"In no other country,"Economist reporters [John Micklethwait] and Adrian Wooldridge write in "The Right Nation," "is the Right defined so much by values rather than class." With the values of the heartland apparently aligned so resolutely with those of the Republican Party, Micklethwait and Wooldridge sense conservatives are not only ascendant, but likely to stay on top. In their able tour of the many components of this Republican risorgimento - its history, leaders, foot soldiers and intellectuals - they present, more or less, the conservative movement's preferred narrative of its own rise. In this version of events, the Democratic Party has veered dangerously leftward - a dubious assertion they justify using scorecards on congressional voting tallied by the American Conservative Union - leaving the Republicans in sole contact with the core values of most Americans.
It is a common enough observation that the money wing and the church wing of the Republican Party are not always in agreement; indeed, Micklethwait and Wooldridge cite "a battle between business conservatives and social conservatives" alongside the "logical contradiction [in] trying to be the party of both the free market and the heartland." But the genius of the backlash, as [Thomas Frank] articulates it, is to paper over this fissure, to harvest from an unending litany of cultural complaints - against activist judges, "tenured radicals," un-Christian artwork - a bottomless reservoir of support for pro-business Republicans. Frank quotes one rural Pennsylvanian explaining his own vote for Bush in 2000: "'Rural America is [angry] ... These people are tired of moral decay. They're tired of everything being wonderful on Wall Street and terrible on Main Street.' Let me repeat that: They're voting Republican in order to get even with Wall Street."