Stuart Stevens lays out his premise in the first 30 pages of the book. Unfortunately, his hypothesis is not at all compelling, and is interrupted by jumps in time and place and person that make even the most fervent admirer of the author confused and hungry for substantiation.
I would not have bought this political confession if it weren’t for Rick Steves pushing it so mightily on MSNBC. I hoped for juiciness by association, piercing explanations that uncovered backdoor machinations. I wanted a good read.
Alas. Never trust a Republican, even one who’s fallen away from the party, to tell the complete truth or give an accurate review. And never assume a book published by Knopf will contain coherent, readable, even entertaining material. It just ain’t so.
I’m on page 31 and having read a quickie overview that mixes Wallace with Reagan and Rockefeller and Nixon and Goldwater, I am no more enlightened than had I never opened the book. The language is tiresome and awkward.
The author’s back cover blurb professes “enormous sorrow and some personal shame” over his participation as a GOP campaign advisor. This is like Comey saying he was “mildly sickened” at his fatal interference in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
Stuart Stevens’ sorrow and shame is just a tease. It’s all about promotion. Cashing in on the former-Republican craze, the Lincoln Project popularity.
There’s no confession. And thus far, no insider revelations.
In dissecting the demise of the GOP, Stevens fails with a couple of false moral equivalencies. For example, he equates the secret rendezvous of Gay legislators with Trump’s amoral and apparently criminal conduct around women. He demeans sex workers and ignores the pimps. Stevens is off key and out of century. As the song goes: “he totally missed the point.” Most folks don’t care whether you are gay and oh by the way, prostitution is legal in Reno. He is comparing apples with rotten oranges. But he’s got to get that book out while the goings good.
I’ve read John Dean’s Conservatives Without Conscience and if anyone forecasted the downfall of the Republican party and the ascendancy of Trump it was John Dean, not Stuart Stevens.
Do yourself a favor and pick-up Dean’s prophetic expose for an in-depth preview of the authoritarian takeover of the GOP by the current occupant of the White House.