Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Book Review: 'Killer Politics: How Big Money and Bad Politics Are Destroying the Great American Middle Class' by Ed Schultz

Review by Susan Gardner
Killer Politics: How Big Money and Bad Politics Are Destroying the Great American Middle Class 
By Ed Schultz 
Hardcover, 224 pages, $25.99 
June 2010
Money quote:
The middle class, where the greatness of this nation is rooted, is under siege by an increasingly unethical system, managed by economic vampires who are sucking the lifeblood out of the American family and ripping the heart out of democracy itself. From mortgage scams to credit card predation to health insurance hustles, greed is killing our country.
Author: Does he really need an introduction? Well, okay. A former conservative who saw the light and converted to proud, practical liberalism, Schultz is grounded in Midwest, blue-collar issues, with calls-it-as-he-sees-it attitude and the perfect broadcast voice for progressivism. He's one of the most popular liberal voices out there, both in radio and on MSNBC. Who doesn't love Ed? Besides Republicans, that is ....

Basic premise: Corporations have taken our political class hostage, and it's up to us to fight back -- with knowledge, words, passion and organizing. The reign of the right has damaged America in numerous ways (which he lists and discusses), and Obama inherited a mess. But it's also time to stop blaming the Republicans and to hold our guys accountable; frustration is setting in and we, the people, need to get these Democrats off the dime and moving to save the besieged middle class. How do you do that? Schultz's four pillars to rebuild the middle class: Defend the nation, establish a sound fiscal policy (jobs, smart trade alliances, cut wasteful spending), feed the country and educate our people. Yeah, that's right. Jobs. Education. Quality health care. Better trade agreements. Time to deliver, buckos.
Readability/quality: Snappy, fun and passionate, just like his radio show (you can hear him narrating in your head, if you've heard him much on the air.) Reads as if it were written orally, which works in his case. Why mess with a winning formula?
Who should read it: While progressives everywhere should snap this up and love it, it's also the ideal book to hand to friends or family members teetering on the edge of blue/red identity. For those turned off by Tea Party antics but repelled by the hippy liberal stereotype, Schultz is the perfect antidote. Think of him as the gateway introduction to the Land of Liberals; his no-nonsense, bare-knuckled, unapologetic stances -- calling Democrats out as well as Republicans -- is bracing and appealing.
Bonus quote:
I live in two worlds. One is on the streets of Manhattan. The other is the lake and farm country on the Minnesota-North Dakota border. I see both of these worlds up close and personal, and I wish everyone could, because if there is a disconnect in America, it is between these worlds.
Schultz's experience of bridging both these worlds gives him a rare perspective on what plays well in both realms. While expressing strong support for President Obama and the goals of the Democratic Party, he pulls no punches when it comes to calling them on the carpet for their lack of deliverables and their timidity in standing up proud and loud for progressive values. ("What the hell! What would Bush have done with sixty votes? We'd be in Iran by now! .... I keep hearing about these Chicago Thug Politics. Yeah? Well, gimme some! The opportunities afforded by a sixty-vote Senate majority come around as often as Haley's Comet or Dick Cheney telling the truth--and the Democrats acted like they were on life support. Where's our Tom DeLay? Why, as Democrats, can't we put the hammer down?")

While most Daily Kos readers will not find any new, startling insights about current policy or proposed solutions, Killer Politics is a nice political beach read, a fine example of the (necessary, in my book -- very necessary) genre of preaching to the choir, getting you fired up and ready to go. We all need reminders from time to time of what's important in our politics, and Schultz's book is a good start. And if you happen to leave it behind so your wavering conservative brother-in-law picks up, all the better.

Editor's note: This review was originally published at the Daily Kos, which notes that its "content may be used for any purpose without explicit permission unless otherwise specified." The original page can be found here. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right. 

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