The Skimmer

Book Review: The Death of Conservatism by Sam Tanenhaus

The Death of Conservatism

By Sam Tanenhaus; Random House; 123 pages

Burke. Buckley. Limbaugh? Modern conservatism has decayed from the positive, pragmatic force its founders envisioned into a bitter resistance movement that's given up on fresh ideas, argues Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the New York Times Book Review. While Richard Nixon backed national health insurance and Ronald Reagan tempered his muscular rhetoric with political flexibility, today's dominant conservatives are little more than "inverse Marxists," clenching an outdated dogma that would sooner see government destroyed than saved. The result is a shrinking movement inhabiting a "fringe orbit" irrelevant to the needs of...