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Fighting the Good Fight: A History of the New York Conservative Party [Hardcover]

By George J. Marlin & Richard Brookhiser (Introduction by)
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Item Number 438257  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   419
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.46" Width: 6.9" Height: 1.28"
Weight:   2.15 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 4, 2002
Publisher   St. Augustine's Press
ISBN  1587312514  
EAN  9781587312519  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The story of New York's feisty Conservative Party is really the saga of America's tumultuous political maturity. Born in response to the rise of Nelson Rockefeller's liberal Republicanism, the New York's Conservative Party has grown to become the nation's most successful third party. It has also turned out to be its political conscience.

The Conservative Party's founders understood that their mission was primarily to keep the Republicans honest; to ensure that there was room in New York's GOP for conservatives and conservatism. They knew this meant that some Republican candidates who sought the Conservative endorsement might flourish and others who shunned it might founder, and this is exactly what happened. But throughout its forty-year history, the Party has stuck to its principles as much as it has played politics.

In vivid and often amusing detail, Mr. Marlin gives us an insider's view of:

*The derailing of Rockefeller's presidential freight train.

*William F. Buckley Jr.'s race for mayor of New York City in 1965.

*The Conservative Party's battles with John Lindsay in the late Sixties.

*The senatorial victory of Conservative James Buckley in 1970.

*The Conservative response to New York City's fiscal crisis.

*The Party's love-hate relationship with Rudy Giuliani. Fighting the Good Fight confirms Ronald Reagan's observation that "The Conservative Party has established itself as a preeminent force in New York politics and an important part of our political history."

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George Marlin has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton
  2. Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton

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Conservatively Speaking....A Great Read  Sep 15, 2004
"Fighting The Good Fight: A History of the New York Conservative Party" is an outstanding account of the New York State Conservative Party which was founded in 1962 as a counterpart to the decades-old Liberal Party. The book is written by George Marlin, a long-time player in Republican Party and Conservative Party circles in New York. Marlin ran for mayor of New York City on the Conservative Party line in 1993 when Rudy Giuliani defeated David Dinkins (he got 1% of the vote).

In New York State, cross-party endorsements are permitted in tabulating election returns: this enables candidates from the two major parties to accumulate additional votes on smaller party lines. This gives parties like the Conservative Party important leverage, since their philosophical strengths can be translated into votes on Election Day that can reward or punish politicians (usually Republican) who veer too far off course. The New York State Conservative Party also holds the distinction of electing one of its own, James Buckley (William's F.'s brother), to the United States Senate in 1970, defeating both the Republican and Democratic nominees in a three-way race. Prior to the formation of the Conservative Party in 1962, both the Democrats AND Republicans running statewide and locally courted the Liberal Party line and endorsement. It was this influence on the GOP by the state Liberal Party and New York's liberal establishment that so infuriated local conservatives, who were fed up with the big spending policies of Nelson Rockefeller and later, John Lindsay.

Marlin's book is a fascinating grassroots look at the Conservative Party from an individual who was one of the young foot soldiers in the late 1960's (you can read about Marlin literally getting "roughed up" while working on William F. Buckley's campaign to unseat Mayor John Lindsay in 1965). The book has meticulous detail and recollection of specific events, times, and places. Marlin liberally (!) quotes from many Conservative Party veterans and current members, including Mike Long, the current chairman of the party. The result is an in-depth look not only at the building and evolution of a small band of committed, principled individuals looking to "make their mark" but also a very good historical review of New York State politics from the 1950's onward.

Marlin's background as an investment banker and finance professional is clearly evident when discussing the many budgetary gimmicks and debt-accumulating policies that both New York City and New York State have engaged in these many decades. Whereas New York City had its baptism of fire in the fiscal crisis of 1975, the state government -- with larger resources (read: tax revenues) at its command -- has been able to delay and postpone the day of reckoning. Judging by the recent political fiscal mismanagement up in Albany, it appears that New York State -- like California in 2003 -- may finally be about hit the brick wall like her largest city did three decades earlier.

"Fighting The Good Fight" excels in a way that other books on the conservative movement do not. Marlin spends less time discussing philosophy and the national conservative movement than he does in paying attention to the Little Guys (and Gals) who made the New York State Conservative Party what it is today. In every chapter it seems like Marlin has gone out of his way to mention some loyal party volunteers who ran for office to keep the Conservative line active in some off-year elections, or volunteers who spent long hours working on nominating petitions, or locals who lent the party funds to meet expenses. Unlike the state Liberal Party, which could count on well-heeled financial and political elites to generously drop money into their lap, the Conservative Party had to rely mostly on small contributions from many people at the grassroots. Only in later years did the Conservative Party have any benefactors of any great social or financial standing, and even then they paled in comparison to the resources that their opponents could bank on.

Along with "Actions Speak Louder" by J. Daniel Mahoney (one of the 1962 founders of the New York State Conservative Party) and "The Unmaking Of A Mayor" by William F. Buckley, this is one of the must-read books in the trilogy of New York State conservative politics. Those books are important, but since they stop in the 1960's, to get a multi-decade look at the Conservative Party and New York State politics, "Fighting The Good Fight" is essential reading. If you are not a Republican or conservative, it will still offer an interesting and fascinating look at decades of New York State politics, and in particular, the fiscal follies and budget gimmicks that have plagued New York (both the city and state).

In 1962, when the Conservative Party was formed, New York State had the largest population in the country. It had the largest electoral base for presidential elections. Ten years later, California surpassed New York in population. Today, Texas and Florida have surpassed New York, which is down to 4th overall in the rankings. The loss of power and prestige for a state whose population has not grown at all in four decades is frightening. If New York City and New York State are to reverse the voting done by citizen's feet, they would do well to listen to the political prescriptions offered by George Marlin and the New York State Conservative Party.
Window on New York Politics over 40 Years  Sep 28, 2002
While this new work has obvious resonance for persons of a Conservative political persusion, its appeal should transcend the National Review readership.

George Marlin -- best known as the Conservative alternative to Giuliani and Dinkins in 1993 -- presents a fascinating chronicle of the unexpected rise of the Conservative movement in one of the nation's most avowedly liberal states. In the process, he provides an engaging -- albeit uni-dimensional -- history of New York politics over the past 40 years.

Marlin's book -- in concert with other political works on the period -- will help future generations to understand Conservatives' formidable electoral clout in the second half of the 20th Century, even in formerly liberal, urban bastions in the Northeast. A standout work in this genre is Samuel G. Freeman's "The Inheritance," published about six years ago (though regrettably out of print the last time I checked).

I did downgrade Marlin's book by one notch because of a higher-than-acceptable quotient of typographical errors, especially disappointing for a Christian Brothers-educated scholar. (Full disclosure: Marlin and I share a college alma mater.)


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