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Another problem: If being a Communist-turned-conservative makes you a neocon, then many of the founders of National Review were neocons too. Chambers was a Soviet agent. The idea that neoconservatism was primarily about foreign policy, specifically anti-Communism, further complicates things. Part of this is a by-product of the second wave of neoconservatives who joined the movement and the right in the s, mostly through the pages of Commentary.

It is certainly true that the foreign-policy neocons emphasized certain things more than generic conservatives, specifically the promotion of democracy abroad. And then there are the Joooooz. Neocons only care about Israel is the Trojan horse that lets people get away with not saying the J-word. Those bagel-snarfing warmongers want real Americans to do their fighting for them.

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By the way, Leroy Brown must have ended up fighting in the Gulf War after all. How else can we explain how quickly it ended? He was, after all, the baddest man in the whole damn town. Bush, John Bolton, and virtually everybody who supported the war were called neocons. Whatever neoconservatism is, or was, its time as a distinct thing has been over for a while. This strikes me as inarguably true. So today, neoconservatism has become what it started out as, an invidious term used by its opponents to single out and demonize people as inauthentic, un-American, unreliable, or otherwise suspicious heretics, traitors, or string-pullers.

The chief difference is that they were once aliens in the midst of liberalism, now they are called aliens in the midst of conservatism. Nowhere in his essay does Buskirk reveal that he has any real grasp of what neoconservatism was or is — and the best defense of his insinuation that neoconservatism was un-American is that it can be chalked up to bad writing. Were these essays , on Abraham Lincoln published in The Weekly Standard or by its writers elsewhere, perfidious neocon attempts to topple him from his historic pedestal?

And what of the scores of neoconservatives who worked for Ronald Reagan and helped him advance the Reaganite agenda? Were they all fifth columnists? Save for a couple of Bill Kristol tweets out of context, he cites no writing and marshals no evidence.

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Instead, he lets a wink, or rather the stink, do all of his work. He knows his readers want to hear folderol about neocons. He knows they have their own insidious definitions of what they are and crave to have them confirmed. Bringing any definition or fact to his argument would get in the way of his naked assertions and slimy insinuations.

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And what absurd assertions they are. My God. Take away the largely defensible transactional arguments for Trumpism and what are you left with?

Grotesque mockery of disabled people, Gold Star families, and other inconvenient people? Who is in conflict with the best principles of America: the magazine that for 23 years lionized the founders, Lincoln, and Reagan or the website that rationalizes literally anything Donald Trump does — from crony capitalism to denigrating the First Amendment to paying off porn stars — as either the inventions of his enemies or a small price to pay for national greatness?

American Greatness is dedicated to cramming American ideas into a Trump-shaped hole.

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The larger point, however, is this larger trend. Facts are being subordinated to feelings, and the dominant feelings among many Trumpists are simply ugly.

And even those who have not turned ugly see no problem working hand in hand with those who have. And how could they, given who they herald as their Moses. My full plea is here.

Book Review - Banana Republican - By Eric Rauchway - The New York Times

I will be in Utah and then Hawaii with family until the new year. I just recorded a new episode of The Remnant with Sonny Bunch with a special cameo by Matt Continetti to indulge in some rank punditry. This means that I will not see — in person — any of my quadrupeds until But I will try to send proof of life pics as I get them.

Canine Update : The timing of our departure worked out well. Rauchway captures this complexity in a remarkably short space, making this book an ideal introduction to one of the great policy revolutions in history.


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Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given topic. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how it has developed and influenced society. Whatever the area of study, whatever the topic that fascinates the reader, the series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable. Nineteenth-century globalization made America exceptional.


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  • On the back of European money and immigration, America became an empire with considerable skill at conquest but little experience administering other people's, or its own, affairs, which it preferred to leave to the energies of private enterprise. The nation's resulting state institutions and traditions left America immune to the trends of national development and ever after unable to persuade other peoples to follow its example. Shortly after arriving in the White House in early , Franklin Roosevelt took the United States off the gold standard.

    His opponents thought his decision unwise at best, and ruinous at worst. But they could not have been more wrong.

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    With The Money Makers, Eric Rauchway tells the absorbing story of how FDR and his advisors pulled the levers of monetary policy to save the domestic economy and propel the United States to unprecedented prosperity and superpower status. Drawing on the ideas of the brilliant British economist John Maynard Keynes, among others, Roosevelt created the conditions for recovery from the Great Depression, deploying economic policy to fight the biggest threat then facing the nation: deflation.

    Throughout the s, he also had one eye on the increasingly dire situation in Europe. In order to defeat Hitler, Roosevelt turned again to monetary policy, sending dollars abroad to prop up the faltering economies of Britain and, beginning in , the Soviet Union. FDR's fight against economic depression and his fight against fascism were indistinguishable.

    As Rauchway writes, "Roosevelt wanted to ensure more than business recovery; he wanted to restore American economic and moral strength so the US could defend civilization itself. Indeed, Rauchway argues that Roosevelt's greatest legacy was his monetary policy. Even today, the "Roosevelt dollar" remains both the symbol and the catalyst of America's vast economic power.

    Nov 17, Ron rated it it was ok Shelves: adventure , fiction , historical-fiction , political , unfinished. Read quite a ways into this hoping to enjoy the historical fiction aspect of it. Not horrible but did not grab me.

    Russian 'spy' Maria Butina breaks her silence from prison

    Jul 17, Liz added it Shelves: thriller-suspense. This book made me laugh out loud. Totally campy. Part James Bond, part Great Gatsby. I did read the ARC and I hope the published version didn't change much. Aug 12, Ellen added it Shelves: want-to-read. As seen in the New York Times. Nov 25, Todd rated it really liked it Shelves: american-dreams , contemporary-fiction. Cute take off from Great Gatsby with lots of social commentary.