How is it possible for minorities to rule majorities? An answer can be found by looking at both George Bush’s Republican Party and the Catholic Church.
Bush’s Fringe Government is an inquiry into how extremely conservative fringes in these organizations, although in the minority, have a disproportionate influence on a broad range of issues, and use their influence to govern the majority. By exploring the ways in which the election of Pope Benedict XVI has increased the influence of very conservative Catholics in the Vatican, Garry Wills offers a lucid and striking explanation of the political coalition between Catholics and evangelicals—a partnership that has been instrumental in electing Republicans in the United States and keeping conservative issues in the forefront of American political discourse. As Wills puts it, “How do you govern an apostate nation? When the entire culture is corrupted, the country can only be morally governed in spite of itself. A collection of aggrieved minorities must seize the levers of power in every way possible. One must govern not from a broad consensual center but from activist fringes of morality.”
Juxtaposing Karl Rove and the Bush administration’s political strategy to that of conservatives in the Catholic Church, Wills’s examination of extremist fringe elements is a major piece of political analysis by one of our most highly regarded commentators.