From Publishers Weekly
In this thorough political analysis, Tanner examines the transformation of conservative doctrine in America, decrying the movement towards big-government spending. Since being elected, George W. Bush has allowed the largest expansion of government spending since Lyndon Johnson's Great Society (when domestic spending increased by 27%). Today, polls report that 55% of the public consider the GOP to be the party of big government. According to Tanner, this shift is not circumstantial, a result of post-9/11 considerations, but rather a fundamental shift in the conservative paradigm. The new Republican Party is unconcerned with traditional conservative thinking-the kind propounded not just by long-standing luminaries as Edmund Burke and John Stuart Mill, but by Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater. Articulate and incisive, Tanner's critique provides a helpful overview of the issues facing conservatives today and an introduction to the myriad facets of contemporary conservative thinking-from national-greatness conservatives to technophiles to compassionate conservatism. Published by the Cato institute, a libertarian think tank, the ideological agenda is obvious-the book is dedicated to exposing the failures of big-government (i.e., anti-libertarian) policies-but Tanner's arguments are considerate and well-researched, and his optimistic belief in a return to small-government conservatism is largely appealing.
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From the Publisher
For conservatives generally and the Republican Party in particular, now is a time of intense soul-searching. For the first time in a dozen years, Republicans have lost control of Congress. As a result, they are being forced to reexamine who they are and what they stand for.
It's about time. After all, more than a decade has passed since President Bill Clinton announced in his State of the Union address that "the era of big gov-ernment is over." Yet, since then, government has grown far bigger and far more intrusive. It spends more, regulates us more, and reaches far more into our daily lives than it did before the Republican Revolution. Behind this alarming trend stands the rise of a new brand of conservatism--one that believes big government can be used for conservative ends. It is a conservatism that ridicules F. A. Hayek and Barry Goldwater while embracing Teddy and even Franklin Roosevelt. It has more in common with Ted Kennedy than with Ronald Reagan.