Friday, November 02, 2012

George Kenney: "Hedrick Smith 'Who Stole the American Dream" @ Electric Politics

Dear Michael,

It's always a good thing when a leading mainstream journalist endorses radical politics. Hedrick Smith, a former New York Times reporter and Washington Bureau Chief, two time Pulitzer and Emmy winner, has written a great book, Who Stole the American Dream? (Random House, 2012). He doesn't cover all the issues but on the ones he does he gets nearly a perfect score. Now, it's true that a lot of people have been writing sensibly about these same policy problems for much longer than Hedrick -- as he tells me, he could not have written the book even just a few years ago. But, in and of itself it's fascinating to me that he was able, in his late 70s, to turn his attention to things he'd managed to not notice and then, patiently working the problems, found the right answers and, indeed, many of the same sources I use myself. Remarkable! What's even better is that by the end of his journey he's arguing, rather passionately, that the only way to make things work again for the average American is for everyone to take to the barricades and demand better policies. It's at this point that I become skeptical, largely because I believe that in order to create a political movement people need to share a fundamental sense of social covenant, which, in truth, not so many policy issues provide. But our differences are picayune compared to our agreement.

Because this conversation ran so long I've divided it into two parts. Today runs forty four minutes. I'll broadcast the second part, which runs twenty eight minutes, on Monday morning.

After that I'll be taking a few weeks vacation to rest and to get past the election.

Thanks very much for listening!



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