Bell is currently director of the Gold Standard 2012 project for the D.C.-based group, American Principles. He is also a veteran of Vietnam and a political operative who helped shape the campaign ads for Ronald Reagan during the sea-change 1980 election cycle.
In 1986, Bell worked with Democrat Sen. Bill Bradley, and Republican Jack Kemp on passage of President Reagan’s Tax Reform Act.
Can you even imagine such bipartisanship in 2012? I can’t.
Thus, Bell’s decades of service to his country have given him a vantage point few attain.
In his new book, “The Case for Polarized Politics,” he makes the case – brilliantly, in my opinion – that the country needs a re-energizing of social values, as much as political ones. This is a key premise, and one often overlooked even by conservative elites in America.
Bell is not afraid to state that: “The Obama Administration is reeling from the power of social conservatism and the uproar from all sides over his disastrous birth control mandate. Republicans have wisely seized on this as a religious freedom issue that at its root is an affront to individual liberty.”
In other words, Obama and his friends don’t get it. They cannot ignore the vast numbers of Americans who have thoroughly rejected their policies, and, as Bell points out, we are still a people of conservative social values.
Bell says that while much of the Republican leadership (and, by extension, pundits like Glenn Beck) advocate a truce on social issues – because, as they insist, the American people really want the election to be about jobs and the economy – the American people are still very much engaged with social issues! This is a key plank of Bell’s wonderful book, and it also seems obvious, if one actually talks to the people.
Bell brings out a fascinating detail, showing just how clueless our elected leaders seem to be to what’s really on the minds of the citizenry. He says that in 1948, if one were affluent, he or she would vote for Thomas Dewey over Harry Truman. Yet now, it is no longer the case: Voters today tend to identify with the candidate they believe shares similar values and even religious feeling.
This scenario is opposite of what even the Republican “leadership” proposes today. They believe people are still hung-up primarily on the economy, yet voting patterns are telling a different story.
Bell provides the reader with a quite interesting historical background of the conservative movement, going back to Enlightenment days. He then brings us up to speed on the modern events that have affected the conservative movement, and I’d say that these sections are worth the price of the book alone.
Here, I want to say something specifically to the reader: I believe partly through the propaganda of the left, many Americans have bought the lie that some issues are simply too deep to be really deciphered, and we should let our elected officials/change agents deal with the detail. This, however, is the spotlight that Jeffrey Bell’s “The Case for Polarized Politics” shines brightest.
He has been brave enough, and astute enough, to both realize that people need to digest this information and they are smart enough to digest it. For example, he brings clarity to a crucial issue that for some exists in the rarified air of academia … however, it affects us one and all.
I’m talking about the philosophical leanings of the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, which, I can assure you, lifts the curtain on such murky goings-on as Washington politics and even the religious landscape.
I won’t go into detail here, but suffice it to say that Bell’s treatment of Hegel brings us up to the present day – why things are the way they are. I highly recommend Bell’s approach of explanation, and you’ll be the better for reading it.
Bell also superbly explains the deeply significant problem of multiculturalism, which has rocked our nation for decades.
Listen as he explains just one implication: “Some (mainly non-American) advocates of multiculturalism have even raised the possibility of Muslim immigrants maintaining their own Sharia law, separate from the laws of the host nation.”
See how ideas have consequences? Bell understands this completely.
Bell’s examination of a range of events and histories, from Otto von Bismarck’s creation of the entitlement state in late 19th century Germany to the machinations of the Obama administration, are nothing short of breathtaking.
Perhaps not light reading, but these are heavy times, and you would do well to avail yourself of the forceful and elegant “The Case for Polarized Politics.”