Kabaservice, Geoffrey. Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, From Eisenhower to the Tea Party. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

This outstanding history about the decline of the liberal and moderate wings of the Republican Party‎ merits reading by anyone who wishes to understand how this unfortunate change occurred. The book also provides guidance as to how these factions of the Republican Party can be resurrected.


Rule and Ruin was on the list of the New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year in 2012 and has been an invaluable resource in pulling this project together. In his review of Rule and Ruin, Mark Schmitt, the former director of policy for Democratic Senator Bill Bradley and executive editor of the progressive magazine The American Prospect, stated:


“In July of last year [2012], Paul Krugman finally figured out Barack Obama, a man who had vexed and infuriated him since the beginning of Obama’s campaign for the presidency. He is a ‘moderate Republican,’ Krugman declared…But if you read Geoffrey Kabaservice’s book, a history of the moderate and liberal wings of the Republican Party since the 1950’s (and, yes, there were once even two categories of non-conservative Republicans), you might react to Krugman’s revelation by adding, ‘Not that there’s anything wrong with that.’ That was my reaction, even before reading the book. I spent many hours in the 1990’s sitting dutifully behind the dais of the Senate Finance Committee, where four moderate Republicans–John Chafee, David Durenberger, John Danforth, and Bob Packwood–were often far better allies for my liberal Democratic boss than the committee’s Democrats, especially oil-state senators David Boren, Lloyd Bentsen and John Breaux. They could not be called liberals (Danforth was Clarence Thomas’ strongest backer), but they were serious and well-intentioned, and they had a fundamental concern about economic fairness that many conservative Democrats, then and now, not only lacked by instinct but aggressively eschewed.”