In his recently released autobiography, former Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings does more than examine his 50 or so years of public service. He sends out a call on the need for a government that can actually achieve something. It might seem like an impossible goal these days, but Hollings definitely has a vision for how to make things work. The book is called "Making Government Work" and is being published by USC Press.
Charleston City Paper has a nice write-up on the whole thing, describing the balance Hollings has struck between narrative on his own years in service and political analysis, not your typical autobiography. But, then again, Hollings is far from typical. Also, The Post and Courier has two pieces on it: an interview with the man himself and a review of the book.
From USC Press:
"Performance is better than promise" has long been the motto of Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings, a former Governor of South Carolina and six-term U.S. Senator who has distinguished himself as a stalwart advocate of fiscally responsible progressive programs. In this political memoir, Hollings takes aim at our increasingly flawed political system and a government that has gone "into the ditch." As remedy he pulls antidotes from anecdotes about his personal experiences in making government work in spite of itself for the past half century.
Confrontational at times toward those issues and institutions he cites as responsible for knocking government off course, Hollings lays out clearly his deep commitment to improving our system of government, strengthening regulations on free trade, countering dependence on campaign contributions, and enhancing our communications and education programs to compete better in an information-driven global marketplace. This prescriptive compendium of sound thinking from an experienced agent of change seeks to reinvigorate a floundering system and actively calls good people and good ideas back into the service of America's bright future.
From Charleston City Paper:
Making Government Work amiably meanders through Hollings' experiences in the Senate — amusing and tough — during the "imperial Nixon years," misadventures in Vietnam, the "cautious" Ford years, the "time of big battles" during the Carter administration. He illustrates the dynamic between the parties — and the philosophical changes and squabbles within the Democratic party leading into and through the Reagan era.
In the final chapters he describes a "government off course ... that's in the ditch." Despite the negative assessments — especially on the George W. Bush years, with the "reckless policies that divide the country" — Hollings offers a hopeful and optimistic vision of the next era. He maintains a deep commitment to improving the system of government — a firm position that contrasts the roar of right-wing rhetoric and the timidity of the left.
"The country is in serious trouble, and we don't have the luxury of antigovernment politicking," he writes in his concluding pages. "It is our duty to make the government work."
And here's an interview with Hollings on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes. (Apparently Sean Hannity and Hollings are longtime rivals. Kind of makes you like the former senator even more, doesn't it?)