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Listen, Liberal : Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?

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Listen, Liberal : Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?

Walmart # 566118618
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The author posits that "it is a widespread belief among liberals that if only Democrats can continue to dominate national elections, if only those awful Republicans are beaten into submission, the country will be on the right course. But this is to fundamentally misunderstand the modern Democratic Party. Drawing on years of research and first-hand reporting, Frank [concludes] that the Democrats have done little to advance traditional liberal goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. Indeed, they have scarcely dented the free-market consensus at all"--

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The author posits that "it is a widespread belief among liberals that if only Democrats can continue to dominate national elections, if only those awful Republicans are beaten into submission, the country will be on the right course. But this is to fundamentally misunderstand the modern Democratic Party. Drawing on years of research and first-hand reporting, Frank [concludes] that the Democrats have done little to advance traditional liberal goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. Indeed, they have scarcely dented the free-market consensus at all"--

A SCATHING LOOK AT THE STANDARD-BEARERS OF LIBERAL POLITICS—A BOOK THAT ASKS: WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH DEMOCRATS?

Hailed as “the most prescient book” of the year, Listen, Liberal accurately described what ailed the Democratic Party even before the election of 2016 made their weaknesses obvious. It is the story of how the “Party of the People” detached itself from its historic constituency among average Americans and chose instead to line up with the winners of our new economic order.

Now with a new afterword, Thomas Frank’s powerful analysis offers the best diagnosis to date of the liberal malady. Drawing on years of research and firsthand reporting, Frank points out that the Democrats have over the last decades increasingly abandoned their traditional goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. With sardonic wit and lacerating logic, he uncovers the corporate and cultural elitism that have largely eclipsed the party’s old working- and middle-class commitment. And he warns that the Democrats’ only chance of regaining their health and averting a future of ever-increasing inequality is a return to their historic faith.

Specifications

Publisher
Picador
Book Format
Paperback
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
352
Author
Thomas Frank
ISBN-13
9781250118134
Publication Date
March, 2017
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
8.23 x 5.53 x 0.99 Inches
ISBN-10
1250118131
Customer Reviews
3.8
13 reviews
5 stars
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1-5 of 13 reviews

There is one (horrifying)

There is one (horrifying) theme in Listen Liberal. It is that the Democratic Party has betrayed its natural constituency of labor, and is constantly trying (and succeeding) to outrun Republicans by doing more damage to the social structure than Republicans profess, thus stealing their thunder. "It has become Democratic thinking that the common people are at last being treated as they deserve to be." They do it with "professionals". Frank has filled this entire book with evidence of this one point. The difference between Republicans and Democrats ain't what it used to be, according to Frank. The Democrats have decided to put all their eggs in one basket: professionals. They staff their offices with them, just like the Republicans use only lawyers from the Federalist Society. Their backers are Wall Streeters, because the Democrats are at least as generous to Wall Street as the Republicans when in power. For the wealthy, it's a win-win. Doesn't matter who gets in. So while Republicans consider their base the uneducated, bootstrap entrepreneurs who create jobs, the Democrats consider their base the highly educated, networked professionals who create jobs. Two sides of the same coin. And neither one can be bothered with the rest of the population except when vote-gathering. Then, for a brief period, it's all about inequality and jobs. Frank focuses on the last two Democratic presidents, Clinton and Obama, and the upcoming contender - Hillary Clinton. He autopsies their administrations (and Hillary's part in them) and finds them all the same - mouthing platitudes to gain votes from the electorate, then reverting to type and removing any and all support for them so they can to deliver on promises made to the rich. It was Bill Clinton who dismantled welfare and Glass-Steagle, not either Bush. I particularly appreciated Frank's discussion of glass ceilings - in terms of floors. While the Hillary Clintons of the world rail about glass ceilings, it was her Democrat husband president who removed the floor for mothers on welfare, creating extreme poverty where once there was a safety net. While Hillary grandly supports microloans for women (which do not work, other than to create more debtors and richer bankers), when in power, it's all about supporting the rich at the expense of the poor. Garden variety hypocrisy, but coming from a Democrat, and about Democrats, it's supposedly shocking. Frank is overwhelmed by the Democrats' adoption of professionals. Democrats think professionals can solve any problem, and every position is filled with one. Every event showcases them. Doesn't matter that they have no real world experience; the fact they are professionals means they are highly educated creatives. That's all that matters in a Democratic government. So to be disappointed in the Obama Administration is to show yourself as not being a professional. It wasn't always so. Frank shows that FDR's Democratic cabinet had poorly educated secretaries who had street smarts, real life experience, and ideals. They could propose innovative programs that addressed real problems. And if they didn't work, they had another idea waiting. His VP Harry Truman never went to college. Truman couldn't even get an interview today. The Democrats' solution to every problem is go back to school, preferably Harvard, Yale or Stanford, and every door will open for you. All you laborers - you're fooling yourselves. Get an education and become professionals, because America doesn't need or want anyone else. Listen Liberal is a damning, upsetting polemic from a passionate, experienced insider. You might think it would make excellent fodder for a Republican. But it is actually a sad reflection of what has become of the country and its politics. Two sides of the same coin is not healthy. Someone needs to represent the 99%. David Wineberg

Starting with the Carter

Starting with the Carter administration this is a look at how the Democratic party pulled away from its working class base and turned toward the people with money. It gives a history of the change and the affect it had on the middle class and politics up through today. I got mad as I read it and had to put it down several times. I understood what was said. Mr. Frank kept it simple and, at times, humor poked through. I wish I would have been more politically aware when I was younger and understood what was happening and how it would impact me and my world. Worth the read!

