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Description - Reflections of a Radical Moderate by Elliot Richardson

Written by one of America's most distinguished public servants, Reflections of a Radical Moderate offers a clear-eyed and steady analysis of the state of our democracy and the growth of cynicism among American citizens toward their government. In a series of inspiring and pellucid essays, Elliot Richardson, a stalwart of the liberal wing of the Republican party, explains how American democracy may be at risk. He considers the compulsive pursuit of self-worth as a principal instigator of social conflict-not only between individuals but also among groups. He speculates on the effects of information technology on the American political process and examines the correct role of America in the enforcement of world peace. The result is a humane, optimistic view of national politics from a longtime Washington insider.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780813397849
ISBN-10: 0813397847
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 19mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Westview Press Inc
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 20-Jul-2000
Country of Publication: United States

Book Reviews - Reflections of a Radical Moderate by Elliot Richardson

US Kirkus Review » A humane, optimistic view of national politics from a longtime Washington insider. Richardson (The Creative Balance, 1976), attorney general in Nixon's last days and a former key official in the departments of state and defense, asks us to remember all that is right in American politics: "Every transfer of power from one administration to the next has proceeded without incident. No American politician has ever gone to the chopping block . . . There has never been even a hint of conspiracy to take over the White House and oust the President. And only one president has been forced out of office." American government works, he suggests, because Americans demand accountability and openness and shun ideology in favor of practical idealism; yet, for all that, there is a growing sentiment across the land, fueled by the media, that things have gone badly wrong inside the Beltway. Richardson, a moderate Republican, allows that "politics as usual" may require some fine-tuning: For one thing, he believes that Vice President Gore's National Performance Review Report hasn't gone quite far enough in setting standards for the way federal departments carry out their mandates. But he remarks, borrowing a metaphor from his surgeon father, that "democracy in America is at a complaining stage. We don't have a prescribed course of treatment because we don't have clear diagnoses." And that. he adds, is due to the fact that no one wants to look at the root causes of our troubles, which are milder than we imagine them to be. The disenchantment with which voters view a system that, in Richardson's vision, is right in most respects "invites political quackery." And no quack takes more hits than Ross Perot, for whom the mild-mannered and cordial Richardson seems to have a genuine disdain. "The cynics are always wrong," Richardson comments. His hopeful book is a welcome relief from the gloom-and-doom polemics that now overfill the current-events stacks. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Elliot Richardson

Elliot Richardson is best known for resigning as U.S. Attorney General rather than heeding President Richard Nixon's order to fire special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox. He is the only person to have headed four Cabinet departments. Richardson died in January 2000.