Black Studies Tavis Smiley Hard Left

ISBN 13: 9780385484046

Hard Left

3.56 avg rating
( 16 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780385484046: Hard Left

Tavis Smiley, the left's hard-hitting  answer to talk radio conservatives, takes on the  political right and thrashes them at their own  game.

Picked by Time as one of  the fifty young leaders of the future, Tavis Smiley  has built a national reputation as a political  commentator with numerous appearances on "Good  Morning America," CNBC, BET, CNN and  "Geraldo"--which he recently co-hosted--as well  as his own highly popular radio commentary show,  "The Smiley Report."

In  Hard Left, he presents an impassioned  polemic that will shape the Democratic platform and  the political debate at the Summer 1996 Democratic  and Republican National  Conventions.

At last, those on the left have a fast-talking  champion with fresh ideas to counter the outrageous  barbs of conservatives like Newt Gingrich and Rush  Limbaugh, who have cowed Capitol Hill and  dominated talk radio. Smiley is particularly harsh on  Black conservatives like Ken Hamblin and Armstrong  Williams, who he feels have betrayed the Black  community. But Smiley isn't afraid to take on  traditional politics-as-usual liberals as well. Says Smiley,  it was the liberals' determined refusal to  acknowledge the flaws of social programs and policies,  from affirmative action to welfare, that gave  conservatives the opening they needed to rechart the  nation's course. Now, Smiley warns, that course has  taken America dangerously close to the rocky shoals  of the extreme  right.

Hard Left is a clarion call to liberal  politicians and leaders to take their heads out of  the sand, tear a page out of the conservative  playbook, and counter the conservative offensive by  tackling the political and racial issues that go to  the core of our society.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Liberal pulpit-pounding from a young master of the exploding what's-wrong-with- America genre. ``People are tired of being preached to, from the Left and Right,'' talk-radio host Smiley observes. That said, he does an awful lot of preaching in this short book, in which he aims to convert his audience to Democratic populism through a mix of folksy exhortation (``well, we'd darn well better raise our voices quickly before the rhetoric of the Right overwhelms us all'') and broad-view oratory (``whites today weren't responsible for slavery. But they have indirectly benefitted from the racial inequality and economic injustice that arose out of it''). In measured moments, Smiley offers sensible observations on the desirability of consensus-building and unification; drawing on his background as a poor black in a largely white area of rural Indiana, near the national headquarters of the KKK, he insists that people of all ethnicities can get along and form an equitable political coalition. He also gives credit where it is due, allowing that when conservatives ``talk about the moral fabric of our country being torn apart and the need for a return to family values, they are right.'' Still, for Smiley the left is the Democratic Party, the right the Republicans, which leaves an awful lot of political territory unexplored, and he is too obviously impressed by his own influence (``the real power in this country today is in the media,'' he avers) to be entirely convincing. Some of his facts are questionable, too--he claims, for instance, that while smoking kills half a million Americans a year, illegal drugs produce only 3,000 deaths, which seems a gross undercalculation. But no matter: Smiley is on a roll throughout this book, and his enthusiasm for his cases bears his arguments along even when pure logic doesn't. In the end, the preaching is directed to the choir, no matter how good the oratory may be. -- Copyright 1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review:

Tavis Smiley is the liberal's answer to talk radio conservatives. Smiley routinely takes on the political right and beats them at their own game. In Hard Left he presents an impassioned polemic that will shape the Democratic platform and the political debate at the Summer 1996 Democratic and Republic National conventions. Those on the left have a radio personality with fresh ideas to counter the outrageous barbs of conservatives like Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh who have cowed Capitol Hill and dominated talk radio. Smiley (who is himself an articulate Black man) is particularly harsh on Black conservatives like Ken Hamblin and Armstrong Williams (who he feels have betrayed the Black community). But Smiley isn't afraid to take on traditional politics-as-usual liberals as well. Smiley says it was the liberals' determined refusal to acknowledge the flaws of social programs and policies (from affirmative action to welfare) that gave conservatives the opening they needed to rechart the nation's course. Now, Smiley warns, that course has taken America dangerously close to the rocky shoals of the extreme right. Hard Left is a clarion call for liberal politicians and leaders to pick themselves up off the ground, tear a page out of the conservative playbook, and counter the conservative offensive by tackling the political and racial issues that go to the core of our society. Hard Left is a welcome contribution to today's national political dialogue! -- Midwest Book Review

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