Going Red by Ed Morrissey

book jacket with united states map with 7 states with flagsGoing Red: The Two Million Voters who will Elect the Next President — and how CONSERVATIVES can win them  by Ed Morrissey (2016)

This book just came out in April, and it is SOOOO WROOONG in what is happening in Republican strategy such as it is having been demolished by The Donald!

First, Donald Trump only has 2 references in the index and the text is absolutely not reflective of reality since he is the only Republican left standing. I suppose the author wrote it awhile ago, and it took time to print and so on, but really? Two mentions? Ah read on and it is clear the book must have been written before New Hampshire, based on the quotes below from speakers from there. The mentions of Trump include one of his apparently random interviews the author conducted in the seven states deemed crucial.

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Too Dumb to Fail by Matt K. Lewis

book jacket with elephant sitting on a stool with pointed dummy hatToo Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How it can Reclaim its Conservative Roots) (2016) is of course a play on the book and slogan, Too Big to Jail. Though he explains why he deliberately parodied that title, it didn’t really quite make sense to me. I think he was more trading on the Jail slogan and twisted things to try to pretend it makes sense. Kind of like the entire conservative point of view! BTW, it is a fast read since it is so lacking in substance.

Fun to read though, actually, in part because it actually does as he says: he tries to be objective. Alas trying is not the same as doing, as Yoda has explained to us before. However. in fact, he actually makes some good points.

I thought his concern about the party running completely unqualified candidates was very accurate. His criticism of a number of aspects of the party are reasonable. But he still misrepresents reality as I know it. And he can’t resist unnecessary snipes, in particular referring to Jimmy Carter as a “peanut farmer” as if that was something disgraceful and shameful [in conservative minds] akin to an abortionist or homosexual.

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Why the Right Went Wrong by E. J. Dionne Jr.

book cover upside down elephant logo of republican partyWhy the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism – from Goldwater to the Tea Part and Beyond

Doggone it, someone put a reserve on this book at the library so I will not have as much time as I wanted to completely read in detail the 475 pages. But it so fascinating how interconnected the books I’ve been reading are and since this is recent history, I lived it, although somewhat unaware of the depth and complexity of the issues and people involved. I don’t know why there wasn’t more liberal activism at that time, but perhaps I just haven’t come across a book on that. The Claire Conner book made it clear that there was serious radical right wing Bircher activism going on.

I find it fascinating to discover connections between people that I was unaware of, like the fact that Hillary Clinton worked for the Goldwater campaign at one point early in her career despite the fact that he was a serious racist and opposed segregation to the point that President Johnson sent in the National Guard to force the desegregation of Alabama schools when Goldwater was governor.

And I had read that Joe Scarborough was actually a conservative despite the fact that he is currently hosting on MSNBC and it used to be the “liberal” station but of course, it barely is since Comcast acquired it. Not much in-depth investigative journalism going on there anymore. Must rely on John Oliver for that, thank goodness for his HBO show and YouTube videos. And now we have Samantha Bee‘s Full Frontal and she is doing a fantastic job.

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The Life of the Parties by A. James Reichley

The Life of the Parties: A History of American Political Parties (2000, 1992)

the life of the partiesThis link is to the 2000 edition, the one I am reading is 1992 but not as dated as one might think given that it begins at the beginning of America’s founding and all the information up to then and is extremely detailed and analyzed and described very well.

This book answers the many questions I have had over the years of how we ended up with an essentially two-party system that is run like two warring corporations for a monopoly of the United States government as the prize.

I knew that the Founding Fathers had not begun nor wanted political parties, but apparently not “until they began running parties themselves.” Thomas Jefferson was pro-party. Alexander Hamilton “associated parties with ‘ambition, avarice, personal animosity.'” I’m going to side with Hamilton on this point. James Madison “wrote in Federalist Number Ten of ‘the mischiefs of faction. John Adams expressed ‘dread’ toward ‘division of the republic into to great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other.'” Now that was prescient!

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