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review 2017-08-12 22:47
Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? - Thomas Frank

Starting with the Carter administration this is a look at how the Democratic party pulled away from its working class base and turned toward the people with money.  It gives a history of the change and the affect it had on the middle class and politics up through today.  I got mad as I read it and had to put it down several times.  I understood what was said.  Mr. Frank kept it simple and, at times, humor poked through.  I wish I would have been more politically aware when I was younger and understood what was happening and how it would impact me and my world.  Worth the read!

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review 2016-08-24 15:01
Playing the Long Game
Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections): The Battles That Define America from Jefferson's Heresies to Gay Marriage - Stephen R. Prothero

Prothero places the recent U.S. culture wars about gay marriage and abortion in a historical context of past American culture wars. He is careful to qualify his analysis to admit that there are many other factors involved in this events beyond religion and morality, but his does show an ongoing conservative vs. progressive cultural conflict going back to colonial times. His thesis is that while conservatives often win short term victories, in the long term the progressive agenda always comes out on top.


Prothero first looks at the 1800 election of Thomas Jefferson. Because of Jefferson's reluctance to publicly discuss his religious beliefs many religious leaders took advantage of his silence to denounce Jefferson as a closet atheist or even a "Mohammedan." He goes on to look at the anti-Catholicism movement that started in the 1830's and the anti-Mormonism movement of the 1850's. Catholics are so throughly integrated into American society today that it is hard to believe there was a time when they were treated with the same hostility as Communists were in the 20th century. Anti-Catholicism was as much anti-immigrant as it was a religious movement, but it and anti-Mormonism reflect the conservative tendency to fear change and fight against a loss of cultural dominance. Finally he looks at the Prohibition movement that successfully outlawed the sale of alcohol in the U.S. from 1920 - 1933. This may have been the last time that a morals crusade grew into a big enough national movement to impose its will on the general public.


It is hard to argue with Prothero's thesis that progressives tend to prevail in the long term. He could have expanded the argument to include Abolition, labor movements, the Civil Rights movement, and women's rights as well, but while those were long term progressive victories the conservative opposition was less focused on morality, so they would be a bit beyond the scope of Prothero's argument.

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review 2013-03-31 00:00
The Enemies List: Flushing Out Liberals in the Age of Clinton - P. J. O'Rourke, With American Spectator Readers I was a libertarian in college but thankfully grew out of it.
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review 2012-10-14 00:00
Thank the Liberals for Saving America (and Why You Should)
Thank the Liberals* For Saving America - Alan Colmes If one is a self-defined "conservative" according to today's definition, this book is likely to have a whole bunch of information of which you've been unaware, or at least had not completely considered. If one is a self-defined liberal or progressive, it may not have much that is new to you.However, Alan Colmes lays out his case that, technically speaking, all Americans are liberals because of the country's legal basis in liberty. He examines the Constitution right off the bat, and explains its basis in liberal thinking. He then moves on to financial, employment and social issues (including demonstrating how even conservatives become more liberal when they are personally affected by those issues).Right up to the minute with issues and political science covered via exceptional research (more than 12 pages of endnotes document Colmes' findings), this is a book that I really think everyone could benefit from reading. Unfortunately, I would also wager that the folks most likely to need the information contained in this volume are the ones least likely to pick it up. :-/
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