David T. Courtwright


On his book No Right Turn: Conservative Politics in a Liberal America

Cover Interview of October 31, 2010


No Right Turn is a historical critique of conservative politics—not an attack on conservative values.

I have nothing against sound budgets, safe streets, and stable families, the best safeguard of children’s welfare.  I suspect that many battle-hardened conservatives (and, for that matter, liberals) share my belief that Republican politicians from Nixon on have used conservatism more as a means to power than a blueprint for governing.

I was struck, when I interviewed the likes of Randall Terry and Paul Weyrich, by how much they sounded like George McGovern or Michael Dukakis on the subject of GOP dissembling—and not just on moral issues like abortion.

Conservative anger over bait-and-switch tactics, which reached a boil during George W. Bush’s second term, has again become an important force in American politics.  Though the book ends with Barack Obama’s 2008 election, it serves as a prologue for the Tea Party, which is as much inspired by the contemporary politics of betrayal and predation as by the idealized golden-age politics of the Founding Fathers.

© 2010 David Courtwright