The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, Dean Kuipers, James Ridgeway, Richard Goldstein, and Elizabeth Sanders, published Aug. 2007
(Click for Amazon book review)
BOOK REVIEW by Massscorecard.org:
This book is a nice intro to each of the contenders for the Democratic nomination for president.
It includes sections not only on the usual frontrunner suspects, but the minor candidates as well.
The problem with a book like this is: It's outdated as soon as it's published, and it gets more outdated every month.
This book was published in November 2007. Its expected lifetime was only a few months -- until the primaries picked a winner.
And worse, news events change the list constantly -- Al Gore, for example, is featured prominently, but declared immediately after publication that he would not run.
Nevertheless, the book covers the basics of each candidate's biography and issue stances.
(We went back to the Biden section right after Obama selected him for Veep, and pulled out a few more excerpts.)
We wish there were such a book for the GOP.
-- Jesse Gordon, jesse@Massscorecard.org, Aug. 2008
Chris Dodd: Partial birth abortion ban needs maternal health exception.
Budget & Economy|
Dennis Kucinich: As Cleveland mayor, first city to default since Depression.
John Edwards: Savings & Credit Commission to regulate abusive credit.
Mike Gravel: Considered his bankruptcy as creditors donating to his cause.
Hillary Clinton: Compiled “Handbook on Legal Rights for Arkansas Women”.
Bill Richardson: Resigned from Peregrine Systems amid 2002 financial collapse.
Chris Dodd: Reliable vote for banking & insurance industries.
Chris Dodd: Co-sponsored bill to make suing corporations harder.
Chris Dodd: Advocated against extreme predatory lending practices.
Joe Biden: OpEd: beholden to corporations because so many based in DE.
John Edwards: Oil windfall tax is most serious blow against wealthy.
Barack Obama: Legislated protecting police detainees during interrogation.
Joe Biden: Biden Law of 1994 created several new capital offenses.
Joe Biden: Took lead on drug policy & narcotics control.
Mike Gravel: War on drugs is a total failure.
Energy & Oil|
Al Gore: Immediate freeze now; then reduce CO2 emissions 90% by 2050.
Bill Richardson: Recommends 90% GHG reduction to IPCC.
Bill Richardson: Served on boards of three large oil companies.
Joe Biden: Supports cap-and-trade for greenhouse gases.
Bill Richardson: 2001-2: Worked on energy strategy for Kissinger Association.
Chris Dodd: Accommodating with Cuba, Sandanistas, & Hugo Chavez.
Hillary Clinton: 2001 speech to AIPAC pledges money for Israeli military.
John Edwards: Cosponsored 2002 Iraq War Resolution.
Hillary Clinton: Criticized trade pacts for weak labor standards.
Al Gore: Money overshadows knowledge in our democracy.
Hillary Clinton: HILL-PAC is one of politics biggest money-raisers.
Hillary Clinton: Change system from the inside, not from the outside.
Joe Biden: As Judiciary Chair, rejected Bork and supported Thomas.
Mike Gravel: Public empowerment appeals to progressives & libertarians.
Mike Gravel: National Initiative criticized as public opinion bureaucracy.
Bill Richardson: 1993: Opposed Brady Bill in Congress.
Barack Obama: Cautious incremental plan offers choice & subsidy.
Chris Dodd: Focus on government support for private insurance.
Joe Biden: Modernize, simplify & expand health insurance.
John Edwards: Critics call plan backdoor to a single payer system.
John Edwards: Don’t spend another decade arguing; get it done.
Barack Obama: Don’t allow our politics to be driven by fear of terrorism.
Chris Dodd: Co-sponsored “Restoring the Constitution Act” to ban torture.
Hillary Clinton: 2001: Called for wrath on those who attacked America on 9/11.
Mike Gravel: 1960s: Wept openly in Senate because US is dragged in mud.
Bill Richardson: Declared state of emergency in NM’s four border counties.
