Bringing America Home: How America Lost Her Way and How We Can Find Our Way Back.
By Tom Pauken.
Mar. 2010. 208p. Chronicles, $29.95 (9780984370207); paper, $19.95 (9780984370214). 973.
First published March 1, 2010 (Booklist).
As a college freshman, Pauken read Barry Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative, which he quotes admiringly. His book emulates Goldwater’s in a time in which, as they did then, conservative fortunes ebb low. A successful businessman, former Texas Republican Party chairman, and present state commissioner, he’s a more seasoned person now than Goldwater was then, and he writes more thoughtfully and personably than Goldwater (but then, he does it himself; Conscience was ghosted). He believes current conservative woes stem from Reagan’s trusting placement of Bush I and his faction in powerful positions in his administration, from which they rooted out conservatives and installed the erstwhile left-liberal Democrats who had become neoconservatives. The rest is dismal history. Conservatism’s future lies in a program of shrinking centralized government via constitutional checks and balances as well as drastic foreign and domestic policy change. Specifics include fighting radical Islam through alliances and diplomacy rather than military intervention, shifting the basis of federal taxation from income to imports, reasserting local and state control of education, rebuilding manufacturing and its workforce, preferring small business and entrepreneurship over big business (especially the banking-investment cartel), readmitting religion to the public square, and that old conservative mainstay, reducing government spending. A conservative manifesto of the highest caliber—humane, civilized, expressed by an active, living conscience. —Ray Olson