to job security, and all liberals seem to be able to do is stand sputtering in the background or bobbing their heads in agreement, when, in fact, they don't really agree; it's just that they've sort of forgotten why they disagree.

Carville's attempt to remedy this situation, We're Right, They're Wrong, is an eminently readable set of bullet points for Democrats and liberal progressives who need what he terms a "kick in the ass." His verbal counter-strikes against rabid (and not so rabid) Republicans have clearly been honed by a few years of marriage to Mary Matalin. Quoting New York's Republican Congresswoman Susan Molinari, who complains that our welfare system "destroys families rather than saves them," Carville replies: "Let me give you a dose of their logic here. If you've got a common cold and you take aspirin, your headache may go away but you may still feel pretty lousy. A reasonable person would conclude that aspirin isn't very good at getting rid of the underlying causes of the cold. Right-wingers, however, would conclude that aspirin caused the cold in the first place."

Besides generous dollops of verbal BBQ sauce and frequent interjections of "ain't," Carville outlines lucid positions on every major issue from wage stagnation to health care to welfare to education, with enough references to statistics to be convincing. Recognizing the depths of our distrust of "liberals," he also cites plenty of card-carrying conservatives to back up his own arguments. With the ascent of Rush Limbaugh and Pat uchanan, and the rightward drift of the GOP, now is probably an excellent time for all good liberals to get their hands on Carville's rhetorical laser gun. A bleeding heart is just no excuse for a floppy tongue or weak knees. -- Salon

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Political pundit and FOB James Carville offers a plan of attack for embattled liberals. With the appropriately pugnacious title of We're Right, They're Wrong: A Handbook for Spirited Progressives, Carville combines his own brand of political affirmation and polemic ("We Democrats are the soul and conscience of this nation!") with statistics and examples that give the faithful ammunition when cocktail chatter turns to issues of health care, the economy, family values (or Mrs. Clinton, for that matter). Like All's Fair, the book Carville co-authored with wife Mary Matalin, We're Right is a co-publishing venture of Random House and Simon & Schuster.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671044794
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Abridged, 1 cassette, 1 hr. 30 min.
  • Product dimensions: 4.23 (w) x 6.82 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

James Carville, the country's best known and most colorful political consultant, was born on October 25, 1944. He grew up the oldest of eight children in Carville, Louisiana, a one-stop-sign town on the Mississippi River which was named at the turn of the century for his grandfather, the town's postmaster. His father, Chester James Carville, was also a postmaster, as well as the owner of a general store. His mother, named Lucille but known to all as Miss Nippy, successfully sold World Book encyclopedias door-to-door and put all eight of her children through college with the proceeds.

Carville, who probably has managed more campaigns than any other political consultant in America, got his first job in politics-canvassing for a car dealer running for the Louisiana state legislature-while still a student at Ascension Catholic High School. In 1962 he entered Louisiana State University and-not to put too fine a spin on it-flunked out four years later. To assuage his Catholic guilt, he quickly enlisted in the Marine Corps. After serving for two years, at San Diego's Camp Pendleton, he returned to LSU, finished his undergraduate degree at night, and then, with the financial assistance of an uncle, went on to earn a law degree. Carville was a litigator for a Baton Rouge law firm from 1973 until 1979, but he was never happy working as a lawyer, and as a result he spent much of his free time as a consultant to Democrats running for local and statewide offices. He managed his first campaign, a U.S. Senate race in Virginia, in 1982. The following year, while managing Lloyd Doggett's unsuccessful bid for governor of Texas, he acquired the nickname "Ragin' Cajun" and began hisodd-couple professional collaboration with Paul Begala, who had just graduated from the University of Texas. The two teamed up full time in 1989 and formed the Carville & Begala political consulting firm, specializing in strategy, message development, "earned media," and, above all, winning elections for Democrats.

Carville and Begala's biggest win was Bill Clinton's election to the presidency in 1992, the first time a Democrat had claimed the White House in 12 years. In 1993 Carville was honored as the Campaign Manager of the Year by the American Association of Political Consultants for his leadership of Clinton's fearsome and intense Little Rock campaign headquarters, known as the "War Room." This role also made him the focus, along with George Stephanopoulos, of the feature-length documentary film "The War Room," an Academy Award nominee. He is currently serving as a Senior Political Advisor to the President.

Carville's long list of electoral successes also includes the 1991 U.S. Senate victory of Harris Wofford over Richard Thornburgh, in Pennsylvania; the 1990 gubernatorial victories of Zell Miller, in Georgia, and Robert P. Casey, in Pennsylvania; the 1988 re-election of Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, in New Jersey; the 1987 gubernatorial victory of Wallace Wilkinson, in Kentucky; and the 1986 gubernatorial victory of Robert Casey, in Pennsylvania.

Carville is married to Mary Matalin, the deputy campaign manager of George Bush's re-election bid, and now host of CNBC's nightly political talk show "Equal Time" and the daily CBS radio program "The Mary Matalin Show." The couple co-wrote All's Fair: Love, War, and Running for President (Simon & Schuster/ Random House, 1994), one of the best selling campaign memoirs in American history. They had their first child, Matalin Mary Carville, last summer.
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Table of Contents

Introduction
Carville's Rapid-Response Team Comes to Your Backyard Barbecue 3
Part 1. Every Democrat's Nightmare 3
Part 2. The Morning After 11
Part 3. Welfare as They Know It 20
Part 4. Flat Earth, Flat Taxes 35
Part 5. The "Big Government" Smoke Screen 49
Things Government Does Right 60
It's Still the Economy, Stupid 77
Daddies Matter: A Long Overdue Chat on the Family 91
They Call Me Mr. Carville 97
Why the Best Plan Didn't Win: A Health-Care Quiz 110
A (Too) Brief Note on Why I'm Discouraged About Race 125
Conclusion: It's Up to Us 130
Appendix: More Things Government Does Right 144
Notes 163
Press the Meat 177
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