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55 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At the crossroads in conservatism
There is no mistaking that Conservatism in the United States is in turmoil right now. A few years after there was a sense of triumph and the idea of a permanent Republican majority in Washington, there was a sort of Gotterdammerung, and the structure came crashing down with the loss of both houses of Congress and the Presidency, in addition to a number of state and local...
Published on June 9, 2009 by FrKurt Messick

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars i concur with Publishers Weekly
Scarborough is anything but a conservative. I'm not sure what the title is suppose to suggest, but Scarborough is a host on a morning show watched by literally nobody. In fact if it weren't for Mark Levin mentioning the morning Schmoe, I would not even know he was still around. I will say this to his credit, he is less ignorant than Al "sharpie" Sharpton.
Published 12 months ago by Robert Young


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55 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At the crossroads in conservatism, June 9, 2009
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There is no mistaking that Conservatism in the United States is in turmoil right now. A few years after there was a sense of triumph and the idea of a permanent Republican majority in Washington, there was a sort of Gotterdammerung, and the structure came crashing down with the loss of both houses of Congress and the Presidency, in addition to a number of state and local positions, to the Democrats.

However, the death of the Republican party specifically, and Conservatism generally, has been exaggerated, much in the way the demise of the Democratic party was also overstated in the early 2000s. Joe Scarborough, who as a Congressman during the Gingrich as the Contract for America progressed, made a name for himself by being a solid conservative, offers an interesting perspective of the rise and fall of the ideology and practice over the past few decades. It is interesting that during the divided government of Republican Congress and Democratic Presidency, we had budget surpluses. When the Republicans gained complete control, that was not sustained.

Scarborough contends that the Republican party stopped being conservative, and that that was their primary problem. They spent too much, became too adventurous, and too confident of their own abilities to act alone in the country and in the world. As Scarborough said, one can't double the national debt and claim to be the fiscally responsible party. The party needs to be a big tent party again, according to Scarborough, which means it need to have a place for both Cheney and Powell.

Everyone quotes Ronald Reagan, he states, and that ideology is a good conservative one, but the specifics of Reagan's policies won't necessarily work today. It is more of an attitude, Scarborough says - Reagan was not someone who emphasized "hate" in the way that some conservative commentators do today. If the Republicans are to survive, Scarborough contends, then they must be more inclusive and become once again true to their conservative roots. This is an interesting feature - Scarborough admires Ronald Reagan, but he does not deify him. Reagan had many great qualities, but Scarborough refuses to engage the revisionist history that removes all flaws from Ronald Reagan. True conservatism much take Reagan warts and all, realizing that there was much success despite the flaws.

Scarborough is in some ways an outsider to the current conservative trend. His position on the liberal network MSNBC demonstrates this in some respects; his failure to always adhere to party or ideological talking points also demonstrates this. However, this also makes him a more effective critic, as he is far from being a liberal. In the book, Scarborough also addresses a few topics that also show this - he has criticism for the current Obama administration with their continuation of spending policies that are fiscally suspect (without denying the fiscal irresponsibility of their immediate predecessors, as some other conservative commentators often do). He also looks at the economic issues of the Wall Street banking collapse, including the collusion of both Democrats and Republicans over the past twenty years that contributed to an unsustainable housing bubble, whose collapse contributed greatly to this now-worldwide economic recession.

For those who enjoy watching Scarborough on the Morning Joe program on MSNBC, this will be a welcome book. For those who enjoying arguing with Scarborough, this will also be a welcome text. For liberals, conservatives and moderates, there is something here worth reading. We are at a crossroads in American conservatism, and Scarborough's text is an interesting addition to the ongoing debate.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars i concur with Publishers Weekly, November 12, 2013
Scarborough is anything but a conservative. I'm not sure what the title is suppose to suggest, but Scarborough is a host on a morning show watched by literally nobody. In fact if it weren't for Mark Levin mentioning the morning Schmoe, I would not even know he was still around. I will say this to his credit, he is less ignorant than Al "sharpie" Sharpton.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing!, June 28, 2009
I like Joe Scarborough, and I'm generally relatively conservative. I also like the generally non-partisan way he began the book - admitting that our record deficits, socialist spending sprees, reckless foreign policy, and an economy racing towards bankruptcy were originated by Republican leaders, though now President Obama is making things much worse. Scarborough also criticizes Republicans for holding rabid, unyielding ideologies, and asserts that conservatives must understand they can never again take a laissez-faire attitude towards Wall Street, even though they're opposed to limitations on small businesses.

