Why the Right Went Wrong offers a historical view of the right since the 1960s. Its core contention is that American conservatism and the Republican Party took a wrong turn when they adopted Barry Goldwater's worldview during and after the 1964 campaign. Since 1968, no conservative administration could live up to the rhetoric rooted in the Goldwater movement that began to reshape American politics 50 years ago. The collapse of the Nixon presidency led to the rise of Ronald Reagan, the defeat of George H. W. Bush, and Newt Gingrich's revolution. Bush initially undertook a partial modernization, preaching "compassionate conservatism". Conservatives quickly defined him as an advocate of "big government" and not conservative enough on spending, immigration, education, and Medicare. A return to the true faith was the only prescription on order. The result was the Tea Party.
The state of the Republican Party, controlled by the strictest base, is diminished, E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes. It has become white and older in a country that is no longer that. It needs to come back to life for its own health and that of the country, and in Why the Right Went Wrong, he explains how.
©2016 E. J. Dionne, Jr. (P)2016 Tantor
"An important pundit delivers a thorough exegesis of the stubborn recurrence of the fringe right wing...." (Kirkus)
Delivers the type of analysis you would expect from an NPR commentator - dry, factual and exhaustive.
There is no left wing attack here, just a logical chronology of how the Republican party has cornered itself politically by running on an unrealistic "small government" platform that they have never delivered. This has gradually infuriated those who believed and elected those "small government" candidates, which drives the party further right each cycle.
Also details the party's brief experiment in Compassionate Conservatism during the W Bush administration and how, whilst largely a superficially implemented political philosophy, was possibly forever tainted by his unpopular presidency even in Republican circles.
As an Independent who yearns for a government that is not in constant deadlock, I hope Republicans read this book and/or work to find a new, more constructive and open political direction - and then rejoin the work of national problem solving.
This book gives voice with superb eloquence to our yearnings - those of us not indoctrinated by the loudest voices - for a return to the political virtues that paved (literally) the way for America's greatness and successes we enjoy today. Required reading for Republicans who like me wish to leave a legacy of more than blocked roads for our children.
I am a republican, which is a cause for great angst in this political season. The conservative movement that I have been a part of my whole life has become more and more radical and has moved further from where I stand than ever before. This has been epitomized by the nomination of Trump as our party's standard bearer. This has caused me to seriously consider leaving the party. This book does have the flavor of a liberal writer, but he gives the reader a heads up to this early on in the book. While I don't agree with all of his points, the basic fundamentals of the book are sound. This is definitely something that Republicans need to heed, before they are left with nothing but the most extreme in the party, and die out.
This book provides a very good analysis of the current state of conservatism and it's woes. It provides some broad principles to return the party to viability. It's shortcoming is that it stops there for the most part, leaving the reader to ponder just how such necessary changes can actually be realized in a party that stands today isolated and insular from the vast majority of the US people.
helpful in getting an idea why non-politicians are attractive to the 2016 conservative voter base
This was a great review of American politics. Dionne doesn't mention that part of the electorate's anger in 1994 was that the World Series was cancelled that year. No one else seems to mention it either. But everything else that I could think of was covered from Johnson vs. Goldwater up to the current time. And since he started out as a Republican it feels like a fairly balanced view. Liberals (including me) can sense the urge by some to vote with the middle finger but can't figure out who is being flipped off. E.J. tries to make this clear here and in his recent columns but it isn't clear to me yet.
I think this book would be particularly good for those not old enough to remember LBJ, Goldwater, and how an actor became president. I do wish Dionne had done his own narration but I have no real complaints.
Content is quite interesting but too much work getting to it. He jumps eras frequently. Lots of statistics, presumably to validate or emphasize his point, but not needed and too difficult to follow. I don't usually buy abridged versions of books but this book would be suited for it.
I was looking for a book that could provide background on how the GOP has gotten into the mess it is today, by straying so far from true conservatism. The premise and sample of the book had lead me to believe this was an honest attempt at looking for ways to correct the party's lost way. My suspicions were aroused during induction when the author went to great lengths to defend the current administration's failed policies of the past eight years. Soon after it was revealed, that the author is an unabashed progressive. As I read further, I realized the entire book was a deceitful attempt to convince the reader that conservatism is the underlying problem. I was very disappointed and annoyed, at how the author portrays the book as a conservative pen, but then goes on to bash the right, and promote his liberal ideals.
Obvious the writer has left leanings. His substance is based on turning historical fact into fiction... I was intent on a way less subjective and a more accurate account of the facts
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