January 16, 2006
It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future (Hardcover)
Just when we were thinking that maybe Carville and Begala were becoming entrenched Washington pundits, they come out with a book (January, 2006) like this and proved us wrong.
"Take It Back" reminds you that these guys are warriors and they like to win. That, alone, makes them stand out as distinct from most of the Senate Democrats, who always seem to be in retreat.
Think about it this simply, Carville and Begala don't like to be on the losing side. In fact, they hate it.
And they are communicators. They understand what moves people and how to frame a message.
We don't agree with their entire recipe for taking back democracy, but when we read them we are filled with hope again. And that's a mighty powerful force.
And they are engaging; the best sound bite pros in the business. You don't want to get bit by these guys. Take their opening description of recently retired (as a result of corruption) GOP Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham: "The fact that he's a right wing lunatic -- a stone troglodyte who used to hint darkly that Bill Clinton's student backpacking trip to Moscow was somehow treasonous is fine....Cunningham was just another Clinton-hating, right wing wack job. And a fairly amusing one at that."
But they were just winding up their pitch, because that's all written before they start getting into the "Duke's" sleaze problem. "Duke Cunningham is a crook....He is the perfect embodiment of the Bush Republicans -- an arrogant, greedy, corrupt bully."
You can see why we got our engine revved up reading "Take It Back."
In their closing chapter, entitled "progressive patriotism," Carville and Begala assert, "We believe the mortal sin of the Republicans under George W. Bush is that in the end, they appeal to our selfishness." Ain't it the truth?
Bush is the frequent recipient of scathing criticism in the book. We loved it when the co-authors discuss Bush's panicked, inept performance after 9/11. They conclude that if Gore were President and behaved like that, the Republicans would have impeached him.
In analyzing Bush's framing of "the war on terror," Carville and Begala ask:
As you can see, "Take It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future" is worth reading just to enjoy the lashing that Bush so justly receives.
The book jacket for "Take it Back" notes that the problem that the Democratic leadership faces is less ideological and more anatomical. "They lack a backbone."
The way that the Democrats in the Senate handled the Alito nomination is just more proof of that.
Carville and Begala know that no reader is going to agree with everything they say, but boy they sure do get you fired up and ready to ride off into battle.
They certainly do.