An impassioned call to arms for Democrats to embrace the principles that made the party and the country great—a true moral vision for leadership at home and abroad
In this powerful and provocative manifesto, a cri de coeur for Democrats who have grown increasingly frustrated with their party's leaders, former senator Gary Hart takes the Democrats to task for choosing caution and calculation in place of moral principles. That path, Hart says, will lead only to sorrow—for the party and for the country.
The Courage of Our Convictions is Hart's call to action—a clear-eyed and plainspoken manifesto that urges a return to the principles bequeathed to the party by its great twentieth-century presidents: Franklin D. Roosevelt's commitment to a single national community, where no American would be left behind; Harry S. Truman's internationalism, which preserved democracy after World War II and led eventually to the defeat of communism; John F. Kennedy's ideal of civic duty and service to the nation; and Lyndon B. Johnson's insistence on equality for all our citizens.
As the midterm elections approach—and with the 2008 presidential election just over the horizon—Hart speaks directly and passionately to the many Democrats who seek a principled change of leadership in Washington. It is the wake-up call that so many Americans have been waiting for.
Former Senator Gary Hart's role as a lifelong Democratic reformer comes to the fore in this thought-provoking manifesto, part housekeeping and part call to action, taking on the Democratic party's current identity crisis. Dismissing Democrats' hunt for a "an exciting new candidate who will lead the Democratic party out of the wilderness," Hart observes that "this search has become a substitute for thought, for purpose, for conviction ... No politician can save a political party that does not know what it stands for." For Hart, it's the principles and convictions of leaders past-such as FDR and JFK-that will lead the Democrats forward. In addition to putting to work "Twentieth-Century Principles in a Twenty-First Century World," Hart focuses on thoughtful approaches to U.S. obligations-as opposed to detailed policy proposals-including redefining security, safeguarding liberty and protecting the environment. Hart saves some of his harshest criticism for Democratic leaders who stood silent as the country went to war. Pressing for damage control and repair-rather than "election by default"-Hart asserts that "in 2008, the American people will look for a leader who was willing to say, 'I made a mistake. ...and I am going to ask forgiveness for my mistake from every parent who will talk to me.'" Though it may prove no more than a pipe dream, Hart's stand may prove just what many confused and foundering Democrats need to read.