03 August 2009

Books I've Read...

It's been a while since I've made you, my dear readers, privy to some of the books I've read over the past year. I pride myself on being well-read, and able to accurately summarize the books I read, and challenge you to read, not only books that I've read, but others as well. I should note for any new readers of mine, that I read mostly political history books, but my husband has convinced me to sprinkle a few other ones in the mix as well.

1. Bamboozled, by Angela McGlowan

This book tells how the Democratic Party has always been the party of "segregation yesterday, segregation now, segregation forever." They fought tooth and nail to deny blacks equal treatment under the law after Reconstruction, with Democratic President Andrew Johnson calling the idea "radical." Beleagured by the successful agenda of the Radical Republicans in Congress, the Democratic terrorist arm, the Ku Klux Klan began intimidating not only blacks, but white Republicans, from exercising their right to vote. In the aftermath of the Election of 1876, which resulted in Democratic presidential nominee, Samuel Tilden, winning the popular vote and the Republican presidential nominee, Rutherford B. Hayes, winning the electoral one, came the Compromise of 1877, which effectively ended Reconstruction. The compromise allowed Hayes to succeed Grant as president if he withdrew the US Army, who were enforcing the Republican equality agenda for blacks against Democratic governments hellbent on denying them, from the South.

Blacks consistently voted for Republicans until the Election of 1932, when they believed the effects of the Great Depression affected them, and were sold a bag of crap by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That's not to say blacks' standard of living in the US did not increase under Roosevelt, and subsequently under Harry Truman, but no significant civil rights legislation passed over their desks, just a few bone throwing moves like FDR's appointment of Mary McLeod Bethune's appointment to the National Youth Administration in 1936 and Truman's integration of the US Armed Forces in 1948. In 1954, the Supremes' decided to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) with Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, and many Democratic governors in the South, like Orval Faubus (D-AR) and Lester Maddox(D-GA) used their political power to try and stem the tide of racial equality. While Democrats love to claim that Republicans are racists, history shows that more often it has been Democrats who've stood on the side against equality.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. This coupled with Columbia professor, Eric Foner's Short History of Reconstruction opened my eyes about the Democratic Party, which campaigns for minority votes, and then sails the minority down the river.

2. Never Again by former US Senator, US Attorney General, and Missouri governor and state attorney general, John Ashcroft

This book gave an insider's account of Ashcroft's time as both Missouri's attorney general and its governor to his election as a US Senator and appointment as US Attorney General. It tells how during his US Senate reelection bid in 2000, how he felt when his Democratic opponent, also a former governor, Mel Carnahan, was killed in a plane crash shortly before the November 2000 general election. His subsequent appointment to the US Justice Department by President Bush was seen by some, to include my father, as a cave to groups opposed to racial equality, and would set the civil rights movement backwards. At the time, I was agnostic about President Bush and John Ashcroft, although I did poke fun at the fact that a dead Mel Carnahan was able to oust Ashcroft from his senate seat and that Bush's appointment was to make him feel better.

Ashcroft then talks about the messes he had to clean up, from the almost botched Timothy McVeigh execution to Robert Hanssen's spy scandal to Lynne Stewart's coddling of terrorists, at Justice upon being confirmed (I should also note his oath of office was administered by Justice Clarence Thomas, a justice most hated by blacks...and white liberals.), culminating in the September 11th attacks. He frequently cited the "wall," the barrier that prevented federal intelligence agencies from discussing information with federal law enforcement (and vice versa) created during the Carter years and heightened by the Clinton Administration, being a main reason to the inability to read the tea leaves. The PATRIOT Act, was one of his pet causes, which saw this "wall" fall, and lead to subsequent arrests of alleged terrorists and the cessation of terror plots against the homeland.

I enjoyed this book because it cut through the media and liberal spin (I know they're one in the same) about the Bushites alleged desire to foist a theocracy upon the nation by enacting martial law and stealing civil liberties. Rational people understand the danger of buying into liberal fearmongering about the Bush years, even though several protocols were in place to keep civil liberties intact. He didn't have the intention of engaging in political vendettas, as the 82nd Attorney General has mulled. His goal was to keep the US safe from terror, and he did just that...

3. The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama by PBS political commentator and journalist, Gwen Ifill

During the Election of 2008, the blog Sweetness and Light uncovered a bombshell...that the moderator of the campaign season's only vice presidential debate was penning a book whose success depended on the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President. What the blogger was hoping was that PBS would see the obvious conflict of interest and replace the moderator with an uninterested party, you know, like FNC does with its political debates. In the introduction of the book, she brushes it off, claiming she'd been penning the article for a while, as if that made the controversy any less legitimate.

Although I stated in my last post that this book was entirely an Obama puff piece, it's major theme was one that I kept repeating after Obama won the presidency, that his election marked a major milestone in Amurica's progress on race relations. Black politicians have the double goal of maintaining their ethnic credibility while playing to black and white powerbrokers. She does a profile on three black politicians: Obama, Massachussetts governor Deval Patrick, and one of which I heard of during my time in Montgomery, Alabama, Artur Davis. She starts off with President Obama, and his rise from a community organizer to the 44th President, brushing off his controversial ties to Jeremiah Wright, using a relative of Obama's comments in regards to his association with Bill Ayers...he couldn't help it. She hardly gives voice to Republican minorities who made their own breakthroughs, like Colin Powell, JC Watts, Michael Steele, or Condi Rice. It was all Democrats all the time.

I found this book interesting as well, because the men she profiles all had the same theme, they didn't let the political powerbrokers determine their political fate. Many of the Democratic powerbase wanted Hillary Clinton to face the Republican nominee, but the Obama mantra whipped the grassroots into a frenzy. Deval Patrick had never been elected to public office prior to his election as governor. Artur Davis revoked the advice of Lou Reed, the black Alabama Democratic powerbroker to oust Earl Hilliard from his seat in Congress. They were all told to wait their turn, and they all gave the powerbrokers a collective "FUCK YOU" and went on to successful elections, their time in office, on the other hand...the jury's still out. I should note that yours truly was inspired by their stories and plans to run for public office someday...

Of course this isn't an exhaustive list of all the books I've read throughout the past year, and there will be more book reviews to come. If you decide to pick up any of these books, and enjoy them as I did, let me know.

Have a great day...

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