Stand Up Fight Back: Republican Toughs, Democratic Wimps, and the Politics of Revenge

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Simon and Schuster, Jun 2, 2004 - Political Science - 256 pages
One of our most visible, trenchant, and witty political commentators, the author of the bestselling Why Americans Hate Politics, offers a tough critique of President George W. Bush and the Democratic opposition on the eve of a landmark presidential election -- and points to a way out of cynicism and defeatism.

With passion, clarity, and humor, E. J. Dionne describes today's political atmosphere as the bitterest he can remember. Never have Democrats been as frustrated by their inability to move the debate. The party of Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Clinton, Dionne says, is lost in pointless feuds, outdated strategies, and old arguments. Democrats have lost track of what they stand for so they don't know what they're fighting for and besides, they've forgotten how to fight back.

In describing how Democrats, moderates, and liberals have failed to match Republicans and conservatives in commitment, resourcefulness, and clarity, Dionne invents what is likely to become a popular parlor game among the politically committed. In "The Wrong Stuff," he lists ten futile arguments -- big versus small government, for example -- that Democrats keep having with themselves. "The Right Stuff" focuses on ten arguments they should start making about taxes, business, and the role of government.

Dionne zeroes in on how a floundering Bush administration used September 11 to politicize national security issues for partisan advantage. Enraged but intimidated by ruthless opponents, the Democratic party failed to find its voice on security issues and was soundly beaten in 2002.

Drawing on some lessons from the 2004 primary campaigns, Dionne argues that anger and frustration have in fact awakened progressives to the need for innovation in organizing, in approaching an increasingly conservative media, and in formulating politically useful and plainly stated ideas. Learning from the conservative movement's successes, liberals have begun the work of reconstruction.

The politics of revenge, Dionne argues persuasively, can give way to something better: a progressive patriotism built on hope and optimism about America's role in the world and its capacity to renew social justice at home.

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Stand up, fight back: Republican toughs, Democratic wimps, and the politics of revenge

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Flaying both Bush and his opponents. Read full review

Review: Stand Up Fight Back: Republican Toughs, Democratic Wimps, and the Politics of Revenge

User Review  - Will - Goodreads

Dionne can be annoying at times, allowing errors of fact and soft judgment into his look at recent history. That said, he wants to analyze why the left has been so wimpy and comes up with enough ... Read full review


A Letter to Some Friends
1 Put on a Compassionate Face How an Idea Got Bush Elected and Got Him into Trouble
2 Hes Ours Hes All Weve Got How 911 United Usand Divided Us Again
3 Whats Wrong with the Democrats?
4 Talking the Other Guys Talk Why Democrats Are Afraid of Their Own Principles
5 Were All in This Together How the Right Won with the Media the Think Tanks and the Loudmouths
6 A Fair Fight Why Democrats and Liberals Should Stop Being Afraid

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About the author (2004)

E.J. Dionne, Jr., is a bestselling author, a syndicated columnist who appears twice weekly in The Washington Post and nearly a hundred other newspapers, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a professor at Georgetown University. His Why Americans Hate Politics won a Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a nominee for the National Book Award. He is a regular commentator on National Public Radio and on other radio and television programs. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, Mary Boyle, and their three children.

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