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Who Cares?
Public Ambivalence and Government Activism from the New Deal to the Second Gilded Age
Katherine S. Newman & Elisabeth S. Jacobs

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"Americans have long been ambivalent about what is owed the weakest and most vulnerable among us, and public opinion has never been overly generous toward the welfare state. Not everyone is a snarling Scrooge with a heart of stone, but neither does everyone believe we are our brother's keeper--not by a long shot. So what's a President to do in the face of great human need and a divided, indifferent, or even hostile public mind? The answer, in one word, is: Lead. Katherine Newman and Elisabeth Jacobs have produced a timely and absorbing book about how Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and--yes--Richard Nixon refused to leave the fate of public policy toward the poor to a fickle public. Barack Obama, are you listening?"--Bill Moyers

"The deep ambivalence Americans feel about government has always been central to our politics, and it's an especially vital matter now with the rise of Tea Party movements and other assaults on public power. Americans often want a smaller government that does more, a difficult recipe for politicians to follow. That's why Who Cares? is so timely and so important. Katherine Newman and Elisabeth Jacobs have done a superb job tracing the history of our ambivalence and suggesting where we might go from here. They will be the talk of academia--and the talk shows."--E. J. Dionne Jr., author of Souled Out and Why Americans Hate Politics

"This timely and important book shows that Americans are willing to support social programs that help the poor and unfortunate--but usually only after those programs have been up and rolling for years. A just society therefore depends on politicians with the courage to lead rather than pander to current public opinion."--Robert B. Reich, professor of public policy, University of California, Berkeley

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File created: 4/21/2017

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