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Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency Hardcover – August 12, 2004
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Although the George W. Bush administration is famous for being "on message," delivering a consistent and polished political perspective no matter what, such consistency apparently does not extend to every member of the conservative universe. In Where the Right Went Wrong, veteran pundit and occasional presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan offers up scathing criticisms of Bush's policies, the arrogance and boorishness of which, he warns, could ultimately dramatically destabilize the United States' superpower status. The problem, in Buchanan's eyes, is the rejection of traditional Reagan-era conservatism by an administration under the sway of the so-called "neoconservatives," who favor a pre-emptive military strategy and big government and don't mind running up dangerously huge budget deficits to support it. The war in Iraq, fought without direct demonstrable threat, alienates America in the eyes of the rest of the world, says Buchanan, squandering the global goodwill earned after the 9/11 attacks and creating exponentially larger numbers of terrorists who will threaten the U.S. for generations to come. The zeal over free trade among elected officials, a feeling notably not shared by Buchanan, Ross Perot, and Ralph Nader, is costing America jobs, Buchanan theorizes, and leading to a de-industrialized service-sector-only economy, an end to American self-sufficiency in favor of a reliance on global corporations, and a looming economic crisis. Refreshingly, and unlike pundits of his day, Buchanan crafts his arguments by examining world history, offering detailed analogies to the Roman Empire, the Civil War, and pre-Soviet Russia among others. Conservatives alienated by the Bush administration will find an eloquent champion in Buchanan and even liberals, who may not have known there was a conservative argument against war in Iraq, stand to learn something from a right side of the aisle perspective so different from that found in the Bush White House. --John Moe
From Publishers Weekly
In his indictment of the current Bush administration and its "neoconservative" policies, pundit and occasional presidential candidate Buchanan likens the American condition to that of Rome before the fall, citing "ominous analogies" such as "the decline of religion and morality, corruption of the commercial class, and a debased and decadent culture." According to Buchanan, the blame for this state of affairs rests squarely in the lap of "neoconservatives," who are mere liberals in sheeps clothing. These neocons, the author contends, have wrestled control of the Republican party out of the hands of true conservatives such as himself, Barry Goldwater and, of course, Ronald Reaganwith disastrous results. Buchanan takes issue with Bushs policies on, among other things, immigration, terrorism, imperialism, the Middle East, free trade and the deficit. What may come as a surprise to readers is Buchanans position on the war in Iraq, which he believes was an enormous error in judgment. "By attacking and occupying an Arab nation that had no role in 9/11, no plans to attack us, and no weapons of mass destruction, we played into bin Ladens hand," Buchanan writes. But liberals wont stay on board with the books message for long, especially when it comes to issues of culture and social policy. Buchanan is against affirmative action, abortion and gay rights, to name a few, and he believes immigration poses a serious threat to the American way of life. At times, Buchannan obscures his arguments with ill-chosen words that many will read as xenophobic, if not racist. In a discussion of illegal Mexican immigrants, for example, he calls California "Mexifornia" and adds, "Ten years after NAFTA, Mexicos leading export to America is stillMexicans. America is becoming Mexamerica." Whether or not one agrees with these conclusions, Buchanans book is provocative and will certainly ruffle feathers on both sides of the party line.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
Conservatism as known by Robert Taft, Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan is dead. Conservatism may be Reaganite in its tax policy but it is Woodrow Wilsonite in its foreign policy. The Bush Doctrine (George W Bush) policy is to launch pre-emptive war on other nations, rogue nations who seek WMD's. "It is a prescription for permanent war for permanent peace." Containment is no longer a viable option under the Bush Doctrine. Why not? askes Buchanan. Has any rogue nation ever attacked the United States? Did not containment work during the Cold War? In essence Bush was saying to Beijing, Moscow, New Delhi, and whoever, that the US will not allow any other nation to increase its military strength to the point where it challanges that of the US. (Ironically Buchanan has an ally in this idea in Noam Chomsky who wrote in _Failed States_ that US military policy made Beijing feel militarily threatened. The result is obvious.)
