Thank God for James Carville
Book Review

Thank God for James Carville. Just when you thought that no one was going to speak for the left, when you'd gotten used to every liberal pundit backtracking into neo-conservative mode, along comes the man who kept the Repubs from maintaining their death-grip on the White House. In his brilliant, funny style, he tells us all how to handle frauds like Rush Limbo and defend what we've done for this country.

But, this isn't just a book to salve your conscience for voting Democratic. It's a call to action for everyone who believes in liberal and left-of-center politics. Carville even has a Top Ten list of things that you can do - among them being involved in discussions on the Internet. To me, the most telling is number 10 on his list - Be as willing to compliment as you are to criticize. He tells us that the last thing we need is more cynicism, and to be constructive. That's the kind of advice that will get us moving again. Liberals have done best when we were able to rally around a positive message - civil rights, work programs, doing something to help those who need help. I hope that every single Democrat running for office reads this book and takes its lessons to heart, because these are the things we need to be doing to pull our country back from the edge of conservatism.

One of the lessons Carville gives is one from his grandmother about being a 5/65 Democrat. What that means is that when you're between the ages of 5 and 65, you should either be in training for a job, or actually in one. Work is sacred to 5/65 Democrats, and is something they should be helping everyone get. I took from this lesson both a respect for Carville's grandmother and the idea that everyone not only should be able to contribute to society, but that everyone can. He's also more than willing to show off how little respect for family values the right-wing actually has, and how they do have a few points about how intact families are better for the country. The main difference is in approach, and he details the right approach - a liberal one - versus the wrong approach.

On the lighter side, Carville provides pointers on what to say to all those jerks who throw up Limbo Lies at you and expect you to shrivel. His nightmare of being forced by his wife, Republican campaigner Mary Matalin, to a conservative cookout is hilarious. It makes me wish that James, (only Republicans call him Jim), would run for office himself. Until then, support his goals and his book. And don't back down - remember, we're right - they're wrong.

We're Right, They're Wrong by James Carville, is published by Simon & Schuster, and Random House.

pearly gates