Top positive review
A manual for cocktail parities.
Reviewed in the United States on August 15, 2004
It was bound to happen; the style of cable punditry has transmuted. As anyone who
watches the omnipresent cable news talk shows fully understands, there is a style
necessary to participate in the give-and-take of these presentations. When you are given
your opportunity to speak, you have roughly 20-30 seconds to make your point before
being interrupted by the host (McLaughlin, Matthews, et al.) or "shouted over" by your
ideological opponent. Thus it is necessary to pick one distinct (talking) point, support it
with some esoteric anecdote or statistic, and talk as fast as possible.
Can America Be Saved adapts this style to the print medium. In each chapter, the
authors highlight several "soundbites" from the liberal opposition and then follow with
their equally brief and generally unsubstantiated responses. If anyone is seeking a depth
of analysis, they will be sadly disappointed. The book does provide a bibliography of
referenced materials, but could have been more authoritative by simply adding footnotes.
Yet, this very weakness of the book may be its strength. This book is ideal for those
conservatives and Republicans preparing for a cocktail party where they expect to have to
defend their ideological positions. I expect that anyone who masters the content of this
book will be quite successful in "shouting-down" all of their liberal acquaintances. With
this book and three single malts, I'd expect to set out on a search-and-destroy mission in
which I'd dominate the shallow liberals that rely on their (weak) fairness arguments.
For example, a liberal's arguments over outsourcing of jobs can easily be summed up in
their lament that the Bush administration's policies have resulted in the loss of "good
paying American jobs." This type of visceral comment needs no further embellishment to
the fairness-minded liberal. But to adequately counter this pronouncement, one would
need several hours and a discussion of the works of Adam Smith, David Ricardo and
Frederich Heyak. Not something that can be easily accomplished while looking for the
But Stein and Demuth provide a string of verbal jabs that can rend an opponent
defenseless and asking "how `bout them Cowboys"?
Bottom line, this book is more cotton candy than steak. But hey, I like cotton candy every
once in a while.