I have a very bad habit of reading a great book but having so many things to say about it that I put it aside for a while. And then, despite the fact that the text is now full of my comments, I have next to no idea what it was I wanted to say. Such is the case with Eric Alterman’s The Cause. It is basically a history of liberalism from the Great Depression to last year. But the real meat of it is in the end of the book when he looks at the resurgence of the Democratic Party. Just as I do, he finds the “New Democratic” movement wanting.
A good example of this is a contrast between Mario Cuomo and his son Andrew. Mario was a good old school Democrat who stood up against unpopular issues like the death penalty. His son (a prototypical New Democrat) took a similarly unpopular stand… Against the millionaire’s tax. Alterman writes:
One reason that I find Alterman so compelling is that he seems to be (like me) primarily an economic liberal. That isn’t to say that we don’t support social liberal causes. But it is the economic cause that has lately been abandoned by the liberal movement. As he writes:
If you want to know where liberalism has been in recent history, the questionable place it currently is, and where it is going, you really should read The Cause. It is largely inspiring, even if many parts will make you crazy.