Book Critic Quote of the Week

Paul Waldman on the memoirs by various GOP presidential candidates:

Though the books range in tone from the venomous (Gingrich’s) to the hokey (Huckabee’s), they converge on common themes and ideas, ones that define the conservatism of the moment. Ronald Reagan was perfect in every way. Bill Clinton did not exist (Gingrich has a section on “The 25-Year Reagan Boom”), and George W. Bush barely did either; neither one merits more than a passing mention. If we aren’t careful, we’ll turn into Europe, a nightmarish place consisting solely of the country of Greece (“That will be America soon,” Pawlenty’s 13-year-old daughter tells him “with simplicity and clarity” while discussing an article about riots there). Those who believe in God are an oppressed group in America (“People of faith have been systematically marginalized,” Gingrich writes, by a “secular campaign waged by the cultural elite”). There are two kinds of people in America: the hard-working and virtuous and those who have become slaves to government (the nightmare of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, Palin explains, was caused by “a population of Americans dependent on government and incapacitated by the destruction of the American family”). Change is threatening, and when I was a kid, things made a lot more sense.

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