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Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How It Can Reclaim Its Conservative Roots) Hardcover – January 26, 2016

3.8 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Lewis is a product of the conservative counterestablishment as reinvented by the Internet revolution... Lewis' knockabout style is a relief.... [He] argues that conservatives must recover the enthusiasm for ideas they had in the Reagan era."―New York Times Book Review (cover review)

"I've been reading Matt for a long time. He's always incisive and thoughtful and this book is both. Anyone who cares about the future of the Republican party should read it."―Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal columnist

"Matt K. Lewis takes the most unconventional possible approach to Washington journalism: he's completely honest all the time. Not everyone likes him for it, but that's their problem. Like Matt himself, this book is cheerful, smart and insightful as hell. Buy two copies."―Tucker Carlson, editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller, co-host of FOX & Friends Weekend

"Matt K. Lewis has fought in the trenches of some of our hottest political battles, occupying a unique position at the intersection of conservative politics and the popular culture. He brings a rare perspective to everything he writes about, and manages to look at what everyone else is looking at and see what no one sees."―Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs

"Matt K. Lewis has written an insightful book about the roots of the conservative movement-and just how far Washington Republicans have diverged from that proud past. Too Dumb to Fail is a major achievement from one of conservatism's most important voices, and it could not come at a more critical time."―Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC's Morning Joe

"Matt K. Lewis is one of the sharpest and most principled political commentators of our day. Too Dumb to Fail is a lively and fascinating read for any person confounded by the state of today's Republican Party. Lewis provides some much-needed tough love as well as a clear way forward for the GOP. If Republicans are smart, they'll make this book mandatory reading."―Kirsten Powers, New York Times-bestselling author of The Silencing

"Very few books about politics get my 'must read' stamp, but Matt Lewis' is one of them. Every conservative feeling as though the movement has collapsed, every Republican despairing of ever winning the White House, every independent who has no idea what to do or whom to support, should read this book immediately."―Hugh Hewitt, host of The Hugh Hewitt Show

"Too Dumb to Fail traces the evolution of conservative philosophy from Aristotle to Burke to the present in a clear and readable way that reminds us why conservatives need big ideas--and why America needs conservatism."―Arthur C. Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute

"Too Dumb to Fail... functions as a smart, sobering pre-mortem on 2016. Now, most books about 'fixing' conservatism are written by liberal concern-trolls who secretly want to kill it. But Lewis is an actual, real-deal conservative.... This, ultimately, is what Lewis really wants: A conservative movement that honors its intellectuals, that works through its ideological problems honestly, and that doesn't rush to glorify hucksters.... If you put Donald Trump or Sarah Palin back in 1980, they couldn't last a week in the ring with the Gipper. Because back then, conservatives expected more from their leaders. Matt Lewis thinks we should expect more today, too. He's probably right."―Jonathan V. Last, The Weekly Standard

"[Lewis] does not shy away from naming names.... This book is far from a standard D.C. 'if only they listened to me' critique.... Conservatives who feel dismayed at the current state of affairs should run out and buy Lewis' book."―Henry Olsen, The Weekly Standard

"A good book... Lewis writes with panache."―The Buffalo News

"Too Dumb to Fail provides the Republican Party a roadmap to get back to its intellectual foundations. With the rise of Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, the book perfectly represents the state of the Republican Party and where it's headed if it doesn't return to its core beliefs... Prescient."―Christian Schneider, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"Lewis ... has probed the true makeup of today's GOP."―Washington Post

"Lewis' book offers a wise and far-reaching and brave take on how we got here and what conservatives must do to enlist the 'accumulated wisdom of the past to make our future even brighter.'... Too Dumb to Fail is worth reading and pondering, because we are watching many of the themes Lewis pinpoints play out in real time ... Too Dumb to Fail is a great summing up. It's also practical and specific. Earnest, witty and well-meaning, Lewis is more of a truth-teller than a diplomat or glad-hander. He names names.... This will not make [Lewis] popular. After the November 2016 elections, however, it may make Matt Lewis something of a prophet."―Washington Times

About the Author

Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor for The Daily Caller and writes regular columns for TheWeek.com, The Daily Beast, and The Telegraph (UK). He records a weekly podcast, "Matt Lewis and the News." In 2011, Business Insider listed him as one of the 50 "Pundits You Need To Pay Attention To," and in 2012 the American Conservative Union honored Matt as their CPAC "Blogger of the Year." He lives with his family in Alexandria, VA.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books (January 26, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316383937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316383936
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I firmly believe that you cannot be a political animal and not read what the opposition is writing. I must admit that some pundits I can only read so much and then I have to put it away, because it is not based on facts or ideas but on vitriol and stirring things up by repeating falsehoods. This book by Matt K. Lewis is not like these others. I read it all the way through and enjoyed it for the most part.

