What It Means to Be a Democrat

( 2 )


A call to arms by the former presidential candidate that combines personal anecdotes and cultural critiques to remind liberals of their ideological compass and restore confidence.

George McGovern has been a leading figure of the Democratic Party for more than fifty years. From this true liberal comes a thoughtful examination of what being a Democrat really means. McGovern admonishes current Democratic politicians for losing sight of their ideals as they subscribe to an ...

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What It Means to Be a Democrat

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A call to arms by the former presidential candidate that combines personal anecdotes and cultural critiques to remind liberals of their ideological compass and restore confidence.

George McGovern has been a leading figure of the Democratic Party for more than fifty years. From this true liberal comes a thoughtful examination of what being a Democrat really means. McGovern admonishes current Democratic politicians for losing sight of their ideals as they subscribe to an increasingly centrist policy agenda. Applying his wide- ranging knowledge and expertise on issues ranging from military spending to same-sex marriage to educational reform, he stresses the importance of creating policies we can be proud of. Finally, with 2012 looming, McGovern's What It Means to Be a Democrat offers a vision of the Party's future in which ideological coherence and courage rule.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A former presidential nominee and Congressman, who represented South Dakota for 18 years, McGovern offers his thoughts on what the Democrat party stands for as the 2012 Presidential election approaches. While “there are as many definitions of what it means to be a Democrat as there are Democrats,” McGovern says the party needs to unite on critical issues: social programs, education, health care, unemployment, immigration, and defense. He addresses each of these topics with continual reminders that these solutions are only his opinions and not a master plan for the party. By cutting back the defense budget and eliminating internal security programs (he suggests dissolving the Department of Homeland Security), there will be more money to fund improvements in childcare, education, and health care. He also proposes ending all overseas military operations and, instead, launching a worldwide food program that will promote international peace. Above all, he argues unemployment should be addressed by reviving job creation programs modeled on FDR's WPA. No matter what solutions the Democrat party chooses, McGovern stresses that presenting a strong, united message will be integral in the upcoming election. Many of these solutions are unlikely to ever be put into practice but overall, this is a thoughtful book by an inspiring American elder statesman. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"[McGovern] remains one of the country's most decent and thoughtful public servants."
- Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation

"In a book that is far more serious-minded than some of those written by actual 2012 presidential candidates, McGovern lays out a series of ideas aimed at fixing the nation's job crisis, improving health care and education and reducing the widening gap between the rich and everyone else."
- Star Tribune

Kirkus Reviews
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399158223
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/10/2011
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 687,369
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

George McGovern is an iconic political figure who helped shape the modern Democratic party. During his twenty-two years as a U.S. Congressman, he fought for the rights of rural Americans and became a staunch critic of the Vietnam War. After his 1972 run for president against Richard Nixon, McGovern went on to serve as the United Nations global ambassador on hunger.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 26, 2012

    Highly Recommended - clear, concise, and detailed enough as only McGovern would present it!

    McGovern presents his view of the positions a modern day democrat should take to achieve economic prosperity, debt reduction, national security, health care goals and more for the US. He covers a broad range of topics in a concise manner without skimping too much on detail. This book is very accessible to the layperson. It is not text-bookish and does not require an in-depth knowledge of politics to understand the topics covered. I think it is useful for not only those who share McGovern's viewpoints, but also for those on the other side of the aisle who wish to objectively understand the policy positions advocated by democrats, why they take these positions, and what they aim to achieve. This book was published in 2011 so it addresses the modern day issues the world has been dealing with in the last decade as well and some overarching issues we've dealt with for many decades.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2011

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