Synopses & Reviews
The bestselling author demolishes myths about liberalism in a spirited polemic.
Thanks to the machinations of the right, there is no dirtier word in American politics today than liberal yet public opinion polls consistently show that the majority of Americans hold liberal views on everything from health care to foreign policy. In this feisty, accessible primer, bestselling author Eric Alterman sets out to restore liberalism to its rightful honored place in our political life as the politics of Americas everyday citizens.
In Why Were Liberals Alterman examines liberalisms development and demonstrates how its partisans have come to represent not just the mainstream, but also the majority of Americans today. In a crisply argued though extensively documented counterattack on right-wing spin and misinformation, Alterman briskly disposes of such canards as Liberals Hate God and Liberals Are Soft on Terrorism, reclaiming liberalism from the false definitions foisted upon it by the right and repeated everywhere else. Why Were Liberals brings clarity and perspective to what has often been a one-sided debate for nothing less than the heart and soul of America.
Why Were Liberals is the perfect election-year book for all of those ready to fight back against the conservative mud-slinging machine and claim their voice in the political debate.
Alterman (What Liberal Media?
), is an omnipresent columnist and blogger, proud to identify himself as a liberalbut, he says, many others shy away from the word because it has been corrupted by conservative political activists. Because of the clever, dishonest conservative campaign to discredit liberal programs, far too many in the electorate dismiss liberal political candidates as unpatriotic, elitist, atheistic, free-sex, reverse-racist, murderous (a.k.a. pro-choice) wimps. Alterman labors mightily to erase the myths and bury the lies pushed by antagonists such as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and others. The trouble is that defining liberalism is a difficult matter, which makes Altermans polemic anything but laser-like. Another problem is that in attacking conservatives, Alterman falls into some of the traps he attributes to them, including name calling and over-generalizing. He is persuasive, however, when he turns the tables, demonstrating that conservatives are frequently as elitist and hypocritical as they claim liberals to be. Despite the presence of George W. Bush in the White House, Alterman claims opinion polls prove overwhelmingly that the majority of Americans prefer the liberal agenda. His hope, he says, is that his book will "open the way for Americans to get the government they repeatedly say they want."
Alterman spends a lot of time clearing away the falsehoods spread by both right-wing and mainstream media figures, but the core of the book is a vigorous defense of liberalism as a credoa credo, Alterman argues persuasively, that most Americans actually subscribe to in its constituent parts. Acknowledging that liberalism is notoriously difficult to define, he nonetheless provides an extensive and nuanced analysis of its substance.
"It is difficult to imagine anyone better qualified to update Arthur Schlesinger Jr.'s notion of liberalism as the 'vital center' of American politics."
-The New York Times
"A vigorous defense of liberalism as a credo-a credo, Alterman argues persuasively, that most Americans actually subscribe to."
The bestselling author and Newsweek columnist takes a characteristically irreverent look at the rampant mistreatment of liberals and liberalism
The "most honest and incisive media critic writing today"(National Catholic Reporter), Eric Alterman is committed to restoring the liberal tradition to its honored place as the political philosophy of mainstream American citizens. In this bracing and well-documented counterattack on right- wing spin and misinformation, Alterman briskly disposes of the canards and false definitions that have been foisted upon liberals by the right and have been accepted unquestioningly by nearly everyone else. The perfect post-election book for all those who are ready to fight back against the conservative mudslinging machine and reclaim their voices in the political process, Why We're Liberals brings clarity and perspective to the possibility of a new day in America.
About the Author
Eric Alterman is Distinguished Professor of English and journalism at Brooklyn College and the Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York. He is the author of the national bestsellers What Liberal Media?, The Book on Bush (with Mark Green), and When Presidents Lie. Media columnist for The Nation, a blogger for Media Matters for America, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and a history consultant to HBO Films.