Why We're Liberals: A Political Handbook for Post-Bush America

Why We're Liberals: A Political Handbook for Post-Bush America

by Eric Alterman, Malcolm Hillgartner
     
 

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The bestselling author demolishes myths about liberalism in a spirited polemic

Thanks to the machinations of the right, there is no dirtier word in American politics today than “liberal”—yet public opinion polls consistently show that the majority of Americans hold liberal views on everything from health care to foreign policy. In this

Overview

The bestselling author demolishes myths about liberalism in a spirited polemic

Thanks to the machinations of the right, there is no dirtier word in American politics today than “liberal”—yet public opinion polls consistently show that the majority of Americans hold liberal views on everything from health care to foreign policy. In this feisty, accessible primer, bestselling author Eric Alterman sets out to restore liberalism to its rightful honored place in our political life as the politics of America's everyday citizens.

In Why We're Liberals Alterman examines liberalism's development and demonstrates how its partisans have come to represent not just the mainstream, but also the majority of Americans today. In a crisply argued though extensively documented counterattack on right-wing spin and misinformation, Alterman briskly disposes of such canards as “Liberals Hate God” and “Liberals Are Soft on Terrorism,” reclaiming liberalism from the false definitions foisted upon it by the right and repeated everywhere else. Why We're Liberals brings clarity and perspective to what has often been a one-sided debate for nothing less than the heart and soul of America. Why We're Liberals is the perfect election-year book for all of those ready to fight back against the conservative mud-slinging machine and claim their voice in the political debate.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Never mind that liberalhas for decades been a perjorative word when used by the Right. The "we" in Alterman's title stands for America rather than merely progressive Democrats. That's Alterman's point: he reminds readers that many Americans define themselves as embracing liberal values and that the country's political future could turn on a renewed understanding of liberalism. Those open to the concept will enjoy this read-and may wish to recommend it to others who think that liberalis a dirty word. (This is not a "handbook" in ready-reference terms.) [See Prepub Alert, LJ11/15/07.]


—Donna L. Davey, Margaret Heilbrun
Kirkus Reviews
A longtime cheerleader for progressive causes makes an enthusiastic though not entirely original case that liberalism is poised to rise again. "Liberal" is only a "dirty word" so long as people are confused about what it means, avers Alterman (What Liberal Media?: The Truth about Bias and the News, 2003, etc.). In reality, he argues, most Americans are liberal. They believe that government should care for those who can't care for themselves, that health care is a fundamental human right, that corporate profits are out of control. Starting with the Enlightenment, Alterman walks briskly through the history of American liberalism, pinpointing as the end of its hegemony the late 1960s, when liberal policies improved the living conditions of minorities but greatly increased the insecurity of the white working class. Since then, left-wing activists and thinkers have been systematically driven from American political and intellectual life, he contends, while conservatives have hijacked the mainstream media, claimed "tradition" and "patriotism" as conservative, not American, values and painted liberalism as a philosophy that rejects religion, is oblivious to national security, embraces elitism and supports restrictions on individual freedom. Alterman outlines a long list of obstacles liberals will have to overcome if they want to return to their former position of power: racial, ethnic and class conflicts among potential allies; the divide between secular and religious Americans; and a lack of disciplined networks to recruit converts. Nonetheless, after seven years under the Bush Administration, he thinks liberals can reclaim American hearts and minds, as long as they're willing to embrace theterm "liberal" and welcome people into the party who harbor conservative social positions or strong religious convictions-a majority of the U.S. population, the author notes. Alterman's conclusion-triangulate or perish-will be familiar to anyone who paid attention during the Clinton years, and it's unlikely to provide much comfort to readers who'd rather have their liberalism without a stiff shot of cultural conservatism. Agent: Tina Bennett/Janklow & Nesbit

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781433210099
Publisher:
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
03/28/2008
Edition description:
Unabridged
Pages:
6
Product dimensions:
6.75(w) x 6.26(h) x 1.17(d)

Meet the Author

Eric Alterman, media columnist for the Nation, is professor of English at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, senior fellow of the Center for American Progress, and “Altercation” weblogger for MSNBC.com. He is the author of five previous books, including The Book on Bush (with Mark Green), What Liberal Media? and Sound and Fury.

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