Mr. Lewis takes us through the beginning of the Conservative movement and I found his history engrossing. I used to laugh at William F. Buckley’s way of speaking but I never doubted his education and spirit. Nowadays the GOP and the Conservatives have dumbed their selves down so much, that if you don’t act as if you never read a book or newspaper, you won’t be elected. He shows examples of that with Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. If you think about it, how do you go to Yale and not get some knowledge? How do you become a doctor and not have some brains? Yet the people running for office act as if they are just regular folks and don’t get any knowledge outside of the Bible. In the end that will hurt their message.

Mr. Lewis points out specific steps that Conservatives need to take to modernize not moderate. I think our nation is stronger when both sides are strong and viable. The way it’s going now, the Democratic Party may have lopsided power in the future if the GOP doesn’t learn from this book.

I am a lifelong Democrat and while I used to say a “bleeding heart liberal”, as I age I will say I am more moderate and definitely not a democratic socialist. I think Mr. Lewis’ book is well written and should be required reading for anyone interested in politics.
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Format: Hardcover
Too Dumb To Fail is a page turner for sure. Given the title of the book, you might suspect the book was written by a vitriolic blonde bomb-thrower from Fox News. Fortunately for those of us who want to win and grow the movement, this is not the case. The subtitle of the book illustrates its true purpose: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How It Can Reclaim Its Conservative Roots).

Too Dumb to Fail moves at a nice pace because Matt Lewis is an interesting writer. He writes clearly and does not overcomplicate topics that are easy to muddy-up. The difference between Matt Lewis and so many other writers is that he cares about the conservative movement. He is not looking back at 40 to 60 years of activism and then condemning everything about the future. Matt Lewis is as much a part of the future of our movement as he is a part of its past. Some of us campaign-types heard Matt teach sessions at party conventions. Matt's ability to teach us to talk, is perhaps what makes him such a good writer. He is not a lecturer; he is a teacher.

That eventually leads us to a really interesting chapter that discusses the hucksters who fleece our movement of dollars, yet produce nothing. Lewis humorously identifies these people as the Con$ervative Movement. For instance, Lewis writes about a group of PACs that spent roughly $54 million, but not quite $4 million of that was actually spent on getting Republicans elected. $50 million in conservative dollars wasted, possibly extorted, just in the 2014 election cycle alone. That story will get your blood boiling.

Lewis similarly discusses the 2013 Virginia race for Governor where Ken Cuccinelli nobly took on Terry McAuliffe.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Matt Lewis provides a much needed wake up call regarding the danger of anti intellectualism and profiteering among a small but overly vocal segment of conservatism. He contrasts the contest of ideas conducted by the Buckley/Reagan generation of Republicans with the apocalyptic chest thumping of the current entertainment wing of conservatives. It is a good read. Unfortunately, the narrative tends to wander into overly detailed side tracks while glossing over several critical subjects. He describes the surface layer of con$ervatism but does not provide enough detail to truly identify the bad actors. More importantly, his description of the steady erosion of scholarship and standards at conservative think tanks is confined to about a 1/4 chapter at the very end of the book. This critical subject deserves much more detail and more prominent placement. So, a good, even excellent effort but not quite 5 stars.
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Format: Audio CD
Matt Lewis is a super conservative writer, he is independent minded and an excellent columnist. I’ve seen him a number of times on CNN, ABC’s Nightline and HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. I was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of this book, which was an eye opener all the way to the end. I was looking forward to this book, after watching him speak so many times before.

Imagine that in the infancy of the book, Matt started with a purpose of showing us the sort of populist anti-intellectualism that has been bubbling over and throughout our current political campaigns of the Republican party? Could he have ever guessed that Trump would be there, now? Perhaps he knew?

In his quote, “empty-headed talking point reciters, rookie politicians who’ve never managed anything in their lives, media clowns such as Donald Trump, dim bulbs in tight pants or short skirts, professionally outraged shout-fest talking heads and total political neophytes,” He stipulates how he feels where the conservative movement has been led to.

He was also quoted, stating;

"Although I think that conservative media outlets help — they've helped expose liberal hypocrisy, forced stories into the mainstream — there's also a downside."

“they don't even have to say anything conservative; all they have to do is criticize Obama and we go gaga and we eat it up.”

Lewis talks about the age of politicians trying to create more hypocrisy and outrage, than in the actual principles of governing. Creating a vicious circle of this, in order to obtain more funding, to create more outrage and so it goes on and on and on…..
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