The Elephant in the Room SAGER, Ryan Evangelicals, Libertarians, and the Battle to Control the Republican Party

If the Republican Party is no longer the party of Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, small government, or fiscal restraint, then what is it? And what s a self respecting, less government, fiscally conservative voter supposed to do? Has the GOP lost its mind?

Yes, says author and rising star New York Post columnist Ryan Sager in the surprising new book, The Elephant in the Room. Outspoken and fed up, Sager, a conservative and a libertarian, foresees major upheaval ahead for the Republican Party. As the long marriage of convenience between the social conservatives (a.k.a., the Religious Right), primarily in the South, and the small government conservatives (a.k.a., libertarians), primarily in the West, is unraveling and the coalition that has put and kept the Republican Party in power faces disaster, the possibility of a Democratic resurgence is on the horizon.

Not only would?infighting cripple the GOP, but the people ready to jump ship control much of the campaign cash (on Wall Street and elsewhere) and crucial swing votes (in "leave?us alone" states such as Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Montana). As the nation s population and electoral map shift South and West, the current Republican Party increasingly favors Southern values (religion, morality, tradition) over Western ones (freedom, independence, privacy). The result? The party is in danger of losing its Western base.

Provocative, and by turns hilarious and sobering, the book deftly traces the rocky and colorful path the Republican Party has taken to bring it to its present, precarious position. Sager saves his sharpest arrows for the current administration—flag bearers of "big government conservatism," which Sager interprets to mean that free spending big government is not so bad, so long as it s Republicans doing the spending and intruding into the lives of Americans, instead of Democrats. In short, Sager says the GOP has adopted the political philosophy that anything goes so long as we stay.

All hope is not lost, however, and in The Elephant in the Room Sager offers a way out of the mangled mess. He calls it a renewal of fusionism, a better blend between liberty and tradition, freedom and responsibility; one that emphasizes small government instead of Republican controlled government, morality instead of moralism, and principles instead of politics.

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