The Audacity Of Historical Perspective...

“Sometimes I suspect that even the Republican leaders who immediately followed Reagan weren’t entirely comfortable with the direction politics had taken. In the mouths of men like George H. W. Bush and Bob Dole, the polarizing rhetoric and the politics of resentment always seemed forced, a way of peeling off voters from the Democratic base and not necessarily a recipe of governing...

...But for a younger generation of conservative operatives who would soon rise to power, for Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove and Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed, the fiery rhetoric was more than a matter of campaign strategy. They were true believers who meant what they said, whether it was “No new taxes” or “We are a Christian nation.” In fact, with their rigid doctrines, slash-and-burn style, and exaggerated sense of having been aggrieved, this new conservative leadership was eerily reminiscent of some of the New Left’s leaders during the sixties. As with their left-wing counterparts, the new vanguard of the right viewed politics as a contest not just between competing policy visions, but between good and evil. Activists in both parties began developing litmus tests, checklists of orthodoxy, leaving a Democrat who questioned abortion increasingly lonely, any Republican who championed gun control effectively marooned. In this Manichean struggle, compromise came to look like weakness, to be punished or purged. You were with us or against us. You had to choose sides.”

Barack Obama
The Audacity of Hope (pp. 33-34)

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