What It Means to Serve the Public
In a vigorous defense of public life, Senator Joseph Lieberman, renowned as one of our most articulate and respected politicians, defines the duty, the honor and the privilege of public life in the face of Americans' perennial cynicism about it.
Drawing widely from his own experience as a politician and his pride in public service, Lieberman makes a passionate, hopeful argument for the value of public life -- its place and necessity in our democracy and our need for more Americans to embrace it if we are to sustain our self-government.
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In Praise of Public Life, a slim book by Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, succeeds at being several things: a call to public service, a plea for banishing cynicism from American politics, and a glimpse of what the life of a senator is like and how the Senate really works. Lieberman begins by complaining that today's public servant "must face questions not only about how he is doing his job but how he is living his life--and how he has lived his life." This poisonous atmosphere of ad hominem politics and attack-dog journalism has created an environment in which young people don't want to enter public life, writes Lieberman. He offers his own career as a tonic, describing the challenges and joys of working his way through the party ranks and achieving his dream of becoming a senator.
No book by an office-holding politician would be complete without its share of clichés ("It is leadership that the American public is asking for in its government today"), but Lieberman also offers some genuine insights for lay readers on how the Senate functions. Personal contacts are tremendously important to passing legislation, patience and persistence are perhaps a senator's two most useful character traits, and foreign trips (derided as "junkets" by the good-government crowd) represent one of the best opportunities to get to know colleagues (and therefore do business). The prose is breezy, making In Praise of Public Life an easy, quick, and welcome read. --John J. MillerAbout the Author:
Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (Democrat -- Connecticut) is in his second term in the United States Senate. He serves on the Armed Services Committee and became Ranking Democratic Member on the Governmental Affairs Committee in January 1999. Since 1995, he has been Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council.
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