Review: Where the Right Went Wrong–How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency

5 Star, Philosophy, Politics

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Buchanan–and Nader–More Mainstream than Bush-Kerry!,

September 12, 2004
Patrick J. Buchanan
Edit of 20 Dec 07 to add links.

The most shocking aspect of this book, in a positive “eye-opening” sense, is that Pat Buchanan seems to be more in touch with what I as a moderate Republican believe, than anyone associated with the current Bush-Cheney Administration. Although he has some extremist views that I do not agree with, notably a desire to set back attempts to achieve racial equality, on balance his focus on avoiding elective wars, on eliminating the deficit, on reducing the size of government, on restoring state rights, and on putting the Supreme Court back in its place, all strike me as more “representative” than the views of the neo-conservatives, whom he attacks with eloquence and force.

There are some gems in the book that most people will enjoy because they are not being discussed. Chief among these is that the 2004 election is about the Supreme Court, and who gets to nominate as many as five new Justices. Fully enjoyable is the author’s blistering critique of the Court, and the moral cowardice of the Congress in allowing the Court to take on powers of legislative review never envisioned by the founders. The author’s quote of Lincoln is especially compelling on this point.

The author is also compelling in his discussion of the role that a common faith must play in keeping democracy alive. As the US foolishly strives to demand “secular democracy” in Iraq, something of an impossibility, the author is moving and thoughtful in showing that the decline of faith (and of the family) has harmed US democracy and its prospects.

Over-all the book is a litany of ills associated with an extremist Republican party run amok, funding Chinese weapons development at the same time that it exports jobs, funds the debt of loser nations while running up our own debt, etc. The author provides several lists of poor policy decisions that provide food for thought. Most troubling is the degree to which the USA is hostage to others for 72% of its medicines, 70% of its computer equipment, etc.

This is one of the few books I have encountered that covers both economic issues–the author is blistering on how “free” trade is not free, with fullsome detail on how we need *fair* trade–and national security issues. The author clearly understands that we are not winning the war on terrorism, only minor battles, and–in a phrase that especially moved me–that you cannot defeat a faith without a faith of your own. “To defeat a faith you need a faith.” I would refer the readers to Doug Johnston’s Faith-Based Diplomacy: Trumping Realpolitik as well as Jonathan Schell’s The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People.

Over-all, this book caused me to reflect on the reality that the two so-called “mainstream” political parties are no longer representative of America. Pat Buchanan is right–the moderate Republican Party with conservative values that I thought I was a member of has been hijacked and corrupted. At the same time, the same can be said for the Democratic Party, whose traditional values are now more ably represented by Ralph Nader. In brief, Americans are in limbo, lacking collective associations that truly represent their needs and concerns, and America is in need of a realignment of its grass-roots political organizations.

Super book, essential reading for anyone concerned about why the 2004 election is not a choice at all, only a pretense.

Estranged moderate Republican that I am, I grow more and more respectful of Patrick Buchanan. He saw this all coming. Little did we know.

Other books that add weight to his message:
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Institutions of American Democracy)
Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders
Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq
American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America
God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It (Plus)
Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed Are Tearing America Apart

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