Such open-mindedness made me hopeful that this would be a thoughtful work. Instead, Scarborough drags readers through a ideological analysis of too many current topics, using just the unyielding ideological approach that he earlier decried. (Ideological tours of current events are for me, a pragmatist, a totally boring and useless approach.)

Bottom Line:: Scarborough's "The Last Best Hope" is just too blah to recommend, and not vitriolic enough to get upset about.
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28 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No Bibliography, no endnotes, no footnotes, no index, no thought, June 21, 2009
By 
Chris Blakely (Maumee, Ohio USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Last Best Hope ... is a superficial kaleidoscope of cliches, pat thoughts, sweeping generalizations, and short, meaningless phrases that capture the mundane political sound bites all too common and overused these days. Much like one might shake a kaleidoscope and hold it up to the light to see new images, Mr. Scarborough has taken several years worth of the mindless chatter from Morning Joe, slapped it on some paper, and failed to provide any new perspective or vision, which is ironic considering the book's title.

Whether it's phrases like "Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss" or "Evolution Over Revolution" that pepper the book and provide the subheadings to the book's sections, Mr. Scarborough seemingly employees classic rock song titles and phrases reflective of the music used to decorate the segues on Morning Joe. Unfortunately, Mr. Scarborough fails to provide any serious analysis, reflection, or research -- after all, that would take real work and a serious effort. Rarely do the author's paragraphs exceed three sentences in length, and I cannot determine if this is symptomatic of Mr. Scarborough's lack of political insight, a nonexistent attention span, or both.

To summarize this collection of cliches with a cliche, much like his performance on Morning Joe, when Mr. Scarborough IS present, he has "mailed it in."
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Liberal's review, June 15, 2009
After the era of George W. Bush, I started leaning left and was drawn to Obama during the campaign. I voted for him, but now am concerned with his fiscal irrationality and "dig the hole deeper" mentality. I also abhor people like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and think that Newt and Cheney are the destroyers of the RNC.

But in this book, Scarborough clearly lays out the difference between GWB and conservatism. He reminds us that Bush was more liberal than he was conservative on matters of military use, foreign diplomacy, and more socialist on matters of TARP and bailouts. The problem now is that the current republican leaders have bought into the GWB madness too, leaving the party in a state of total disarray and leaving the US with no conservative-intelligent choices.

The RNC needs to do as Scarborough says and adopt green policy. They also need to distance themselves from dogmatic ideologues on all fronts, especially (imo) the evangelical right. If republicans could somehow bring themselves back to being fiscally responsible while not trying to impose ideology on the people, they would be on the road to recovering from the Bush mess.
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It Only Skims the Surface, June 20, 2009
By 
C. Burke (Washington, D.C.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have great respect for Joe Scarborough. It can't be easy being the only conservative host on MSNBC.

After reading glowing reviews from Peggy Noonan and Christopher Buckley, I knew I had to get this book. Returning Conservatism back to its Goldwater/Reagan and even Edmund Burke roots has been a personal passion of mine for some time. And while my positions against Medicare Part D, Bush administration management of the Iraq War along with my generally federalist approach to same-sex marriage were against the day's grain, I still wore the R tag proudly.

But this book takes a while to get to its central point. The chapters really didn't tell me anything I didn't know and the positions for the future felt a little vague and generalized.

You're on the right track, Mr. Scarborough. Maybe you were aiming for a more general audience, but I would like a little more depth and specific policy proposals. But if you're planning a 2010 or 2012 run for office, please ignore my recommendations.

