Catalogue


Who cares? : public ambivalence and government activism from the New Deal to the second gilded age /
Katherine S. Newman, Elisabeth S. Jacobs.
imprint
Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, c2010.
description
xv, 219 p.
ISBN
0691135630 (hardcover : alk. paper), 9780691135632 (hardcover : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, c2010.
isbn
0691135630 (hardcover : alk. paper)
9780691135632 (hardcover : alk. paper)
contents note
Devoted to the common good? -- Dissent and the New Deal -- Warring over the war on poverty -- Economic anxiety in the new gilded age -- Searching for "the better angels of our nature".
catalogue key
7114362
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"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"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
Flap Copy
"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
Flap Copy
"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
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2010-12-01:
All who are interested in US public opinion concerning the role of government in support of social programs and the role that leaders can play in supporting or dismantling such programs should read this brief, timely, and well-written gem. Sociologist Newman (Princeton) and senior policy adviser Jacobs (Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress) are well prepared for their work. Three of the four chapters each focus on one period in the nation's recent past: the New Deal, the Great Society, and the new gilded age (1980s to the present). Although public opinion polls are the main sources, the authors make innovative use of letters written by Americans to the White House regarding the New Deal and the Great Society. These letters fill out the meaning of survey responses and often sound as if they were written today. The authors conclude that from the New Deal forward, Americans have had ambivalent attitudes toward government-sponsored social programs and intervention. However, "two of the most substantial building blocks of the American welfare state, the New Deal and the Great Society, occurred at least in part because presidents were willing to step out in front of history early in their tenure." Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. M. Oromaner formerly, Hudson County Community College
Reviews
Review Quotes
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.
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 whyWho 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.
The authors raise important questions about public opinion, policy making, and democracy. Scholars exploring shifts in the American safety net and American politics more generally will have to attend to the authors' arguments and their careful synthesis of public opinion data. Lay audiences and policy makers will find a useful and provocative, though quite general, overview of welfare state development alongside a passionate call for progressive political leadership to address the economic inequality and insecurity of the 'second gilded age.' -- Marisa Chappell, Journal of American History
"All who are interested in US public opinion concerning the role of government in support of social programs and the role that leaders can play in supporting or dismantling such programs should read this brief, timely, and well-written gem."-- Choice
All who are interested in US public opinion concerning the role of government in support of social programs and the role that leaders can play in supporting or dismantling such programs should read this brief, timely, and well-written gem. -- Choice
[I]n analyzing public opinion in three distinct periods of American political history, Katherine Newman and Elisabeth Jacobs set out some interesting observations for contemporary policy-makers.
"[I]n analyzing public opinion in three distinct periods of American political history, Katherine Newman and Elisabeth Jacobs set out some interesting observations for contemporary policy-makers."-- Alastair Hill, LSE British Politics and Policy blog
[I]n analyzing public opinion in three distinct periods of American political history, Katherine Newman and Elisabeth Jacobs set out some interesting observations for contemporary policy-makers. -- Alastair Hill, LSE British Politics and Policy blog
The authors raise important questions about public opinion, policy making, and democracy. Scholars exploring shifts in the American safety net and American politics more generally will have to attend to the authors' arguments and their careful synthesis of public opinion data. Lay audiences and policy makers will find a useful and provocative, though quite general, overview of welfare state development alongside a passionate call for progressive political leadership to address the economic inequality and insecurity of the 'second gilded age.'
"The authors raise important questions about public opinion, policy making, and democracy. Scholars exploring shifts in the American safety net and American politics more generally will have to attend to the authors' arguments and their careful synthesis of public opinion data. Lay audiences and policy makers will find a useful and provocative, though quite general, overview of welfare state development alongside a passionate call for progressive political leadership to address the economic inequality and insecurity of the 'second gilded age.'"-- Marisa Chappell, Journal of American History
All who are interested in US public opinion concerning the role of government in support of social programs and the role that leaders can play in supporting or dismantling such programs should read this brief, timely, and well-written gem.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 2010
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Americans like to think that they look after their own, especially in times of hardship. Particularly for the Great Depression and the Great Society eras, the collective memory is one of solidarity and compassion for the less fortunate.Who Cares'challenges this story by examining opinion polls and letters to presidents from average citizens. This evidence, some of it little known, reveals a much darker, more impatient attitude toward the poor, the unemployed, and the dispossessed during the 1930s and 1960s. Katherine Newman and Elisabeth Jacobs show that some of the social policies that Americans take for granted today suffered from declining public support just a few years after their inception. Yet Americans have been equally unenthusiastic about efforts to dismantle social programs once they are well established. Again contrary to popular belief, conservative Republicans had little public support in the 1980s and 1990s for their efforts to unravel the progressive heritage of the New Deal and the Great Society. Whether creating or rolling back such programs, leaders like Roosevelt, Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan often found themselves working against public opposition, and they left lasting legacies only by persevering despite it.Timely and surprising,Who Cares'demonstrates not that Americans are callous but that they are frequently ambivalent about public support for the poor. It also suggests that presidential leadership requires bold action, regardless of opinion polls.
Main Description
Americans like to think that they look after their own, especially in times of hardship. Particularly for the Great Depression and the Great Society eras, the collective memory is one of solidarity and compassion for the less fortunate. Who Cares? challenges this story by examining opinion polls and letters to presidents from average citizens. This evidence, some of it little known, reveals a much darker, more impatient attitude toward the poor, the unemployed, and the dispossessed during the 1930s and 1960s. Katherine Newman and Elisabeth Jacobs show that some of the social policies that Americans take for granted today suffered from declining public support just a few years after their inception. Yet Americans have been equally unenthusiastic about efforts to dismantle social programs once they are well established. Again contrary to popular belief, conservative Republicans had little public support in the 1980s and 1990s for their efforts to unravel the progressive heritage of the New Deal and the Great Society. Whether creating or rolling back such programs, leaders like Roosevelt, Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan often found themselves working against public opposition, and they left lasting legacies only by persevering despite it. Timely and surprising, Who Cares? demonstrates not that Americans are callous but that they are frequently ambivalent about public support for the poor. It also suggests that presidential leadership requires bold action, regardless of opinion polls.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Americans like to think that they look after their own, especially in times of hardship. Paricularly for the Great Depression and the Great Society eras, the collective memory is one of compassion for the less fortunate. This book challenges this story by examining opinion polls and letters to presidents from average citizens.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introduction: Devoted to the Common Good?p. 1
Dissent and the New Dealp. 11
Warring over the War on Povertyp. 56
Economic Anxiety in the New Gilded Agep. 112
Searching for “the Better Angels of Our Nature”p. 149
Notesp. 167
Bibliographyp. 203
Indexp. 211
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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