Laura Kalman

Laura Kalmanis professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her most recent book is Right Star Rising: A New Politics, 1974-1980.

Recent Articles

Why the Winners Lost

In the rise of the right, culture and economics have always gone hand in hand.

Richard Nixon, Republican candidate for president, in August 1968, location unknown (AP Photo)
No Right Turn: Conservative Politics in a Liberal America , By David T. Courtwright, Harvard University Press, 337 pages, $29.95 "You have to give the nuts 20 percent of what they want," President Richard Nixon once said of conservatives, according to his aide Patrick Buchanan. And that is what the GOP proceeded to do for the next 40 years after Nixon's election, David Courtwright maintains in No Right Turn , a lively and quirky new history of "the long national struggle over morality" between 1968 and 2008. According to Courtwright, Republican presidents of the past four decades practiced a politics of "bait and switch." As candidates, Republicans condemned liberal permissiveness and the nanny state, but they "could not govern as reactionaries," because of "corporate interests, boomer lifestyle preferences, middle-class and retiree entitlement expectations, and secular media." So Republican presidents threw crumbs to the base by attacking crime, drug use, and welfare dependency but...