Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party

by Max Blumenthal

Ebook, 2009

Status

Available

Publication

New York : Nation Books, c2009.

Description

An intimate, investigative portrait of how the purveyors of the politics of personal crisis and redemption brought down the GOP--and why they're still calling the shots for the party.

Media reviews

If either [Glenn] Beck or Blumenthal is right about the new populism, then it’s not worth taking seriously.
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Blumenthal is superb at tracing and narrating how the various strands of the theocratic far right came together into a movement that was anti-abortion, anti-gay, often anti-school integration, pro-"traditional values," and, improbably enough, friendly to big business.
As with so many of his enraged brethren, Blumenthal often forgets the forest for the trees, moving from one episode to the next in a plain-spoken narrative that’s a little too shorn of background color or digressions. This is a reporter’s book, not a writer’s book.
Blumenthal does two things that no one else I have read manages to do–the first of these is that he organizes the network... and in the course of tracing these connections, he informs us, or reminds us, of the crimes and misdemeanors these people have committed.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Shrike58
If Blumenthal has one particular insight it is to illustrate the linkages between certain evangelical Christian organizations that have made an industry of exploiting personal crisis, with particular jabs made at James Dobson of Focus on the Family, and how this style has insinuated itself into Republican politics; with corrosive results for the ability of the GOP to offer positive leadership and convincing solutions.

That said I'm not as impressed with Blumenthal as he seems to be with himself, as the level of analysis displayed might be adequate for an article in a magazine, but not for a book-length study, even for what is mostly a polemic. There has been other writing on how psychological distress feeds into political conflict since Erich Fromm. Not to mention that there seems to be little appreciation of the social stresses that lead people to this style of coping. Nor respect for how people may have made their life choices with with clear eyes and not in the throes of irrational crisis. Even if I don't have much use for many of the would be powerbrokers and politicians who pass through these pages, they're mostly treated as little more than bogeymen; that isn't helpful either. It's what you get when you merely concentrate on the most spectacular exemplars of a phenomena.

If Blumenthal had cast his net wider, he might have wondered about factors undermining the norms of modern American society, and how that offers an opening for more extreme forms of politics. Basically healthy societies don't turn to psycho-social messiahs.

Oh yes, I've also found such little pieces of sloppiness such as claiming that Sarah Palin attended five colleges "in Idaho," or calling William Branham, the inspiration behind Gov. Palin's church, Canadian, when the man was apparently from Kentucky; it's hard to tell with the lame citations.
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LibraryThing member Schmerguls
This is a devastating look at the tie-up between the radical religious right and the Protestant ministers therein and the Repulbcan Party. Moderate Republicans are a thing of the past as the far right has captured the Party. Much detail on Tom Delay, Senator Vitter, Mark Foley, and other sleazy Republicans. And on Ted Haggard and his like. Very interesting book.… (more)
LibraryThing member paulrwaibel44
This is an interesting history of how the Religious Right gained control of, and corrupted, the Republican Party. It should be noted that Blumenthal concentrates only on those very visible personalities who have made religion a commercial product and the means of gaining considerable power and influence in contemporary America. He does not mention any of the Christians who are living out a biblical model of Christianity. A similar book could have been written about the Democratic Party and how the Radical Left has corrupted it. In that case secular humanists would be the villains.… (more)
LibraryThing member jefware
I think Mr Blumenthal spends too much time baiting the Xtians, but what they say and do is disturbing. They drip with pure evil by claiming that the ends justifies the means, denying the good in people and advocating that God will harm others if you pray enough. Book is well researched and documented.
LibraryThing member Judiex
We live in scary times. The extreme conservatives are afraid everyone who doesn't agree with them is a traitor going to destroy this country through tolerating more individual freedoms, such as divorce, abortion, homosexuality, and premarital sex. (At the same time many are looking forward to the apocalypse to carry the believers to Heaven while everyone else burns in Hell.)
The liberals are afraid that the Christian Right Wing is taking over the USA and that the individual freedoms which had been fought for then taken for granted here are going to be taken away.
REPUBLICAN GOMORRAH INSIDE THE MOVEMENT THAT SHATTERED THE PARTY by Max Blumenthal discusses those fears. It examines how the extreme right wing had gained control of the Republican party and has pushed its views into government by backing, with money and votes, candidates who agree with its positions.
He writes about people such as James Dobson who have a crippling hold on his adherents and uses it to coerce elected officials to carry out its demands. Its success is obvious by the number of conservative judges and justices appointed to federal benches and the candidates running for elected office.
The group (it refers to itself as the Family), requires everyone to adhere to its rules beginning with being "born again." Serial killers Ted Bundy and David Berkowitz were accepted because they confessed and showed remorse. (Those confessions were also sold to make money for Dobson.) Among elected officials, those who broke their marriage vows via affairs and/or prostitutes or told their wives they were divorcing them via telephone while the wives were hospitalized are acceptable if they repent. Anyone suspected of being a homosexual was OUT!!! The book tells how the movement became so popular and provides possible reasons for the mindsets of the leaders and followers. Many of the leaders were severely abused when they were children.
They have forced candidates to obey them backing their demands with the strength of money and voters.. Mitt Romney's altered positions from his days of Governership is one example; John McCain's accepting Sarah Palin to be the vice presidential candidate on his ticket is another.
Despite their emphasis on purity, the states with the highest number of extreme conservative voters and supporters are also the states with the highest divorce rates, number of teenage pregnancies, number of sexually transmitted diseases, and youngest ages for the first sexual experiences.
To understand how this group is trying to turn the USA into a theocracy and what that means to them, read the book.
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LibraryThing member Narboink
Political analysis that is both accurate and flippant has a limited shelf-life, and reading this book is like taking a long, painful, irritating trip down memory lane. I recommend it unreservedly to anyone who has the stomach to spend a few uninterrupted hours reading about the phenomenon of closeted gay Republicans and the back-room deals of huckster televangelists.

The book has some clear strengths. It provides some juicy gossip and is a quick, easy read. Max Blumenthal's views on GOP politics are represented without obfuscation or adornment. Max Blumenthal's psychological assessment of the link between homoeroticism and authoritarianism are unambiguously laid bare (ba da bing!). There is also a good amount of guerrilla journalism on display here; Blumenthal has put in significant time amongst the foot soldiers of the Republican grassroots. The drawbacks? The book relies heavily on front page scandals and obvious trends without factoring in oppositional positions or long-term historical analysis. Even casual political junkies won't be surprised by much on these pages.

All that considered, it's still a well-written polemic. Blumenthal isn't an Ann Coulter of the left (not even close); he largely eschews snotty asides and clever twists of logic. Instead, he barrels ahead with raw data and cogent argument. The narrative, however, is unmistakably determined by the worst aspects of conservative politics.
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