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The Death of Conservatism Hardcover – September 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
The arguments are more surprising than the conclusions in this slender book that simultaneously celebrates and mourns the end of the harshly ideological strain of conservatism that reached full flower during the presidency of George W. Bush. Tracing the movement's intellectual history from Edmund Burke to Rush Limbaugh, Tanenhaus (Whitaker Chambers), editor of the New York Times Book Review, argues that the contemporary Right define[s] itself less by what it yearns to conserve than by what it longs to destroy—and that pragmatic Democrats like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have usurped the Republicans' once winning focus on social stability. Tanenhaus argues that Republicans must moderate their focus on ideological purity if they are to return from the political wilderness and offers trenchant criticism of the liberal excesses that previously led to a long Democratic exile from the White House. Tanenhaus's positions are not entirely consistent, however; he aligns Nixon with George W. Bush and his destructively revanchist course before praising Nixon's prodigious gifts and sheer intellectual ability. But the author recognizes the need for two strong parties to compete in American politics, and his impeccably well-written book insightfully summarizes the highs and lows of American conservatism over the decades. (Sept.)
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“Impeccably well-written book insightfully summarizes the highs and lows of American conservatism over the decades.”—Publishers Weekly
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To return to its roots (if not its glory days) he suggests the movement in general and Republican Party in particularly returns to the Burkean faction trumpeted by advocates such as W.F. Buckley for more than half of the last century. Sound advice if politicians were interested in principle over power however experience shows us otherwise. The notion that 10s of millions of supporters are going to be turned away by the GOP is simply preposterous. Nice explication of the problem. Absurdly naive solution.
As I have a lot of respect for Moyers I purchased a copy.
It was not what I was led to believe based on the Moyers interview of Tannenhus.
What I expected was a book that delt with the right's current delima of wanting
to get right with Reagan on the one hand and the need to move past him on the
This was indeed covered in the book, however so was such things as William F. Buckley's evoultion from a "movement conservative" to a pragmatist.
The title of the book is misleading as most of the book deals with the right in
the 40's 50's 60's & 70's rather than it's divisions today.
Nevertheless in spite of my misgivings this a readable book, just don't expect
to learn anything about where conservatism will be during next year's mid-terms
or in 2012.
Most recent customer reviews
I admit also to not having read the whole book but this is an unserious work by one more...Read more