For those that believe the GOP has only recently taken a hard right turn, Professor Corey Robin says, “nonsense.” Conservatives from the beginning knew they needed to be “ideological, zealous, fanatical,” in order to counter democratic movements, Robin said in an interview with Lean Forward.
Instead, the “Paul Ryans” of the GOP are “reading from a very old playbook,” he said.
Robin is an associate professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center. He sat down with Lean Forward's Ned Resnikoff on the eve of the Republican National Convention to discuss his new book The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin.
The book argues that conservatism is a radical, transformative movement which exists to maintain private hierarchies— i.e., the family unit and the workplace— at all costs. That focus on the private realm is what has led today’s current Republican Party to hone in on the issues of reproductive rights and abortion, as well as unions and labor rights, Robin explained. Resnikoff also asked Robin why he thinks conservatives have been successful in turning the Democrats— not the Republicans— into the real party of austerity.
Tax issues, of course, remain central to conservatives and Robin suggested that a Romney administration would likely tackle this first.
Watch the interview, part of Lean Forward’s Read Forward series, above.