Guest Reviewer: John Calvin Batchelor on American Individualism by Margaret Hoover John Calvin Batchelor is the host of a top-rated national radio program,
The John Batchelor Show. Based in New York City at WABC, it airs seven nights a week from 9PM to 1AM. He is the author of Ain't You Glad You Joined the Republicans? A Short History of the GOP, and eight novels, among them, Father's Day and The Birth of the People's Republic of Antarctica
In American Individualism, Margaret Hoover focuses on what we know so far of the Millennial generation of 20- and 30-somethings who voted 2 to 1 for Barack Obama in 2008. The Millennials welcomed the campaigning Obama's theme of hope and change; yet today they often feel ignored and helpless in the Great Recession and the stagnant Obama administration recovery. Margaret Hoover argues that the Millennials are now open to either of the major parties--or to no politics at all--and that the Republicans can gain the loyalty of the next generation of leaders by emphasizing tolerance, certainty and common sense. Margaret Hoover opens her quest with an anecdote from the 2004 election of George W. Bush, when she realized that the Republicans were deaf to the ambitions and assumptions of the youngest voters with issues as critical as same-sex marriage, immigration, and abortion, and she turned to this extended essay to correct the errors. Margaret Hoover is the great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover; she speaks carefully of Hebert Hoover's essay by the same title as this book, "American Individualism," which Hoover published in 1922 while he served the Harding administration as Secretary of Commerce. Herbert Hoover meant "American individualism" as a superior form of governance in competition with Communism, socialism, syndicalism, capitalism and autocracy. Margaret Hoover argues that her great-grandfather was an enthusiastic globalist who presented American individualism as an antidote to what he called "will-o'-the wisp of all breeds of socialism" that preaches altruism while it practices a cynical leveling that leaves bosses in charge.
Margaret Hoover emphasizes a reawakening of American individualism to counter the cynicism of the Federal government. Also, she joins her great-grandfather in seeing that American individualism is under assault not only by the dictator powers and the European Utopians but also by American politicians who aggrandize themselves with pious preaching of shared sacrifices, by which they mean higher taxes and fees on the so-called rich. Margaret Hoover is not uniformly rosy about the future: the Great Recession has frightened the young voters, the Millennials, into alienation and drift. Margaret Hoover does lay out a plan for attracting the Millennials with what she calls "competence over ideology." American Individualism is an edgily critical look at what the GOP is not doing or saying to attract the next generation. The elders of the GOP--I am one--will not welcome a change of music, but then growing old and moving on are not easy to accept. American Individualism is an earnest, often contrary, impatient measure of the GOP at the edge of another national election in which it can listen to the voice of Herbert Hoover through his great-granddaughter or it can lose the future electorate to Barack Obama and the Utopians.
“It is not her great grandfather’s Republican party anymore. And Margaret Hoover has written a book that old Herbert would enjoy. Sassy, opinionated, and smart, Ms. Hoover shakes up conventional GOP wisdom.”
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—Bill O’Reilly, Anchor, Fox News Channel
“Margaret Hoover, a fresh and brilliant young voice in the Republican Party, is bent on connecting the GOP to rising generations of the young. She has something to say to their elders, too. They'd best hear her.”
—Peggy Noonan, columnist, Wall Street Journal
“Margaret Hoover's American Individualism is a must read for every member of the Republican party—elected or otherwise—as a new generation of Republicans try to shine new light on who exactly we should be.”
—Meghan McCain, author of Dirty Sexy Politics
“An insightful and important book”
“Hoover is an engaging personality with timely advice for Republicans. Her book and her message…are helpful guides to candidates and political operatives. And frankly, the Republican Party of New York…might do well to get her on the ballot somewhere in 2012.”
– Washington Post
“The 2012 Republican nominee would do well to take a page from Hoover’s book — a lot of pages.”
– Chicago Sun Times