"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
Twenty years reviewing books, audiobooks, graphic novels, movies and music! More than 1,600 reviews.

Visit DWD's Reviews of Books, Audiobooks, Music and Video new sister blog: DWD's Reviews of Tech, Gadgets and Gizmos!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Red, White & Liberal: How Left Is Right & Right Is Wrong by Alan Colmes

Uneven and the use of e-mails gets annoying

The first 60 pages or so of the book were so unfocused that I could not grasp where Colmes was heading or what he was trying to do. The only real thing he seemed to be doing was showing how unhinged some of the people who e-mailed him really are (lots of people have wished him ill for his points of view) and he uses these nutjobs as a brush to paint conservatives as a group as downright mean - in fact that is the title of one of his chapters. (despite his own admission that people fire off e-mails without thinking and say things that they would most likely never say to someone's face)

Finally, Colmes gets focused and the last 2/3 of his book is a decent read - even though he keeps the e-mail theme going and it really loses its effectiveness. His political commentary is full of the same type of political cheap shots that he accuses the Right of using, such as:

-Colmes has a little chart showing the political spectrum from left to right. He shows it going like this:

Communism Socialism Liberalism Conservatism Fascism Totalitarianism

And then he makes a big deal about how American conservatives are closer to totalitarianism than Liberals are. Come on. Was the USSR anything other than a totalitarian state?

-Colmes digs out specific comments from some Conservatives to show they are all racists (he likes Trent Lott, especially). I can do the same thing with Bill Clinton who once commented to the NAACP that if such and such bill were passed into law they could succeed like "regular people."

-Colmes blames Bush for the malnutrition rampant among Afghanistan's children and the and the fact that one-fourth of Afghan children don't live to reach the age of 5. The publishing date of this UNICEF report? October 2001. Yes, I'm sure Bush caused all of this, despite the fact that the Taliban controlled Afghanistan when the stats were compiled.

Alan Colmes
-He claims that the Conservatives do all of the nasty smear ads. His proof - Willie Horton. He ignores the "Bush is Hitler" ads posted by moveon.org and two awful NAACP ads in the 2000 election. One stated electing Bush will just result in more murders of black men - it featured a pickup truck dragging a logging chain and the daughter of the man who was killed by dragging in Texas (the perpetrators are now in prison for the rest of their lives). Another ad against John Ashcroft said that a vote for a Republican is a vote for more black churches to be burnt down.

I could go on (really - I have more than a dozen similar things, but I can't really imagine who'd want to read them all.)

Colmes has a quirky sense of humor and he makes frequent comments that sometimes make the reader nearly laugh out loud. He also does something interesting - he includes a chapter about where he thinks Conservatives are right and Liberals are wrong. Topics include race reparations and securing our border.

So, all in all, I give this book "3 stars" out of 5 - the choice of using the e-mails actually hurts the book. The unfocused first quarter of the book was frustrating. The cheap shots were annoying, but to be expected - this is not the first book of this type that I've read. All of the political commentary books do it.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Red, White and Liberal.

Reviewed on July 20, 2004.

No comments:

Post a Comment