The first thing that I learned about Margaret Hoover is that she is the great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover (I loved his dam). She spent the first part of the book trying to edit the image many of us were taught about his legacy as president. She made a nice effort and provided an endearing look at his life. American Individualism, however, was really about “how a new generation of conservatives can save the Republican Party” and that was the part that interested me.
She introduced me to a new generation, The Millennials, who were born between 1980 and 1999, and of whom I am a parent to three, are the newest and perhaps powerful voting block;
“Millennials are the most ethnically diverse, nonwhite generation in American history. They are the most socially liberal. A sound majority of them believes that homosexuality should be accepted by society. They are highly urban and suburban, not small-town or rural. They are worldly, and not necessarily besotted with the idea of American exceptionalism.
Hoover paints an interesting picture of this group both positive and negative. I don’t agree with some of her assertions like when she says that they “volunteer in droves and are highly civic minded.” I don’t deny that they volunteer, but she ignores the fact that many if not all schools require a minimum amount of community service to graduate. Our school district also requires this of middle school students. I would be interested is seeing how much is done when they don’t have to do it.
Hoover provides a prescription for modifying Republican stances on many issues like education reform, feminism, choice, immigration, and she even tackled Islam. She probably hit home as there were a few times when I was rather cross with some of her assertions. I do whole-heartedly agree that the Republican party needs to back off of the social issues. The social issues are, in my mind, extraneous when we have such dire economic issues yet the Republicans allow themselves to be painted into a corner time and time again. They have candidates that can easily be portrayed as Neanderthals (even the females) so moderates aren’t interested and the candidates are never “right” enough for the evangelicals to turn out. Hoover makes a lot of sense and offers enough uncomfortable suggestions that make me think this is the prescription Republicans need.