Friday, August 25, 2006

Book Review: "The Courage of Our Convictions"

Former CO senator Gary Hart's forthcoming (9/5) book The Courage of Our Convictions: A Manifesto for Democrats is a harsh critique of both the Bush Administration's actions in Iraq and other areas, and also of the failure of Democrats to either stand against those actions or offer an alternative course. It is a call from this "elder statesman" urging his party to re-embrace the ideals of FDR, Truman, JFK and LBJ, and will almost certainly be a much-discussed book in the run-up to this fall's key midterm elections.

Hart is extremely dismissive of centrism, which he derides (glibly and typically as any severe partisan does) as lacking conviction, principle and position. In its worst form, yes, perhaps those things are true, but if Hart could set aside for a moment his desire for pure partisan advantage in favor of genuine progress, he might recognize that a centrist government, in pursuit indeed of many of the policies he espouses, would be the optimal route.

The book offers a reasonably decent discussion of the need for a different course in Iraq (designed much along the lines suggested by Senator Biden, for example), as well as useful plans in such areas as civic responsibility, environmental protection and national security (in which area Hart is a leading thinker). It is only Hart's overweening desire for partisan advantage which diminishes this work, and will make it most palatable to those who share Hart's strong views.


At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Lemming Herder said...

I'm looking forward to reading this book.

The Centrist position is likely the one preferred by most Americans and the one most likely to get things done.

On the other hand, I have said and will continue to say that all politicians need to quit saying what they think the public wants to hear and say what they believe. If everybody did what they thought was correct, the government would be in much better shape.

Posted by the Lemming Herder from Don’t Be A Lemming!

At 12:59 PM, Blogger Elliot Essman said...

I agree with the previous post; George Washington never took a public opinion poll when he had difficult work to do. Political integrity calls for taking the risk of criticism, rant, and plain unpopularity.


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