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'Off center'

The accepted wisdom in American politics is that the moderate center prevents either party from moving too far to the extreme. In the new book "Off Center" Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson write that the Republican Party has managed to defy this accepted wisdom.


Professor, a Former Marshall Clerk, on Alito

Professor Cass Sunstein discusses the nomination of Samuel Alito to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Sunstein a professor at the Law School at the University of Chicago, is a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.


Former Republican Senator John Danforth

A retired Episcopal priest, Danforth represented Missouri in the Senate for 18 years. He is also the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Recently, Danforth has been outspoken about the Christian conservative bent of the GOP, writing that "Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians."


Christine Todd Whitman: Battle for the GOP Core

Former New Jersey governor and Environmental Protection Agency head for the Bush administration Christine Todd Whitman. She is a moderate Republican and in her new book argues against the hijacking of her party by zealous "social fundamentalists." Her new book is It's My Party, Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America.


From Direct Mail to 'America's Right Turn'

Richard Viguerie is considered the "funding father" of the conservative movement. In the 1970s and 80s he pioneered direct mail political fundraising. He is a co-author of America's Right Turn: How Conservatives Used New and Alternative Media to Take Power. He now heads the organization American Target Advertising Inc.


'The New Yorker' