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The Right Path: From Ike to Reagan, How Republicans Once Mastered Politics--and Can Again

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Overview

Joe Scarborough—former Republican congressman and the always insightful host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe—takes a nuanced and surprising look at the unexpected rise and self-inflicted fall of the Republican Party. Dominant in national politics for forty years under the influence of the conservative but pragmatic leadership of Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, the GOP, Scarborough argues, is in a self-inflicted eclipse. The only way forward? ...
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The Right Path: From Ike to Reagan, How Republicans Once Mastered Politics--and Can Again

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Overview

Joe Scarborough—former Republican congressman and the always insightful host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe—takes a nuanced and surprising look at the unexpected rise and self-inflicted fall of the Republican Party. Dominant in national politics for forty years under the influence of the conservative but pragmatic leadership of Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, the GOP, Scarborough argues, is in a self-inflicted eclipse. The only way forward? Recover the principled realism of the giants who led the party to greatness.
 
In the aftermath of Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 landslide, the Republican Party appeared to be on the verge of permanent irrelevance. LBJ’s Great Society was institutionalizing sweeping liberal reforms, and the United States had a thriving, prosperous economy. Yet in an instant everything changed, and the next four decades would witness an unprecedented era of Republican ascendancy. What happened?
 
In The Right Path, Joe Scarborough looks back in time to discern how Republicans once dominated American public life. From Eisenhower’s refusal to let “the perfect be the enemy of the good” to Reagan’s charismatic but resolutely practical genius, Scarborough shows how principled pragmatism, combined with a commitment to core conservative values, led to victory after victory.
 
Now, however, political incalcitrance is threatening to turn a once-mighty party into a permanent minority.  
 
Opening with the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965—the high-water moment for liberalism—and ending with the national disillusionment that set in after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, The Right Path effortlessly blends American political history with astute analysis and pithy, no-holds-barred commentary. Both a bracing call to arms and a commonsense history, The Right Path provides an illuminating look at conservatism and its discontents—and why the GOP must regain its former tone and tradition if it hopes to survive.
 
Praise for The Right Path
 
“This concise history of modern Republican politics might just leave you optimistic about the chances that conservatives can govern again. . . . In the world of commentary, we tend to obsess over the quotidian ebbs and flows—assuming that every little bump in the road is a disaster. . . . But there’s something about reading the history that allows one to take a longer view and put things in context. And that’s precisely what this book does very well.”The Daily Caller

The Right Path is the right book at the right time to spark a much-needed conversation about the future of the Republican Party.”—Doris Kearns Goodwin
 
“If you’re interested in the Republican future, you need to read The Right Path. I don’t agree with all of it, but Joe Scarborough has written a book that’s both thought-provoking and fun.”—William Kristol

“Joe Scarborough’s lively, provocative, and instructive history of the modern Republican Party will stir up the GOP—which is exactly what he has in mind. As the Grand Old Party searches for a path to victory, Joe offers some important lessons to be learned.”—Tom Brokaw
 
“Joe Scarborough’s incisive, original, provocative, and well-argued book, deploying American political history both distant and recent, deserves to be widely read, carefully considered, and energetically debated.”—Michael Beschloss

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-20
Bromides from Morning Joe host and former Republican Congressman Scarborough (The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America's Promise, 2009, etc.) on the restoration of the good old GOP. Whether the reader actually wants that restoration--and Scarborough assures us that it is inevitable: "I know that will happen"--depends on whether he or she agrees that Ronald Reagan was a demigod. Scarborough seems to think so, even as he brings Dwight Eisenhower back into the ranks of true-blue conservatives. (Should that be true-red conservatives?) By Scarborough's account, the GOP went astray in its steady march toward ideological purity in the post-Reagan years, forsaking the big-tent approach that Eisenhower espoused for a mean-spirited politics of "grievance and resentment." In the past, writes the author, purity over practicality led to the near-damnation of the GOP to "complete political irrelevance"--just witness the years in the wilderness following the crushing defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964. Scarborough argues that Richard Nixon's middle-ground, silent-majority approach was the better one, adding that even Goldwater came around to embracing the wisdom of compromise. Yet, for anyone who remembers the breathtaking revelations of the Nixon tapes, it is curious for the author to suggest that Nixon and his successor, Reagan, did not appeal to "racial resentments"; both surely did, just as surely as the Republican right does today, supplied with Gingrich-ian code words (say "urban," not "black"). Not that Gingrich is a hero of the Reagan mold by Scarborough's view, any more than was Mitt Romney ("a flip-flopping moderate who offended conservatives as well as swing voters"). Well-meaning, though the coming electoral cycle will show whether the GOP abandons the gladiatorial politics of resentment and, per Scarborough, actually makes some effort to show that it can govern.
From the Publisher
“This concise history of modern Republican politics might just leave you optimistic about the chances that conservatives can govern again. . . . In the world of commentary, we tend to obsess over the quotidian ebbs and flows—assuming that every little bump in the road is a disaster. . . . But there’s something about reading the history that allows one to take a longer view and put things in context. And that’s precisely what this book does very well.”The Daily Caller

The Right Path is the right book at the right time to spark a much-needed conversation about the future of the Republican Party.”—Doris Kearns Goodwin
 
“If you’re interested in the Republican future, you need to read The Right Path. I don’t agree with all of it, but Joe Scarborough has written a book that’s both thought-provoking and fun.”—William Kristol

“Joe Scarborough’s lively, provocative, and instructive history of the modern Republican Party will stir up the GOP—which is exactly what he has in mind. As the Grand Old Party searches for a path to victory, Joe offers some important lessons to be learned.”—Tom Brokaw
 
“Joe Scarborough’s incisive, original, provocative, and well-argued book, deploying American political history both distant and recent, deserves to be widely read, carefully considered, and energetically debated.”—Michael Beschloss
 
“Blending political and cultural history with sharp analysis, Joe Scarborough’s The Right Path is highly readable, timely, and, most important, provocative. This book comes at a crucial time for the Republican Party.”—Craig Shirley

“Joe Scarborough, a good Republican, wants to save the Republicans from themselves. In this provocative, lively, and wise book, he shows the way.”—Evan Thomas

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812996142
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/12/2013
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 339,697
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Joe Scarborough
Joe Scarborough is one of the hosts of Morning Joe and was, from 1995 to 2001, a member of the House of Representatives. His previous book, The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America’s Promise, was a New York Times bestseller. He was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 11, 2013

    Recommended reading

    For those who are familiar with Morning Joe this will be familiar stuff. Scarborough recognizes the risks of dis-functional government and presents a way back to reasonable conservative participation in our political process.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2013

    A must read.

    A must read.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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