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The Last Liberal Republican: An Insider's Perspective on Nixon's Surprising Social Policy, John Roy Price

Reviewed by Michael A. Genovese

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There was a time when Democrats and Republicans actually broke bread together, when friendships and bridge building across the aisle sometimes occurred. But beginning in the 1960s with the passage of the civil rights bill and other Great Society legislation, the parties began to divide more clearly along ideological lines. Other events, such as the Barry Goldwater campaign in 1964, the rise of Ronald Reagan, and the triumph of Newt Gingrich, pulled the Republican Party to the right, then to the hard right; it was not long before the Democrats started to drift left. Comity gave way to the politics of personal destruction, and political competition degenerated into open warfare.

The Last Liberal Republican takes us back to the pre-warfare era of partisan politics, to an age when ideological crossovers in both parties occasionally produced bipartisan cooperation. In this fine book, John Roy Price (not to be confused with Ray Price, longtime Nixon partisan and speechwriter) gives us an “inside baseball” look at the inner workings of Richard Nixon's White House and the development of domestic policy. Price argues that President Nixon was more liberal in domestic policy than is commonly agreed, and that the Nixon presidency marks the end of one era and the beginning of another. While this was no golden age of cooperation between the parties,

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