The Who’s raucous We Won’t Get Fooled Again is a cynical song about the nature of revolution. When asked about it, guitarist Pete Townsend once said, “It is not precisely a song that decries revolution … but that revolution, like all action, can have results we cannot predict. The song was meant to let politicians and revolutionaries alike know that what lay in the center of my life was not for sale and could not be co-opted into any obvious cause.”
When it comes to conservative politics, these statements hold true for Steve Deace and Gregg Jackson, political commentators and co-authors of We Won’t Get Fooled Again: Where the Christian Right Went Wrong and How to Make America Right Again. This book casts a withering eye on how leaders of the Christian Right are letting down their followers. It also shows that they are not alone in how they feel.
Deace and Jackson open their book by looking at the state of the conservative agenda—why are issues like the sanctity of marriage, reducing big government, and others sliding to the left? It’s not just the fault of RINO (Republican in Name Only) politicians, who cast aside conservative values once elections are won. Deace and Jackson make it clear that they want a referendum on decisions made by all leaders of the Christian Right, too. They write, “We, the authors of this book, believe this level of accountability is absolutely Biblical, and frankly way overdue.”
From there, Deace and Jackson profile conservative personalities, such as Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Bob Enyart of the Colorado Right to Life, and Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, some of whom share their frustration with the movement. Each profile is assembled from interviews, e-mails, and other communications that the authors have had with that person. The book then outlines what conservative Christians need to do next.
If you side with the Christian Right, you may be taken aback by what Deace and Jackson have to say. At the same time, you may find yourself cringing but agreeing. Deace and Jackson want to remind everyone what they’re working against. They write that “what ailed America was not too many liberals … America’s major problem is not political, but spiritual.”
In some ways, Deace and Jackson’s book feels like they cut and pasted content. The interviews read like responses pulled from their syndicated radio show transcripts. Still, there are times when this organization works well: the chapter that profiles Ann Coulter makes use of her own quotes as well as e-mails to the authors, in order to show her true agenda.
Nonetheless, in an age where many conservative commentators simply boil down their arguments to “It’s their fault; we’re right and they’re wrong,” Deace and Jackson are brave enough to admit that the movement—and even their own work in it—is going in the wrong direction.
Anyone with an interest in today’s politics may find We Won’t Get Fooled Again an interesting read that is well researched. And as an election looms, following Deace and Jackson’s points is one way to make sure that the potential new boss is truly different from the old boss.