THE PRODIGAL SOUTH RETURNS TO POWER by Harry S. Dent

THE PRODIGAL SOUTH RETURNS TO POWER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

It might seem that Gerald Ford's Southern campaign chief is the last person who should be sharing his wisdom about the ""new South,"" but South Carolinaborn Dent believes in drawing lessons from defeats. After Goldwater was battered in the 1964 election, Dent, his supporter, began to work within the Republican Party for a ""Southern strategy"" oriented toward prying conservatives loose from the Democrats. This self-serving book is the story of the rise of Harry S. Dent, protegè of Strom Thurmond, to the office of Special Counsel to Richard Nixon (where, like everyone else, he was solely concerned with party politics). It reads as if it came straight out of a dictaphone and has the intellectual depth to match. Dent ascribes the 1972 Nixon landslide to White House strategy rather than to the more obvious fear of George McGovern, who won only one state (did the Republicans have a ""Northeast strategy""?). As Henry Fairlie persuasively argues (in The Parties, p. 77), the Republican hopes for a new Southern power base are founded on fallacious statistical interpretations of Southern interests. But Dent simply accepts the statistics, since his real concern is to give a back-room account of Republican strategy sessions, starring himself. His advice for the Republican future is disarmingly simple: go after some of the Southern black vote--which went to Carter in '76, according to Dent, because Carter is a Southerner. Blinkered and banal.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1978
Publisher: Wiley