Dead Right: The End of the Conservativism of Hope and the Rise of the Conservativism of Fear

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Part reportage, part manifesto, Dead Right leads readers on a witty and opinionated tour through the chaos of post-Reagan conservatism. It explains why the "Religious Right" is a phony menace... why President Reagan failed to eliminate even one major spending program... why the 1992 Republican convention, originally conceived as a cunning ploy, backfired... and much more. David Frum analyzes the conservative movement's turn away from the economic issues that dominated the 1980s to a new preoccupation with race, ...
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Overview

Part reportage, part manifesto, Dead Right leads readers on a witty and opinionated tour through the chaos of post-Reagan conservatism. It explains why the "Religious Right" is a phony menace... why President Reagan failed to eliminate even one major spending program... why the 1992 Republican convention, originally conceived as a cunning ploy, backfired... and much more. David Frum analyzes the conservative movement's turn away from the economic issues that dominated the 1980s to a new preoccupation with race, ethnicity, and sex. He explains how and why conservatives decided to stop fighting Big Government and start using it. And he warns that a conservatism that loses its anti-Big Government faith is doomed to futility. Dead Right dissects the new conservative position on issues ranging from education to workfare, immigration to enterprise zones, and ruthlessly scrutinizes the leadership of the conservative movement. Always lively and provocative, this is the one book that conservatives and their critics must read to understand the past and future of the American Right.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Why did the hoped-for new Republican majority never materialize despite the party's electoral success in the 1980s? Drawing on interviews with party leaders, pollsters, direct mail specialists, and journalists, Forbes columnist Frum paints a picture of a party that forgot its historic conservative message in order to position itself in the middle of the American political road. Noting that the government grew apace under Reagan and Bush despite rhetoric to the contrary, Frum takes Reagan to task for letting entitlements get out of hand and criticizes Bush's federal aid programs as more big government. Frum contends that the GOP's job is to reduce federal bureaucracy to the minimum size feasible under present political conditions. Aiming at that goal will spell success for the party. Philosophically deep and politically cogent, this is recommended for academic and larger political science collections.-Frank Kessler, Missouri Western State Coll., St. Joseph
Booknews
Frum, a former Wall Street Journal editor and a columnist for Forbes magazine, leads readers on a witty and opinionated tour through the chaos of post-Reagan conservatism, and analyzes the conservative movement's turn away from the economic issues that dominated the 1980s to a new preoccupation with race, ethnicity, and sex. He dissects the new conservative position on issues ranging from education to workfare, and scrutinizes the movement's leadership. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Gilbert Taylor
Conservative politicians are putting out books explaining the crack-up of their cause. Frum differs from the pack--represented by Quayle's "Standing Firm" (see Upfront, this issue) and Charles Kolb's "White House Daze" --in his attention to ideas over anecdotes, analysis over day-to-day electioneering. An alumnus of the high-profile proving ground for conservative writers, the "Wall Street Journal"'s editorial page, Frum delivers a cogent retrospective of the Republican Party's interlude of influence (1981-87) as a means of handicapping its potential presidential field for 1996. He holds grave doubts about the ebullient Kemp, the censorious Bennett, and the nationalist Buchanan. Critical of the welfare state and skeptical of the party's repute as the opponent of bloated government, he argues, instead, that Republicans are as beholden to certain of Big Government's clients--farmers, small businesspeople, and veterans--as are Democrats to any of their special interests. In other areas, such as in its wary handling of the so-called religious right, Frum sees a party even further astray from conservatism. His essay is meant to agitate the ranks and, perhaps, leave them behind. A lively autopsy of an agonizing reappraisal.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465098200
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 6/28/1994
  • Pages: 240

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 Athwart History 1
Ch. 2 Houston: "Wall-to-Wall Ugly" 15
Ch. 3 The Failure of the Reagan Gambit 32
Ch. 4 Optimists: Wrong but Wromantic 78
Ch. 5 Moralists: The Threat from Above 99
Ch. 6 Nationalists: Whose Country Is It Anyway? 124
Ch. 7 The Pseudo-Menace of the Religious Right 159
Ch. 8 1996 174
Notes 207
Index 219
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