Joe Biden: Supported Bush plan: both border fence & path to citizenship.
Dennis Kucinich: Put unemployed to work rebuilding infrastructure.
John Edwards: Create a million “stepping stones” jobs at minimum wage.
Principles & Values|
Al Gore: A different kind of campaign: make climate change #1 issue.
Barack Obama: Resounds with American theme of overcoming burden of history.
Barack Obama: Cultivates comparison to Jack Kennedy.
Barack Obama: Campaigns assiduously in black churches.
Barack Obama: Won Grammy for recording “Dreams from My Father”.
Barack Obama: Ran for Congress in 2000 & lost.
Barack Obama: Viral video “I Got a Crush on Obama” by Obama Girl.
Barack Obama: Gave away all Rezko “boneheaded” donations to charity.
Barack Obama: 2 years older than JFK when JFK ran for president.
Bill Richardson: Well-off childhood in Mexico as son of Citibank executive.
Chris Dodd: Father, Thomas Dodd, was Senator too.
Chris Dodd: Served as DNC chair from 1995 to 1997.
Dennis Kucinich: Met wife Elizabeth when she lobbied him on monetary policy.
Dennis Kucinich: Ran for city council seat before he was old enough to vote.
Dennis Kucinich: Won House seat “Because he was right” as mayor.
Hillary Clinton: An anti-agitator; never sought changing system from outside.
Hillary Clinton: Cultivates grassroots groups & “grass-top” leaders.
Joe Biden: Insulted Indian-Americans in attempt to compliment vibrancy.
John Edwards: Op-Ed: more populist or perhaps more redistributionist.
John Edwards: Positioning as a populist who stands with struggling masses.
John Edwards: Founding member of the Senate New Democrat Coalition.
Mike Gravel: Gadfly who’s mad as hell at Democratic Establishment.
Mike Gravel: Lost re-election after alienating every AK constituency.
Mike Gravel: Blogosphere hails Gravel/Paul ticket with cross-party appeal.
Mike Gravel: No-nonsense challenge to mainstream Democratic shuffling.
Mike Gravel: Wildcard independent run raises specter of Nader.
Ron Paul: Blogosphere hails Paul/Gravel ticket with cross-party appeal.
Mike Gravel: Eliminate income tax so the wealthy can’t “game” the system.
War & Peace|
Barack Obama: Introduced bill to redeploy troops in May 2007; it failed.
Hillary Clinton: Called war on terror “Bush’s war” but has played active role.
Hillary Clinton: 2002: Accepted connection between Saddam & Al Qaeda.
Joe Biden: Strong US intervention in trouble spots around the world.
Joe Biden: Third way: federalize Iraq; troops home; no chaos behind.
Joe Biden: Post-colonial countries like Iraq need federal system.
Welfare & Poverty|
John Edwards: Criticized for personal extravagances after poverty lectures.
John Edwards: Morally wrong that full time workers are still in poverty.
The above quotations are from The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, Dean Kuipers, James Ridgeway, Richard Goldstein, and Elizabeth Sanders, published Aug. 2007.
Related books, debates, and candidates:
- Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics, by Joe Biden
- Obama: From Promise to Power, by David Mendell
- A Prayer for America, by Dennis Kucinich
- Partners in Power: The Clintons and Their America, by Roger Morris
- Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton
- Letters from Nuremberg, by Christopher Dodd
- Leading by Example: How We Can Inspire an Energy and Security Revolution, by Bill Richardson
- Barack Obama: The Improbable Quest, by John K. Wilson
- God and Hillary Clinton: A Spiritual Life, by Paul Kengor
- Ending Poverty in America: How to Restore the American Dream, edited by John Edwards
- The Courage to Survive, by Dennis Kucinich
- The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, et al.
- Citizen Power: A People's Platform, by Mike Gravel
- A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win, by Shelby Steele
- Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life, by Bill Richardson
- The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, by Barack Obama