The Bulldozer and the Big Tent: Blind Republicans, Lame Democrats, and the Recovery of American Ideals


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$37.95  $34.91
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6.57 X 9.38 X 1.15 inches | 1.21 pounds

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About the Author

Todd Gitlin is a professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University. He is the author of numerous books, including the national bestseller "The Sixties," and a contributing writer for "Mother Jones." His work has appeared in many publications, including the "New York Times," the "Washington Post," the "Nation," the "American Prospect," and "Harper's." He blogs at


* Like Krugman, Gitlin lays the blame for political polarization squarely on George Bush and the Republican Party. ""The core of their rule,"" he writes, ""is a bulldozer approach to reality -- belligerence as an all-purpose style, whether facing domestic critics or the rest of the world."" The problem facing liberals, he says, is that although they are increasingly galvanized, they don't have the numbers to govern alone. They must form a big tent of ""secularists and moderate evangelicals, budget-balancers and Keynesians, fair traders and free traders. . . . "" Gitlin, a Columbia professor and longtime liberal activist, admits that this will not be easy. But he suggests the answer is probably more Democratic Party ""discipline"" and partisanship, not less: ""The denizens of the tent will need to remind themselves that outside there dwell barbarians."" (The Washington Post, November 18, 2007)

Professor and political analyst Gitlin (former president of SDS) utilizes the current president's political trajectory as a jumping off point for a sprawling discussion of the rise of the republican machine, the reasons behind the democrats' declining fortunes and the impact of this political imbalance on the average citizen. This is a sort of State-of-the-Union update: encyclopedic in scope but eminently accessible and studded with juicy morsels of Capitol Hill gossip, little-known facts and generally excellent writing. The fact that the Democratic National Committee did not have a national voter database until late 2003 is stunning, and Gitlin claims that a perpetual "war on terror" is precisely what the conservative cognoscenti want: "as long as fear is so salient to voters, Democrats will be staggering uphill." Many of Gitlin's conclusions are not necessarily new, but Gitlin's conclusions and suggestions--often missing from such political landscape surveys--for the liberal movement are impressive. His call for a simple but powerful narrative to match that of the Conservatives merits special attention from the leaders of a party made up of (at least) eight distinct voter groups. (Sept.) (Publishers Weekly, August 27, 2007)