Crisis of Conservatism? assesses the status of American conservatism-its politics, its allies in the Republican Party, and the struggle for the soul of the conservative movement that became especially acute with the controversial policies of the Bush administration and Republican losses in the 2006 and 2008 elections. What do different types of conservatives believe? How much do they have in common? How strong is the conservative movement in the United States, and what impact does it have on the Republican Party? Can conservatives and Republicans find in opposition a unity which had shattered as a result of being in power? To what degree do conservative ideas represent the mainstream of political beliefs in the United States? In short, is there the crisis of conservatism that some thought apparent as a result of the administration of George W. Bush? The book's contributors, a broad array of leading scholars of conservatism, identify a range of tensions in the conservative movement and the Republican Party, tensions over what conservatism is and should be, over what conservatives should do when in power, and over how conservatives should govern.
Views differ a great deal, both between the public and conservative elite groups and among conservative elites themselves. This is balanced by the tendency of many in the general public to identify themselves as conservatives and by the vibrant intellectual life and vitality of conservative elites. In brief, Crisis of Conservatism? analyzes a conservative movement that seemed to be in crisis in the wake of the 2008 election and that remains beset by many problems and divisions but has fundamental strengths, both in the underlying proclivity of much of the American public to see itself as conservative and in the passion of conservative activists.