Douthat and Salam’s GNP was reviewed in the Times yesterday. One passage surprised me a bit. Norman Ornstein writes:
Had Obama read this book before his now-famous “cling to guns and religion” comments, he might have phrased his analysis — which is not out of sync with that of the book — differently.
The first part may be entirely right. The second part, I’m not so sure (at least from what I’ve read of the book so far, as well as other commentary). Ornstein’s views of Obama’s “cling to guns and religion” comments may not be too far out of sync with Obama’s, but I was under the impression that the GNP thesis was somewhat different. Again, I haven’t finished the book, but I thought that social conservatism was actually a rational strategic response to economic uncertainty insofar as traditional values help protect you from the gales of globalization etc. Obama’s thesis is almost the reverse: these silly sky god worshippers need to to let go of their silly boomsticks and hatred of f’ererners and grab hold of the enlightened life raft of big government instead. Maybe Douthat or Salam can set me — or Ornstein — straight here.