Ross Douthat’s “Grand New Party”

A little while back, I had the privilege of interviewing Ross Douthat about the book he co-authored with Reihan Salam, Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.

Now, I don’t agree with everything that Ross Douthat advocates in the book, but I do think it’s important to talk about how the conservative movement and the GOP are going to get back in the groove again — and that’s what Ross’ book does.

Here’s a short publisher’s weekly review of Ross’s book from Amazon to give you a better idea of what the book is all about,

Coauthored by Atlantic Monthly writers Douthat and Salam, this book (like David Frum’s Comeback) is part of a movement to reconstruct the Republican Party’s core principles and reinvigorate the conservative electorate. The authors’ strategy is to win back the working class through a combination of prudent government intervention and entrepreneurship. Relying on a bevy of sociological analysis, class scrutiny and historicism–a style resembling New York Times columnist David Brooks’s, but stripped of his literary flair–Douthat and Salam take a nuts-and-bolts approach, perhaps because their book is prescriptive rather than observational, policy advocacy not entertainment. Whether or not readers will agree with the tenor of their arguments, rarely have moderate conservative ideas been so intelligently streamlined and so self-consciously pruned of conservatism’s hairier iterations. The real holes in the text are the lack of cogent discussions on immigration and the war against radical Islam–the very issues currently shaping working-class politics in America. Nevertheless, this book is stuffed with fresh and brilliant ideas and presents a solid domestic conservative agenda to win over blue-collar workers. (July)

Now, as you might guess by the fact that you haven’t seen an interview yet, there was an issue.

You see, after having a recorder problem once while interviewing Steven Milloy, I have always used two tape recorders to make sure that I don’t lose another interview.

However, there was one possibility I did not consider. You see, I stuck batteries in both tape recorders at the same time and it never occurred to me that they might both run down simultaneously.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened when I interviewed Ross. At a certain point, one of the recorders kept rolling but stopped recording. The other did record, but the quality was so poor that it was largely indecipherable.

Because of that, I couldn’t post the interview for you, but I did at least want to do a nice plug for Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.

So, if you’re looking for some new thinking on how the GOP can change things around, this book may be exactly what you want to read.

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