Friday, April 30, 2010

After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery, by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.- Not my cup of tea

After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is a book advertised as the history of conservatism in the United States and the direction it must take from here. Normally I don’t read political books although I’m willing to read almost anything else. But I decided to give After the Hangover a shot because I really do want to know more about the history of the conservative movement. How’d they get where they are now?

I must say right off that although this book was often hard to read because of Tyrrell’s many million dollar words, it is, in fact, very well written. But I sometimes found myself lost and having to re-read portions to figure out where Tyrrell was going – or coming from. This book is not for light reading.

Tyrrell tends to skip around a bit as he gives us historical background of the conservative movement. But I enjoyed learning his viewpoint on those conservatives such as Ronald Reagan and Henry Kissinger. His background on William F. Buckley, Jr. was also interesting but way over the top. I wanted to shout, “Enough already!” The book was interesting but also frustrating. Throughout the book Tyrrell refers back to his previous books and I thought the book may have been better categorized as an autobiography with a little history thrown in.

I don’t consider myself either an extreme conservative or an extreme liberal but I fall somewhere in between with a slight leaning to the left. So I didn’t expect to agree with everything Tyrrell had to say. But I emphatically disagree with his beliefs that those labeled liberals or environmentalists are basically socialists. I’m guessing he’d say anyone who doesn’t agree with him and his conservative views is a “flaming liberal!”

But, surprisingly, I do agree with some of his policy ideas such as a flat tax and tax credits for natural gas use. I especially agree with a federal spending cap. And I definitely agree that George W. Bush was “a grave disappointment” although I may have used stronger words to describe my feelings on that subject.

There is too much anger between conservatives and liberals. Is there no happy medium? Can’t we live together? Why must everyone be labeled one or the other? All politicians, conservative or liberal, should stop the back-biting. Maybe if we didn’t have so many career politicians, they would once again serve the people they were chosen to represent instead of just collecting votes for the next election. If Tyrrell, would consider writing such a book, I’d be happy to read it. But after reading After the Hangover, I think I’ll skip any other books by R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.

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