Amazon readers, if you're looking for a little more depth and exploration, check out The Conservative Soul by Andrew Sullivan.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing New, June 19, 2009
By 
Maine Reader (A Paradise Called Maine) - See all my reviews
If you watch Morning Joe you know that Joe is a like-able but second rate mind. If you are unfamiliar with political philosophy this is a good primer on conservatism. However, Joe's analysis is shallow and weak and his anecdotes are unconvincing if you give them any serious thought. It's an easy read however, and like I said, if you are prone toward conservatism you will enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite there, July 12, 2009
Scarborough started with an interesting premise for his book but it quickly lost energy and steam. I LOVE joe -- couldnt be a bigger admirer but i felt that this book was slapped together perhaps more quickly than it should have been -- not even an index or references/footnoes in the book which surprised me!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Next Best Hope? Not Quite, July 24, 2009
Joe Scarborough's, "The Last Best Hope' is a well written, easy-to-read thesis of the American political scene, with an emphasis on how Conservatives can reclaim White House power. And, it is both a good book and good investment in reading time!

First, a few quick comparisons to provide context for readers. What "Last Best" lacks is the once in a generation greatness of Mark Levin's "Liberty and Tyranny", which is more informative and less political in tone. However, it is significantly better than the limp-legged "Life's A Campaign" by Chris Matthews.

One of the key points in his book is Scarborough's distinction between being a Republican (a Democrat-light) and being a Conservative (a fierce proponent of small government and low taxes). Voters, contends Scarborough, almost always vote for the real Democrat and not a Republican pretending to be one. Good point - specifically made of the McCain candidacy.

Within this context he has very few kind words for George W. Bush's Republican Presidency. On many pages he blames Bush and the Republican's fiscal irresponsibilities for the ascendancy of Obama, who himself gets not even faint praise from the Author for his reckless spending.

I liked the way that Scarborough brought historical perspective into his analysis. He is hardly a Pat Buchanan in this area, but Presidents back to Hoover are routinely cited and there is something to be learned in these comparatives. Reagan clearly stands out like a beacon for the conservative author for the strength of his ideology, but curiously, so does Clinton, primarily for his political flexibility.

Clinton was the President during the Author's terms as a US Rep from Florida. Despite his liberalism, he was reactively forced to succumb to the fiscal discipline of Scarborough and 73 other fiscally conservative House Republican newbies who were sworn into office in 1994. This combination oversaw a commendable period of budgetary sanity and even produced a surplus, credited to Clinton, but caused by the conservatives like Scarborough et als. Unfortunately, the Author must have referenced this event a dozen times along the way, so many times, in fact that it made me think that he had written 9 separate chapters without weaving smoother segues into a final text.

I thought that the Author was at his best in describing the looming problems of entitlement programs - Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - that threaten to cripple the Nation in not too many years. He does an excellent job providing lay-speak to the issues, and their costs, that usually only generate indecipherable gobbledygook from politicians.

Some of his solutions come across as too soft (e.g., too political), especially in contrast to the iconic "Liberty and Tyranny." It's not that Scarborough's values are grossly different (he is a conservative, believes in the Constitution etc.), it's just that Levin's messages are clean and clear and stronger stated, and less political in context (e.g., values are values - live them, believe in them etc). Scarborough insists on exercising a kind of Reagan like "reality" into the mix to bring about compromises. But, here's the problem: Reagan happened only once in a lifetime. Without him and his temperment, other leaders of the Conservative movement have gone afield in misguided, but "reality-based "compromises that become diluted and nonsensical.

Who is that next convivial, but conservative Republican who has the ability to succeed via the power of principle? Who is the last best hope? There are unfortunately no answers, or even predictions, to this.

The real best last hope is a reminder that values and particulars of the Constitution should not be compromised when the fate of the Country is at stake, particularly under the perilous assault of our freedoms and liberties, and fiscal stability by Obama.

I recommend "The Last Best Hope." If nothing else, it will provide at least the semblance of hope that there is at least one intelligent point of view residing at MSNBC.
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19 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!, June 9, 2009
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I just finished Joe Scarborough's book The Last Best Hope. The phrase that resonated with me was, "I'm a conservative with a libertarian tilt." That sums up the theme of his book nicely and resonates with independent voters such as myself who looking for conservatives with a libertarian tilt to run this country.

It's a good read. His advice is applicable to either party. His approach could be the roadmap for a new beginning for the Republican Party. I don't know what Joe's plans are; however, I hope to see more of him in the future. Perhaps he might provide a bit of balance for the Gingridges and Limbaughs of the world (and actually give the Republicans another shot at running things).
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