by George F. Will ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 16, 1987
Behind the misleading title, which suggests a practical who's-who and what's-what scorecard that isn't here, are two snappy, broad-ranging pep talks--one for Republicans needing to leave the shadow of Reagan, and one for Democrats needing to leave the shadow of defeat. Popular, politically conservative columnist Will (The Morning After, 1986; Statecraft as Soulcraft, 1983) rates Reagan as one of the century's five ""permeating presidents"" who dominated public life. Unlike Ike. the last GOP titan, Reagan has been an ardent party builder; Republicans may have a long run as our ""natural"" party. Their challenge is to face down the Soviets and to resolve the one Reagan curse, the budget deficit. Alas, Will paddles these bad boys, the Soviets and the deficit, with more fervor than original insight. His best ideas come by way of popularizing the work of political-science theorists and analysts on such topics as Reagan's ""New Deal Conservatism"" or ""New Collar"" voters (budget Yuppies). Will first shoves the Democrats through a propeller blade of statistics on their recent, sorry runs for the White House, then advises a return to Cold War Liberalism and a ""no"" to affirmative action politics. Then come some flakier attacks on the Democrats for having an adolescent preoccupation with the ""F-word: fairness"" and a ""High Peculiarity Quotient."" Will's best habits are also his worst: a love affair with great quotations, even when they don't quite apply; a hyperclever style that sometimes masks a simplistic argument; eclectic beliefs that insure he's not a factory-stamped conservative but which seem contradictory at times. Still, he can't write a dull or unprovocative page, and this enthusiastic send-off may be just what the current race of no-names (and Bush) needs.
Pub Date: Nov. 16, 1987
Page Count: -
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1987
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