- Series: Studies in Postwar American Political Development
- Hardcover: 504 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 4, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199768404
- ISBN-13: 978-0199768400
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.6 x 6.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 48 customer reviews
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- #832 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Elections & Political Process > Political Parties
- #1230 in Books > Textbooks > Social Sciences > Political Science > Political Ideologies
- #1609 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Ideologies & Doctrines > Democracy
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Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, From Eisenhower to the Tea Party (Studies in Postwar American Political Development) 1st Edition
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"In Rule and Ruin, his wonderfully detailed new history of moderate Republicanism, Geoffrey Kabaservice makes a strong case that moderate Republicanism was hardier than we remember." --Timothy Noah, The New York Times Book Review
"The good guys lost; the bad guys won. That's the story Kabaservice sets out to tell in Rule and Ruin. He tells it in strong and engaging prose, often with a literary flair." --The National Interest
"Kabaservice is a wonderfully straightforward historian who does not layer on a lot of interpretive gloss...Rule and Ruin is a wonderful reminder of what was once -- not very long ago -- a vital tradition in American politics." --The New Republic
"An audacious and important history that rediscovers a great political tradition at exactly the moment when it is again needed most." --David Frum, author of Comeback: Conservatism that Can Win Again
"The radical turn of the Republican Party into a voice of right-wing extremism is one of the major themes of modern American political history. Rule and Ruin tells the whole story in stunning detail, and in prose that is as balanced as it is lucid. No study of our recent politics could possibly be more timely on the eve of the 2012 elections." --Sean Wilentz, Princeton University, author of The Age of Reagan
"Meticulously researched and compellingly written, Rule and Ruin is more than an account of the demise of moderate Republicans; it is a penetrating history of the modern Republican Party over the past half century. This is an exceptional book, and must reading for anyone who will follow with interest (or dread) the Republican race to a presidential nomination in 2012." --Norman J. Ornstein, Resident Scholar, The American Enterprise Institute
"In this timely work, Geoffrey Kabaservice successfully combines thorough historical research and a gripping narrative. The result is a comprehensive account of an ideological and political contest which, played out over half a century, has had a profound influence on the Republican Party and modern American politics." --Strobe Talbott, President, Brookings Institution
"Kabaservice's book is a painstaking and well-argued attempt to resurrect the losers in the GOP's fratricidal war, the liberal and moderate Republicans, including many from the northeastern states where today their influence still lingers." --Sam Tanenhaus, The New York Review of Books
"Kabaservice ably narrates the Republican Party's fifty-year conversion from a diverse political organization into an exclusively conservative 'ideological vehicle.'...Kabaservice is
as moderate as his subject matter; he resists proposing an implausibly easy solution. He believes that third-party projects are likely "foredoomed to failure," and redistricting reforms will be "a slow process" at best." --Commonwealth
About the Author
Geoffrey Kabaservice is the author of the National Book Award-nominated The Guardians: Kingman Brewster, His Circle, and the Rise of the Liberal Establishment. He has written for numerous national publications and has been an assistant professor of history at Yale University. He lives outside Washington, DC.
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The author moves us along through the years from 1961 in chapter two to 1970 in chapter 10, where we are filled in on the goings-on in the Nixon administration. We learn that Nixon’s turn against the moderates in the party “ultimately ended it as a viable political force.” The author describes for us the realignment of politics into liberal and conservative parties, noting that this was underway by the early 1970s and would continue for the next several decades. By chapter eleven, the pace picks up. In this chapter, the author covers the continuing decline of moderate republicans through the administrations of Reagan and Ford – the decade of the 1980s. Thirty years of history (1980-2010) are condensed into chapter 12. It was during this period that we see the further collapse of the moderates, the rise of right-wing think tanks, advocacy organizations, media outlets, PACs, and, of course the Tea Party. By the end of the 2010 election, there remained only a handful of moderate republicans in Congress. Kabaservice concludes that “The conversion of one of America’s two major parties into an ideological vehicle, against the preferences of many of the party’s own voters, is a phenomenon without precedent in American history.” He further states that such movements based on dogmatic, unthinking certitude could be fatal to our treasured American values.
The author provides us here with a detailed narrative of the decline of moderates in the Republican party. I found the book very interesting and informative.
Kabaservice writes that the Conservatives who virtually eliminated the moderate center of the party are more interested in ideological purity than pragmatic cooperation with those who do not share their beliefs. I agree with this conclusion but I suggest that the left wing of the Democrat party has lurched to the left at the same time as the Republican Conservatives moved further right. After all where are the Blue Dog Democrats these days?
Kabaservice criticizes the Tea party and Conservative activists as racists and many other epithets that betray his own political leanings. Having said that this is a well researched albeit unbalanced view of the GOP.
This is a relatively dry book and it was very reliant on the archives of the Ripon Group, a moderate think tank. As Ripon declined, the history becomes more general. However, as Ripon's decline dovetailed with the decline in the viability of moderate Republicanism, this isn't a serious flaw.
If you only read one book on the history of the Republican Party, this shouldn't be it. But who reads just a single book on an important subject? This is a worthy addition to the collection of books on the subject and is especially interesting to those of us who are seeking to understand how the Republican Party came to purge moderates from their ranks.