Rule and Ruin

Rule and Ruin

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

Book - 2012
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Baker & Taylor
Argues that the downfall of moderate Republicans began not with the rise of the Tea Party movement, but with the end of Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidency, which led into the debates over the civil rights movement and a "Civil War" among Republicans, which was ultimately won by the right-wingers.

& Taylor

Explores the origins of the Republican Party's shift from a party of moderation to one of extremism, beginning in the early 1960s with President Dwight Eisenhower's farewell address.

Oxford University Press
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.

Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, c2012
Description: xx, 482 p. ; 25 cm
ISBN: 9780199768400
Branch Call Number: 324.2734 Kab


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Dec 04, 2015

I personally do not believe books such as this add anything to scholarship, they simply make it murkier and murkier, and tries to obfuscate the fact that in hindsight, there was little difference between the two parties even back then!
Sure, the democratic party appears actually liberal and pro-citizenry during the times of FDR's administration and the all-too-brief administration of JFK, but those were the exceptions!
During Eisenhower's administration there were 170 covert operations, which sowed the seeds for much murder, torture, and incredibly unnecessary mayhem to follow - - purely anti-progressive. Much balderdash is made of the far more restrained taxation during Eisenhower - - but it was so close to the Great Depression, Eisenhower couldn't vary that much, it would be years before that would happen! No, many bad things happened during Eisenhower, and he gave much free rein to Nelson Rockefeller who changed things for the extreme worse!
In hindsight, the major differences between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater were only their presidential campaigns, and that Goldwater was more likeable than Johnson.
Not impressed with anything in this book, sorry to say.

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