Review: Take It Back–Our Party, Our Country, Our Future (Hardcover)

4 Star, Democracy, Politics

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

4.0 out of 5 stars Found smarter democrats were available, this is now a TWO (3 Feb 08),

March 15, 2006
James Carville
Edit of 3 Feb 08 to add comment and links (I have read and reviewed each):

Carville’s jumping on board with Hillary Clinton (“I love her to death”) is a substantive confirmation of my earlier comments when this review was first written. Now that we know there ARE smarter Democrats, i.e. both Senator Obama AND his wife (whose brain and demeanor I love to death–and I am an estranged moderate Republican and Latino), I drop this book to a TWO. See the links below, as well. Huckabee-Obama, with Bloomberg funding Bradley-Collins, a transpartisan cabinet for the people (not to be confused with any actual future cabinet) and a balanced budget online for a national “conversation that matters,” and we have our country back.

Bottom line: Carville is totally consistent with the bi-partisan spoils system and top-down elitist mandates that continue to treat the voters as “marks” whose pockets can be picked. Furthermore, it was Bill Clinton and his brain-dead “Republican” Secretary of Defense and his “travel bug” Secretary of State of no substance, who allowed terrorism to flourish for eight years, in essence setting the stage for the neo-cons to rip off the Nation and take the world from 75 failed states in 2005 to 177 in 2007.
ENOUGH! Both the Clinton and Bush dynasties, and the Democratic and Republican “machines,” need to be BURIED.

I absolutely love to hear James Carville go at it, and I respect Paul Begala. Their book is definitely worth buying and worth reading, and it makes a lot of good points. However, if there were smarter more organized Democrats around, this book would only merit two stars. It gets four when compared to some of the other garbage that is being published with a foreword by Howard Dean and absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

The authors do a fine job of focusing on jobs, health care, oil, and security, but they do it in a glib incoherent way that is not backed up with budget numbers.

Worse, they ignore the only dog-catcher issue around: whether or not everyone’s vote counts, and consequently, whether or not this is still a democracy.

This is a book that draws on Op Eds and Google searches, that combines the intellect and wit of two men with a glossy cover, and that provides good read but not much more. This is NOT going to win any votes, nor can it be used by any candidate as a serious guide.

Both the Democrats and the Republicans stink at leadership, and both appear to be completely corrupt and bereft of any grand strategy that is backed up by either a coherent real-world budget or a moral commitment to a coalition cabinet and electoral reform.

This book and its authors are part of the last gasp of the Democratic Party: those that think that with just a little bit more money from George Soros and just a little bit more charm from Bill Clinton, that the Democratic base can beat the Republican base, and go issue on issue. Dream on. As a moderate Republican who is completely disenchanted with the extremist Republicans and actively looking for an alternative, I would suggest that if this is the best the Democrats can do, we may as well all move to Costa Rica.

Running On Empty: How The Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
The World Cafe: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter
How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition
All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (BK Currents)
A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America
Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil
Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History That Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, and the Great Pyramids

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Review: Had Enough? A Handbook for Fighting Back

4 Star, Politics

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

4.0 out of 5 stars Elegant, Missing Some Pieces, Great Bridge to the Future,

January 1, 2004
James Carville
Edit of 21 Dec 07 to add links.

Having reviewed, with appreciation, a number of the books that lambaste the extremist Republican carpetbaggers now in the White House (I am myself a moderate Republican who feels betrayed), I can say here that James Carville has done very, very well. He is vastly more elegant and politically focused than Al Franken, Jim Hightower, or Michael Moore, and dramatically easier to read than Paul Krugman, Matthew Crenson & Benjamin Ginsberg, or the cultural creative/new progressive/radical center readings (see Steele’s List on Democracy & the Republic).

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right
Thieves in High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country and It’s Time to Take It Back
Dude, Where’s My Country?
Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished Expectations
Downsizing Democracy: How America Sidelined Its Citizens and Privatized Its Public
We the People: An Introduction to American Politics, Sixth Shorter Edition

This is a double-spaced book with big print and small pages, but it does the job. James Carville may be a ragin’ Cajun with a smart mouth and a weak bladder (read the book) but he clearly has three things going for him: a brain that is in gear before he talks or writes; good friends strong on both policy and research; and a gift for cutting to the chase. Where I would want to have five of my author-advisors putting together a 1 page summary and 5 page detailed review for each of the key policy areas, Carville manages to do in one book what none of the Democratic candidates–not Dean, not Gephardt–have done: he breaks George W. Bush’s back with six strokes of the rod: 1) provide for the common defense (homeland insecurity, screwed up military and foreign policy); 2) provide for the general welfare (deficits and debts matter a lot, tax cuts are a huge lie); 3) secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and posterity (education, environment and energy, health care–and notice the emphasis in the Constitution on *posterity*, which is the opposite of carpet-bagging); 4) Establish justice (campaign finance reform, corporate governance, myth of tort reform); 5) insure domestic tranquility (why entitlements matter, notes on lying, the religious right, and friends); and finally, 6) form a more perfect union.

This is a quickie book, clearly tapping a multi-million person market for books that contain truth and oppose the impeachable activities of the extremists now looting America through their control of US government policy. It is a simplistic and imperfect book, but sufficient to persuade me that anyone who can muster 1000 brilliant experts covering the 250 critical policy and budget topics that must be mastered to win the general election, must, of necessity, have James Carville as the moderator and facilitator.

The book has several useful graphics, and among them two stand out: one on the changes in the opinion of billions of people around the world from before 9-11 to after three years of Bush in power; the other on the $980 billion–almost one trillion–in uncollected annual tax revenue from corporations that tell their stockholders one thing and the IRS another. I absolutely agree with this author that among our highest priorities must be our restoration of America as good neighbor and global friend to legitimate governments (that cuts out the 44 dictators still operating as looting pals of the Cheney-Bush-Perle regime); and the capture of the lost corporate revenue that could, with other savings, fully fund the most important national security investments: in our people, their health and education, and the restoration of legitimate democracy in America.

Perhaps most interestingly, Carville has avoided the rush to Dean that characterized myself and others who thought Dean would mature quickly and move from Amway parties to structured policy and outreach to all parties including moderate Republicans like myself. Carville cites George McGovern and Nancy Pelosi as special people, and I agree with the first. Pelosi has had her moments, but she has been a doormat in the anchor leg and I will never forgive her for taking impeachment off the table). He also highlights the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Citizens for Tax Justice as meriting special attention, and I only wish that George Soros has earmarked funds for these rather than for organizations that have been too quick to support Howard Dean and abandon a centrist non-partisan policy development position.

Buy this book. Read my other 435 or so reviews. And then, as Carville suggests, stop writing to your Senators and Representatives. Write instead to the editors of your local newspaper and start putting these people (Senators and Representatives) on the spot for betraying the public trust. Download the free NATO Open Source Intelligence Handbook (at or Google for it) and begin following Tom Atlee’s concept for citizen wisdom councils. Take back the power, and don’t wait for the Democrats to get their act together, it may be years.

See also:
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush’s War on Iraq
Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq

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