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Arts

Focusing on the Tea Party

1.9.12

As New Hampshire voters made ready to cast their ballots in 2012’s first presidential primary, the New York Times published a review of The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism (Oxford University Press)—a new book by Thomas professor of government and sociology Theda Skocpol and graduate student Vanessa Williamson offering one of the first comprehensive, empirical analyses of the political phenomenon that has already helped shape the GOP’s bid to regain the White House and U.S. Senate.

Times reviewer Timothy Noah ’80, a senior editor at the New Republic and former Undergraduate columnist for this magazine, praises Skocpol and Williamson for an “exceptionally informative” work that elucidates important differences between the Tea Party and a previous high tide of Republican conservatism—the Goldwater presidential campaign of 1964—and clarifies the complexities within the Tea Party movement itself. For more on that topic, and on the research that Skocpol and Williamson did for their book, see “Tea Party Passions” in the current issue of Harvard Magazine.

Noah’s article also covers a new book by Geoffrey Kabaservice, G ’97, Rule and Ruin—The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party: From Eisenhower to the Tea Party (Oxford), which Noah calls a “wonderfully detailed new history of moderate Republicanism.” (Kabaservice’s previous work, The Guardians: Kingman Brewster, His Circle, and the Rise of the Liberal Establishment, was nominated for the National Book Award.)  The double review shares the front page of the Times’s Sunday section with a lively review by Michael Kinsley ’72, J.D. ’77, another former Undergraduate columnist, of Thomas Frank’s Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right (Metropolitan/Henry Holt). Kinsley is now a columnist for Bloomberg View.

 

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SKALA SIKAMINEAS, LESBOS, GREECE

Refugees from Syria rest on the coast of the Greek island of Lesbos. Thousands of refugees cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey in rubber boats every day, fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

A Syrian refugee who came to Lesbos that week by one of many boats told me his new life had just started. “New life as a human being,” he added. 

     I hope he will not question this emotional sentence on the long way to a new home even though there are signs from the first seconds of their arrival that the refugees didn’t land in a paradise. 

     Every boat that comes to the island is greeted by two groups. There are dedicated volunteers who work in shifts during day and night to help refugees in their first hours in Europe—and then there are also groups of   “engine hunters,” as they are called here. Very often they come first. They only care for the boat. The engines are removed before the last person is taken care of. Business is business.

     It was a long week full of almost surreal scenes…

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Refugees from Syria rest on the coast of the Greek island of Lesbos. Thousands of refugees cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey in rubber boats every day, fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

A Syrian refugee who came to Lesbos that week by one of many boats told me his new life had just started. “New life as a human being,” he added. 

     I hope he will not question this emotional sentence on the long way to a new home even though there are signs from the first seconds of their arrival that the refugees didn’t land in a paradise. 

     Every boat that comes to the island is greeted by two groups. There are dedicated volunteers who work in shifts during day and night to help refugees in their first hours in Europe—and then there are also groups of   “engine hunters,” as they are called here. Very often they come first. They only care for the boat. The engines are removed before the last person is taken care of. Business is business.

     It was a long week full of almost surreal scenes…

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