This is a very depressing

This is a very depressing book. What Frank did to Republicans in [What's the Matter with Kansas?], he's now done to Democrats. And I can't disagree with him at all, more's the pity.

I received a free advance

I received a free advanced reading copy of this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewers program. Thomas Frank asks the question - if the Democrats have held the Presidency for 16 of the last 24 years, and have the demographic majority to take full control of the country, and have been in control in many states and regions for some time, why is it that the middle and working class continue in steep decline while Wall Street gets bailouts and the rich get richer? The answer is that the Democrats have abandoned their traditional base of working class people and organized labor, instead becoming enamored with what Frank calls the professional class. These are the wealthy and well-educated people credited as being "creative" and "innovators" and who are called upon to resolve problems with their innate brilliance on a revolving door among prominent universities, corporate boardrooms, and political office. Meritocracy is baked into this idea of the professional class with the people who've succeeded being credited with working hard to earn their degrees and get to the place where they are (with the unspoken counter being that those who fail and are poor can only blame themselves for not trying hard enough). Frank traces the Democrats connection to the professional class to the wake of the troubled 1968 election when Democratic leaders made a conscious decision to move away from their traditional base of organized labor and working people (assuming that these people would have to vote Democratic anyway). The Democrats lost several Presidential elections over the 1970s & 1980s and the assumption for party insiders was always that they were always too Liberal and moved the party further to the right. The core of the book is several chapters about the 1990s and Bill Clinton where the Democrats finally could win again and the professional class took control of the reins of government. Only Nixon could go to China, and only Clinton could ratify NAFTA, approve the sweeping crime bill, dismantle the social safety net of welfare, and other things that had been on the Republican wishlist for decades. Frank even details negotiations between Clinton and Newt Gingrich to privatize Social Security, the cornerstone of the abandoned New Deal, that were only scuttled due to the impeachment proceedings against Clinton. With only professionals represented in the Clinton government, alternatives were not considered, and all problems were resolved by doing what would most benefit the professional class. Frank also covers the Barack Obama presidency where Obama was swept in to power on a populist movement in the wake of the financial crisis. Frank notes that Obama had the powers to punish those responsible for the Great Recession, but instead chose to bring Wall Street professional class "innovators" into the government to regulate themselves and work towards bipartisan consensus with the Republicans who were clearly not interested. The presumptive 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is described as someone working to advance women's equality, but doing so in a narrow way that only sees women working hard to become successful "entrepreneurs" (another variation on the meritocracy of the professional class) and working class women are just not seen at her events or in her policies. The book also details how the place where the New Democrat ethos of the professional class has had it's greatest implementation - Massachusetts - is emblematic of this reverence of the "creative class," and also why the state has the greatest level of inequality in the nation. This book does an excellent job of explicating what has happened in the Democratic party over the last several decades where it's gotten to a point that a lot of their ideology is indistinguishable from Republicans and the large portion of Americans have suffered as a result. The year's still young, but I think this is going to be one of the most important books of the year and I suggest that everyone should read it.

Not just the poor but the

Not just the poor but the middle-class as well have been abandoned by the Democratic Party in their rush to embrace the wealthy, innovative, well-educated techno-class that makes up the leaders of Wall Street and Silicon Valley - otherwise known as the top 1%. So where does that leave us, the 99% who aren't hedge fund managers or software moguls? Where is our voice? Who represents us? That's the subject of Listen, Liberal, a grim look at modern political parties and what matters to them. Here's a hint, you don't matter to the modern political parties or to the politicians that comprise them. As far as they're concerned, if you mattered at all you would have gone to a much better school and gotten a much better education than you did. This book is a raw look at the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama regimes and holds an equally pessimistic view of any potential $Hillary government. The rules that have been put in place will continue to benefit the few while the rest of America is left to fend for itself and continue our march toward lower paying jobs or overcrowded prisons. What happens to the country when the middle-class loses it's purchasing power? Who makes money when there are no customers left? These are questions that we need to confront soon, and eight years of continuing on the course we're on will be disastrous. Unfortunately, not many solutions are offered by the author and that's what I found so disappointing - but there are solutions. The rules that are in place that benefit the few aren't natural laws after all and the demise of the middle-class can be prevented if some common sense can be applied to the way justice is meted out. It's going to take a revolution to get anything meaningful accomplished, and lots of hard work will be required to get the "ship of state" back on course towards peace and prosperity. There's something missing from the end of the book, a chapter that remains unwritten, most likely because the author finished writing before it became possible to imagine a challenger to $Hillary and the inevitability of her presidency. My hope is that you will read this book and then vote for the one person who isn't mentioned who offers a different path than the rich get richer, boom and bust, war for profits sake status-quo that we're stuck in. Listen, Liberal... and then Speak Up!
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Electrode, App-product, Comp-283025148, DC-prod-dfw7, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-29.0.16-rc-3, SHA-be3b5cd33cf2201002aafe92047174b804e8a87a, CID-
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Electrode, Comp-283025148, DC-prod-dfw7, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-29.0.16-rc-3, SHA-be3b5cd33cf2201002aafe92047174b804e8a87a, CID-f10e33f9-4ed-16ae4a6a794dc3, Generated: Thu, 23 May 2019 12:24:48 GMT