Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, From Eisenhower to the Tea Party

Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, From Eisenhower to the Tea Party

by Geoffrey Kabaservice
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Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, From Eisenhower to the Tea Party by Geoffrey Kabaservice

The chaotic events leading up to Mitt Romney's defeat in the 2012 election indicated how far the Republican Party had rocketed rightward away from the center of public opinion. Republicans in Congress threatened to shut down the government and force a U.S. debt default. Tea Party activists mounted primary challenges against Republican officeholders who appeared to exhibit too much pragmatism or independence. Moderation and compromise were dirty words in the Republican presidential debates. The GOP, it seemed, had suddenly become a party of ideological purity.

Except this development is not new at all. In Rule and Ruin, Geoffrey Kabaservice reveals that the moderate Republicans' downfall began not with the rise of the Tea Party but about the time of President Dwight Eisenhower's farewell address. Even in the 1960s, when left-wing radicalism and right-wing backlash commanded headlines, Republican moderates and progressives formed a powerful movement, supporting pro-civil rights politicians like Nelson Rockefeller and William Scranton, battling big-government liberals and conservative extremists alike. But the Republican civil war ended with the overthrow of the moderate ideas, heroes, and causes that had comprised the core of the GOP since its formation. In hindsight, it is today's conservatives who are "Republicans in Name Only."

Writing with passionate sympathy for a bygone tradition of moderation, Kabaservice recaptures a time when fiscal restraint was matched with social engagement; when a cohort of leading Republicans opposed the Vietnam war; when George Romney—father of Mitt Romney—conducted a nationwide tour of American poverty, from Appalachia to Watts, calling on society to "listen to the voices from the ghetto." Rule and Ruin is an epic, deeply researched history that reorients our understanding of our political past and present.

Today, following the Republicans' loss of the popular vote in five of the last six presidential contests, moderates remain marginalized in the GOP and progressives are all but nonexistent. In this insightful and elegantly argued book, Kabaservice contends that their decline has left Republicans less capable of governing responsibly, with dire consequences for all Americans. He has added a new afterword that considers the fallout from the 2012 elections.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199975518
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 11/01/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 664,547
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.40(d)

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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Rule and Ruin 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
LucyPevensie More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. I have learned a tremendous amount about the last 60 years of American political history from reading it. It’s fascinating to see what certain politicians were like in their younger years. The young Newt Gingrinch, Ronald Reagan, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush I, and Dick Cheney were much different, and far more moderate, than their later incarnations. Indeed, the Republican party was a much different, and far more moderate, place throughout most of its existence. What I have learned from this book is that it is only in relatively recent years that the GOP has become a bastion of hardcore conservatism. For this reason, today’s Republicans are having a hard time reconciling themselves with their history. It is awkward for them to look backwards because previous generations of Republicans strike them as embarrassingly liberal. They have solved this dilemma by claiming that earlier Republicans – Eisenhower, Gerald Ford and Nixon, for example -- were RINOs (“Republican in Name Only”). As author Geoffrey Kabaservice writes: “Much of the current conservative movement is characterized by this sort of historical amnesia and symbolic parricide, which seeks to undo key aspects of the Republican legacy such as Reagan’s elimination of corporate tax loopholes, Nixon’s environmental and labor safety programs, and a variety of GOP achievements in civil rights, civil liberties, and good government reforms. In the long view of history, it is really today’s conservatives who are ‘Republicans in name only.’” I highly recommend this book. It is well written, well researched and edifying. When you are living through them, you don't always notice the ideological shifts that are occurring within your party. This book is very well organized and lays it out, decade by decade (with a focus on the 1960s and 1970s, when moderate Republicans were most active), so that you can see quite clearly the changes that have taken place. Sobering.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I searched up tea party layouts not polotics. I don't care anout polotics.# boring :( :( : &
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anyone but a liberal - anyone but a democrat. Our country and constitution as we know it, (and people envy us for both), is going to be a thing of the past.