The American Spectator
Conservatives Inside Out: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, A Personal Report by Newt Gingrich, HarperCollins / 229 pages / $25
The Freshmen: What Happened to the Republican Revolution? by Linda Killian, Westview / 463 pages / $28
The great national political story of the century’s closing decades is the collision of conservative ideology and political reality–that is, what happens when conservatism tries to govern. The answer has been unfolding since the election in November 1994 of a Republican Congress that, notwithstanding a Democrat in the White House, promised a “Revolution” in Washington. Almost four years later, with the GOP still in power on Capitol Hill and that same president coasting at his highest approval ratings ever, many ideological conservatives deem the result a disaster–and blame it on the failure of elected officials to fight for their principles. Most Republican officeholders, on the other hand, don’t consider themselves any less conservative now than in the exuberance of 1995; they claim incremental success in the face of extraordinary opposition and ask for patience.