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Publisher's Summary

Why the Right Went Wrong offers a historical view of the right since the 1960s. Its core contention is that American conservatism and the Republican Party took a wrong turn when they adopted Barry Goldwater's worldview during and after the 1964 campaign. Since 1968, no conservative administration could live up to the rhetoric rooted in the Goldwater movement that began to reshape American politics 50 years ago. The collapse of the Nixon presidency led to the rise of Ronald Reagan, the defeat of George H. W. Bush, and Newt Gingrich's revolution. Bush initially undertook a partial modernization, preaching "compassionate conservatism". Conservatives quickly defined him as an advocate of "big government" and not conservative enough on spending, immigration, education, and Medicare. A return to the true faith was the only prescription on order. The result was the Tea Party.
The state of the Republican Party, controlled by the strictest base, is diminished, E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes. It has become white and older in a country that is no longer that. It needs to come back to life for its own health and that of the country, and in Why the Right Went Wrong, he explains how.
©2016 E. J. Dionne, Jr. (P)2016 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"An important pundit delivers a thorough exegesis of the stubborn recurrence of the fringe right wing...." ( Kirkus)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By TM on 04-26-16

Exhaustive, Dry and True

Delivers the type of analysis you would expect from an NPR commentator - dry, factual and exhaustive.

There is no left wing attack here, just a logical chronology of how the Republican party has cornered itself politically by running on an unrealistic "small government" platform that they have never delivered. This has gradually infuriated those who believed and elected those "small government" candidates, which drives the party further right each cycle.

Also details the party's brief experiment in Compassionate Conservatism during the W Bush administration and how, whilst largely a superficially implemented political philosophy, was possibly forever tainted by his unpopular presidency even in Republican circles.

As an Independent who yearns for a government that is not in constant deadlock, I hope Republicans read this book and/or work to find a new, more constructive and open political direction - and then rejoin the work of national problem solving.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Rusty on 07-13-16

Interesting food for thought in this political season.

I am a republican, which is a cause for great angst in this political season. The conservative movement that I have been a part of my whole life has become more and more radical and has moved further from where I stand than ever before. This has been epitomized by the nomination of Trump as our party's standard bearer. This has caused me to seriously consider leaving the party. This book does have the flavor of a liberal writer, but he gives the reader a heads up to this early on in the book. While I don't agree with all of his points, the basic fundamentals of the book are sound. This is definitely something that Republicans need to heed, before they are left with nothing but the most extreme in the party, and die out.

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10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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