The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan
I insist Barry Goldwater never was defeated on the basis of his philosophy. The opposition, aided and abetted by Republican opponents in the primaries … created a straw man, and what the people really voted against was a false image of a dangerous man. This is, of course, the rhetoric of contemporary politics, albeit framed through a more polite and thoughtful lens.
At the same time, Perlstein lets us see that this is all part of a continuum, in which a corrupt and virulent culture does not wish to see itself as corrupt and virulent. It was supposed to be a skeptical age. But the longing for conservative innocence Ronald Reagan was selling was strong, for those with eyes to see, in all sorts of quarters. For Reagan, short-term loyalty was less important than playing the long game, in which the campaign of might set up and beyond.
Perlstein ends the book just short of the election, with Reagan narrowly losing the nomination — acclaimed by delegates but written off by the politicians and the punditry. There is, in all of this, a certain irony, given our history since. Reagan, of course, was not too old, and his sensibility continues to define American politics on both sides of the aisle. Consider the IMF Treaty, limiting intermediate-range nuclear weapons, which he signed with the Soviets in the last year of his presidency. I think of Barack Obama, accepting his own nomination for president by saying, "[W]e are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on earth.
We now take such pieties for granted; humility and self-reflection have long since fallen by the wayside in our political discourse. About Us.
Brand Publishing. This is a cold dismissal of a moment that is as central to the history of liberalism as of conservatism.
But its effort to open up Congress had a deep history, going back to the s. Immovable committee chairs such as Patman though he was far from the worst were progressive on a few dimensions, but on others—especially civil rights, the only issue that mattered—had posed barriers for decades. Perlstein skips over this context, in this and other instances, simply because, with the exceptions of the Reagan biography and the opening set piece on the POW-MIA scam, his tale relies entirely on the immediacy of the press.
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Mehlman Petrzela on Perlstein, 'The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan'
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Review: 'The Invisible Bridge' spans Nixon-Reagan transition - Los Angeles Times
Aug 1, Topics: history politics elections. While we have you Topics history politics elections. Readers Also Liked.