You don’t have to regularly read orgtheory (as I do, despite my disdain for sociology) to like Fabio Rojas’ elucidation of the dominant faction in the GOP since the 50s. It’s message of continuity goes against the conventional wisdom of Bush Sr’s “realists” being sidelined under Bush Jr. I’d also add that I thought Nixon was considered part of the liberal “Rockefeller” wing of the party in the 50s. You might object that he was a McCarthyite, but before he became famous Tailgunner Joe was also considered a liberal Republican (he held the progressive Fightin’ Bob LaFollette’s seat, right?). Marcus Epstein discusses Murray Rothbard’s evolving take on McCarthyism here. The American conservative has previously detailed the damage the Nixon years, and how the GOP came to define itself in opposition to McGovern & McCarthy. Daniel Larison in The Week noted that the “national security” wing of Mitt Romney’s conservative “stool” has done the most to damage the party yet has borne the least damage to its reputation. Finally, in Our Enemy the President Daniel McCarthy discusses how Willmoore Kendall & James Burnham’s distrust for the power of the executive branch relative to Congress lost our to their National Review colleague Jeffrey Hart’s view (more antagonistic to the Fourth Estate and permanent bureaucracy), formed during the Watergate era.
I’m embarrassed I have to give a hat-tip to Wilkinson. I usually do check orgtheory daily, but I was slow on the draw today.