The 2012 presidential election demonstrated once again that Florida may be the most purple state in the Union. Northwest Florida, however, remains staunchly Republican.
Barbara Olschner believes in her party's founding principles: lower taxes, less regulation, limited government, and individual accountability. But she also believes in governing through compromise, in respectfully listening to opponents' viewpoints, and in the possibility that a Republican can be fiscally but not socially conservative. In hindsight, it isn't surprising that when she ran for Congress at the height of the Tea Party's influence she was branded an elitist and a RINO (Republican in Name Only) - and finished dead last.
The Reluctant Republican traces her campaign and her realization that the current leadership of her party demands strict adherence to its ideology. Not only are different viewpoints not tolerated, but those who espouse them are vilified for their disloyalty.
Olschner is reluctant to remain in the party but more reluctant to leave. She refuses to accept the current dogma but also refuses to abandon her conservatism. Her fight for civility and her refusal to kowtow to the lowest common denominator reveal much about what passes for politics in the Sunshine State - and in America.
Barbara F. Olschner is a native of North Carolina who moved to Birmingham, Alabama, to practice law. After 30 years, she moved to Walton County, in the Florida Panhandle.
©2013 Barbara F. Olschner (P)2013 Barbara F. Olschner
"An astute analysis of what is wrong with the Grand Old Party... This is the memoir of a private citizen who runs for Congress as an idealistic conservative. She confronts an overwhelming tide of indifference to the Constitution and disrespect for compromise as an essential and honorable element of democracy. It's a cry from the heart to responsible voters of all political persuasions." - Martin Dyckman, author of Reubin O'D. Askew and the Golden Age of Florida Politics
"Puts the reader in the shoes of the candidate - experiencing the good, the bad, and the ugly." - Robert W. McKnight, former Florida state senator and representative
Like watching a tragic car accident in slow motion, Olschner offers up a her own first-hand account of what happens when a moderate Republican runs for office in the modern era of the GOP. Narrating the book herself, Olschner's writing and southern accent are very engaging.
From the first minute of the book, you can tell that Olschner genuinely cares about our country and is deeply concerned that it is wasting away while the GOP is engaged in bumper-sticker and soundbite politics rather than electing candidates that can make real progress on our financial problems and other issues affecting the nation. Olschner's book is not a sour-grapes screed, but rather a thoughtful autopsy of her experience that tactfully challenges GOP leadership, candidates, and voters to do better. A trial lawyer with 25+ yrs of successfully connecting with juries, and a former professional tennis player, Olschner certainly has the intelligence, tenacity, and experience that we need in our political leaders. Such traits also provide her with credible standing to present her constructive and compelling criticism to the GOP community. A thought provoking book.
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