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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Take it Back by James Carville and Paul Begala

Take it Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future by James Carville and Paul Begala. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006. ISBN: 978-0-7432-7752-5

Here's a book for the progressive (read: liberal) Democratic party faithful. People of a more conservative political bent are certainly welcome to read it, but may be more annoyed than persuaded by it. In my experience, books like this are rarely successful in getting people to change their beliefs. No, they are designed for the faithful, preaching to the choir, so to speak.

Now that's interesting, that I find myself using religious figures of speech when writing about a political book! Reminds me of Eric Hoffer's 1951 book, The True Believer, which I devoured in high school (I was attending a fundamentalist boarding academy at the time), finding it quite interesting. You'll find some good quotes from that book as part of the Wikipedia entry on Hoffer.

In the book I'm supposed to be writing about here, Take It Back, political consultants and commentators Carville and Begala explain in general, and then, issue by issue, how Democrats can “take back” various issues from the Republicans and the conservatives. Some of the issues they tackle include moral values, national security, political corruption, energy and the environment, how to handle the media, taxes, and health care.

Certainly I wish all of the major (and minor) Democratic party hacks and politicians would read this book, and take its message to heart. A big part of that message is that for far too long, Democrats have let Republicans walk all over them on the issues that count, the issues that I've just listed. For most of these issues, Carville and Begala present the talking points that Democrats can use to win these political arguments.

Occasionally, I have to admit that they are not quite as successful as I might wish. In some cases, they do a good job of explaining why the progressive viewpoint is superior to the conservative one, but are less successful in providing the talking points that will allow the progressive person to successfully make the case. So the book's not perfect, but it's a darn good start! Highly recommended for the Democratic party faithful, and for anyone who's genuinely looking for a different point of view, anyone who's willing to be persuaded. If your mind's already made up, this book probably won't change it.


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