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From George Wallace to Newt Gingrich: Race in the Conservative Counterrevolution, 1963-1994 (Walter Lynwood Fleming Lectures in Southern History) Paperback – April 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: Walter Lynwood Fleming Lectures in Southern History
  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Louisiana State Univ Pr (April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807123668
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807123669
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #516,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his 1995 biography of Wallace, The Politics of Rage, LSU professor Carter called the former Alabama governor, "the most influential loser in twentieth century American politics." Wallace saw in America's white suburbs a racism that, while perhaps not as outspoken as that in the South, could still be exploited. The three lectures that form the bulk of this book were given in 1991 when Carter was working on The Politics of Rage, so some of the argument will sound familiar. But it is short and focused, so readers who weren't willing to devote over 500 pages to Wallace can discover his lasting effect on American politics. If Wallace took the issue of race to the rest of the nation, Nixon embedded it in a set of social issues and attitudes: "The trick lay in sympathizing with and appealing to the fears of angry whites without appearing to become an extremist and driving away moderates-or, as Ehrlichman described the process, to present a position on crime, education, or public housing in such a way that a voter could 'avoid admitting to himself that he was attracted by a racist appeal.'" In the 1980s, Republicans were able to embed encoded racial issues (quotas and welfare dependency) in their anti-government campaigning. While Carter has supplemented his original lectures with another chapter that includes the Republican victories of 1994, it addresses Newt Gingrich without mentioning one man who has done some cribbing from the Republican playbook-Bill Clinton.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
In four clear, well-written essays, Carter shows how the conservative counter-revolution had its origins in white revulsion against the gains of the civil rights movement. From Montgomery to Milwaukee, whites found the prospect of racial equality frightening and unacceptable. In response to this--and, Carter acknowledges, other issues--a political realignment emerged. No one was more telling and important to this conservative backlash than George Wallace, the Dixiecrat from Alabama whose independent campaigns for the White House showed the Republican Party how to employ coded racial appeals to go from the party of the country club to the party of country music. This is a lively, thoughtful book with hard evidence and engaging anecdotes. And Carter is one of the best literary stylists writing history today. Better still is his magnificent biography of George Wallace, THE POLITICS OF RAGE, which describes the same transformations through the biography of a fascinating Southern demagogue who once received 34 per cent of the vote in my home state of Wisconsin!
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful By GHT on September 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is four essays that deal with ideological drift of the GOP towards rightist and culturally conservative themes, and the appeal to white racism that underlies much of the GOP's appeal to the voters. The essays are chronological, the first one deals primarily with George Wallace, the others with Nixon, Reagan, and Gingrich.
Carter uses George Wallace's presidential campaigns of 1968 and 1972 as his starting point - how a racist demagogue from a cultural backwater quickly develops a national constituency, appealing to whites who feel threatened by the civil rights revolution of the 1960s. He then analyzes Nixon's exploitation of the same fears in his building of his "Silent Majority", and Nixon's important role in transitioning the Wallace voter to the GOP in 1972 and after.
The last two essays focus on Reagan and Gingrich, and how they in essence "deconstruct" racism to better fit their conservative ideologies and broaden the GOP's appeal. Nixon, Reagan, and Gingrich are far more circumspect in displaying overt racism than a Wallace, but Carter's arguement that their focus on exploiting the fears of middle class voters has its roots in the racism of George Wallace and his ilk is fairly compelling.
Carter sometimes seem to take this theory a bit too far, but that will happen in a short four essay book. Carter is troubled by the GOP's appeal to white racial fears, and his viewpoint that the GOP is 'playing with fire' around these fears is always evident, and sometimes heavyhanded.
This is a very readable thought provoking book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CJT on October 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a carefully researched and profoundly significant study of race in American politics. Whether or not you like Carter's conclusions, it is hard to dispute his well-documented findings.
Race has unfortunately returned as a major factor in the 21st century American political scene. We can learn a lot from Dan Carter. I hope that it is not too late!
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Robin Orlowski on July 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
Dan T. Carter argues that George Wallace might be one of the more influential politicians in American history. He showed conservatives that racist rhetoric was a vote getter and that southern discontent over the civil rights movement could be mined for election to national office.

Carter is a professor of history at Emory University whose research interests are southern politics. His previous works include The Politics of Rage, which solely studies George Wallace's subconscious and enduring legacy on southern politics. It shows that Carter knows his research in this still-troubling field.

The Nixon campaign took careful notes of Wallace's 1968 and 1972 attempts because white racists subsequently became one of the groups backing the 1972 Nixon campaign. The Nixon campaign had marketed themselves as a return to simpler times, when everything was 'good'. Ignoring the sociolegal realities for most Americans, this approach then virtually presented civil rights policies as an encroachment upon that social standard.

The southern strategy also implied that African Americans themselves were responsible for the resulting social disorder in their communities and had actually been making trouble where there initially was none. Blaming the victim was a convienient way to ignore long-festering racial problems and win elections in the south. It also yielded national election wins for the GOP in the once-solid south.

The Republicans would exploit racial fears again during the 1988 campaign. Lee Atwater, Bush Sr's campaign manager ran a campaign against Michael Dukakis which ultimately elevated racist campaigning to an unprecedented level.
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