For this weekend’s reading list, we have an essay on the political value to Democrats of fighting for the safety net, a critical review of the latest pro-charter school/anti-teachers union book, a guide to GOP Presidential candidate Rick Perry, an essay on how to revive the middle class, and a letter regarding the appeal and misguided nature of the tea party.

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How Democrats Win: Defending the Social Safety Net – Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland, which is the book that President Obama is reading on vacation, explains how time and again Democrats have won elections by strongly fighting for Social Security, Medicare, and the safety net.

Steve Brill’s Report Card on School Reform – A critical review of Steve Brill’s latest pro-charter school, anti-teachers union book about education reform.

ProPublica’s Handy Guide to the Best Coverage on Gov. Rick Perry and His Record – A good compilation of sources to learn more about the latest crazed GOP Presidential candidate – our own take on what a Perry Presidency would be like can be found here.

Can the Middle Class Be Saved? – An in-depth look at why the middle class is struggling in America, and what we can do to revive it.

As Ohio Goes: A Letter From Tea-Party Country – A writer who grew up in southwestern Ohio discusses how the tea party has gained traction there, and also how the tea party is failing to address the real problems facing people there.