The Bulldozer and the Big Tent: Blind Republicans, Lame Democrats, and the Recovery of American Ideals

Todd Gitlin, Author John Wiley & Sons $25.95 (327p) ISBN 978-0-471-74853-3
Professor and political analyst Gitlin (former president of SDS) utilizes the current president's political trajectory as a jumping off point for a sprawling discussion of the rise of the republican machine, the reasons behind the democrats' declining fortunes and the impact of this political imbalance on the average citizen. This is a sort of State-of-the-Union update: encyclopedic in scope but eminently accessible and studded with juicy morsels of Capitol Hill gossip, little-known facts and generally excellent writing. The fact that the Democratic National Committee did not have a national voter database until late 2003 is stunning, and Gitlin claims that a perpetual ""war on terror"" is precisely what the conservative cognoscenti want: ""as long as fear is so salient to voters, Democrats will be staggering uphill."" Many of Gitlin's conclusions are not necessarily new, but Gitlin's conclusions and suggestions-often missing from such political landscape surveys-for the liberal movement are impressive. His call for a simple but powerful narrative to match that of the Conservatives merits special attention from the leaders of a party made up of (at least) eight distinct voter groups.
Reviewed on: 09/03/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
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