The Bush Doctrine goes another step. Moral truth is the same everywhere and always. To this Buchanan wonders why people disagree on the morality of what the US did to Hiroshima and Dresden. Ironically, claiming the moral high ground has led the US to new moral lows and the rest of the world knows it as shown by recent administration attempts to rewrite the Geneva Conventions.
Is the US to be responsible for the peace of the whole planet? "Are the graduates of West Point to fight them all?" The doctrine of containment was introduced by Harry Truman in 1947. Pre-emptive warfare is alien to the American tradition. "Reagan was antiwar because he was pro-peace." Would Reagan have backed a policy of pre-emptive warfare? Buchanan thinks he would not. Such meddling only invites responses that lead to permanent war for peace... that hopefully will be permanent but... never comes.
As a 23 year Democrat who registered Republican because I wanted to vote in the Kansas Republican primary (which never happened) for John McCain and who is now registered as an Independent I found much common ground in this book. If you throw out the comments about eliminating government departments that have been in existence all of my life by rolling back the New Deal and the Great Society, and the comments about the "liberal judiciary" I agree with everything else. I'm not for the type of 'Limited Government' we got during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina which was a national disgrace of the first magnatude.
Chapter One - Democratic Imperialism and the war president
I was neither for nor against the War in Iraq. After hearing for years after the Gulf War that "we should have taken out Saddam" I knew that Bush would move to do so should he become president. I figure that if we have an all volunteer army, those soldiers know what they are getting themselves into and if they were willing to sign up and if they were for the war, then so be it.
Chapter Two - The war party hijackers of american foreign policy
Speaks for itself. Since this book was written two years ago its a shame it took this long to become public knowledge that the neocons had got us into a mess.
Chapter Three - Is Islam the enemy?
I don't want to wake up to the call to prayer for Muslims in America. I'm for diversity but only up to a point. I'm not for multi-culturalism. I'm more a nationalist/traditionalist who would like to see English as the national language. If a judge won't let this go into law, then impeach that judge.
Chapter Four - Unwinnable war?
How do we win against an idea?
Chapter Five - Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Our trade deficit is out of control. I agree with that.
Chapter Six - Economic Treason
Definitely agree with what he has to say about this subject. Buchanan quotes historian Corelli Barnett in The Collapse of the British Power
"Central to liberalism was the belief that human progress and human happiness alike were best assumed by elevating individuals to compete freely with each other: laissez-faire; let them get on with it. What was socially necessary should be entrusted to spontaneous creation by private initiative. As Adam Smith, the founder of liberal economics, put it in 1776: "By pursuing his own interest [an individual] frequently promotes that of society, the more effectually than when he really intends to promote it." It was Adam Smith who formulated the doctrine of Free Trade, keystone of liberalism, which was to exercise as long-lived and as baneful effect on British power as Wesley and Whitfield's preaching.
This kind of liberalism I'm definitely no longer for. Roll-back NAFTA, CAFTA and all the rest. Put American industry first and certainly stop subsidizing our jobs going overseas. If its conservative to want to put the nation first above corporate interests, then I'm as conservative as they come!
Chapter Seven - Conservative Impersonators
I knew from day one that Bush was a wolf in sheep's clothing, WHY did it take so long for the American people to see it?
Chapter Eight - Falling Dollar, Failing Nation
Makes sense. One of these days our dollars going out to other nations is going to catch up with us. We can't sustain billion dollar trade deficits forever.
Chapter Nine - The Abdication of Congress and the rise of judicial dictatorshipl.
He's certainly correct about Congress abdicating its constitutional duties. Neither agree nor disagree about the judges. I guess its my libertarian streak that comes out when it comes to the government trying to tell me what I can and can't do with my own body, or, for that matter, those of my loved ones ala Terry Schiavo.
Chapter Ten - The way back home
He's wrong about always voting for his party whether right or wrong. We have much common ground. I'm really fed up with the politics of polarization. It isn't that the media is liberal or right-wing, its that its for confrontation and controversy. It makes them money. If we're all in agreement, where's the controversy, and therefore, the money, to be made in that? The American people in this mid-term election has finally said no to the divide and conquer tactics of Rove. Let's say no to the national news media as well and make them stop being an extension of the 'National Enquirer'.