Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism–From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond

“The history of contemporary American conservatism is a story of disappointment and betrayal,” writes E. J. Dionne in his latest book Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism–From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond (Simon & Schuster 2016; $30).Why the Right Went Wrong Jacket Art

In a recent phone interview, Dionne, a senior fellow, Brookings Institution; columnist for The Washington Post, described how Republican presidents such as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. and George W. Bush have had to make promises they couldn’t keep, perpetuating a cycle of disillusionment that has pushed the GOP steadily rightward.

“If you want to understand where Trump came from it’s from the anger and the resentment of white blue collar workers,” says Dionne. “There is a nostalgia for the 1950s where the structure of the economy and the family was stable. But all those were underwritten by an economic value forged by the unions that allowed working class people to support their families. If you care about the family, you have to care about the underpinnings of the family. Part of my book is a plea and argument to those who are less progressive that there are economic reasons for the breakdown.”

Dionne, who describes himself as a strong supporter of unions and the way they created a thriving middle class, says that conservative leaders have made promises that simply can’t be kept.
“They promise to reduce the size of government but no Republican has been able to reduce the size of government—it was the same size at the end of Ronald Reagan’s two terms as at the beginning. They talk about deregulation but most Republicans want safe water, less air pollution and regulations that ensure safety.”

In writing his book, Dionne draws upon his more than three decades of writing political commentary as well as intensive research. As tEJ Dionne_credit Paul Morigihis election year advances, he sees many of his ideas reflected in what the candidates are espousing as they try to out-do each other on conservative views including immigration (“you’re not going to be able deport 11 million people,” he says about their promise). He also counters the right’s anti-government rhetoric.

“Medicare may be a government entitlement program but we earned it,” he says. “I think that is a proper form of conservatism—societies hold themselves together by changing when they need to, Medicare made it so that people have health care.”


What:  Author E. J. Dionne discusses “Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism–From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond”

When: Thursday, February 25, 6– 7:15 p.m.

Where: Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, lower level, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State Street, Chicago IL

Cost: Free

FYI: (312) 747-4300





Author: Jane Simon Ammeson

Jane Simon Ammeson is a freelance writer who specializes in travel, food and personalities. She writes frequently for The Times of Northwest Indiana, Mexico Connect, Long Weekends magazine, Edible Michiana, Lakeland Boating, Food Wine Travel magazine , Lee Publications, and the Herald Palladium where she writes a weekly food column. Her TouchScreenTravels include Indiana's Best. She also writes a weekly book review column for The Times of Northwest Indiana as well as food and travel, has authored 16 books including Lincoln Road Trip: The Back-road Guide to America's Favorite President, a winner of the Lowell Thomas Journalism Award in Travel Books, Third Place and also a Finalist for the 2019 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards in the Travel category. Her latest books are America's Femme Fatale: The Story of Serial Killer Belle Gunness and Classic Restaurants of Northwest Indiana. Her other books include How to Murder Your Wealthy Lovers and Get Away with It, A Jazz Age Murder in Northwest Indiana and Murders That Made Headlines: Crimes of Indiana, all historic true crime as well Hauntings of the Underground Railroad: Ghosts of the Midwest, Brown County, Indiana and East Chicago. Jane’s base camp is Stevensville, Michigan on the shores of Lake Michigan. Follow Jane at facebook.com/janesimonammeson; twitter.com/hpammeson; https://twitter.com/janeammeson1; twitter.com/travelfoodin, instagram.com/janeammeson/ and on her travel and food blog janeammeson.com and book blog: shelflife.blog/

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