cover image Hope Is a Tattered Flag: Voices of Reason and Change for the Post-Bush Era

Hope Is a Tattered Flag: Voices of Reason and Change for the Post-Bush Era

Peter Laufer, Markos Kounalakis. Polipoint Press, $29.95 (299pp) ISBN 978-0-9794822-5-0

Washington Monthly writers Kounalakis (Beyond Spin: The Power of Strategic Corporate Journalism) and Laufer (Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq) have selected 48 interviews broadcast on their weekly radio show (Washington Monthly on the Radio) from the run-up to the 2008 presidential election. These transcripts are full of wit and surprising insights; Bill Richardson, for instance, tells a story about winning over notorious dictator Hugo Chavez with the gift of a baseball glove. Bill Clinton's speech-writer, Paul Glastris, admits they ""cribbed like crazy from Ronald Reagan."" The Nation editor Christopher Hayes explains why corporate entities are begging the federal government for more regulation; to quote a Chamber of Commerce head, Hayes says, ""You want to be sure you're at the table to make sure you're not on the menu."" Interviewees are largely newsmakers, but others function behind the scenes or at a remove, like retired Army officer Andrew Exum; having joined the forces with a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies, he found that, even stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, he had to leave active duty in order to study Arabic. Arranged by topic, Kounalakis and Laufer cover politics, business and finance, culture and other subjects; though unabashedly liberal, they achieve their goal: to offer ""satisfying and rich conversation"" that illuminates and unites.