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Christine Whitman offers an insider’s view of the corrosive effects—on the party and the country as a whole—of the rise of zealous conservatism. She tells many stories from the front lines of her battles with conservatives, as well as those of other moderate Republicans, and argues that the rise of this bullying faction—as opposed to being the voting juggernaut party leaders have considered it—has kept the Republican party from building a true voting majority. It has also, she argues, pushed the polarization of the electorate to an appalling extreme.
Each chapter focuses on the key hot-button issues that were the most contentious battlegrounds between moderates and conservatives in 2005, and the areas where she thinks the conservatives took the party in the wrong direction: race relations, abortion rights, the environment, taxes, and international affairs. In each of these areas, Whitman tells stories about how in her own career she has been able to make great progress by taking a moderate approach—by finding what she calls “the productive middle,” such as in her unprecedented admission that racial profiling was indeed happening on New Jersey’s highways.
This is a fascinating insider’s account of how politics happens on the ground and behind the closed doors, with a message that will speak powerfully to an all too silent moderate Republican majority.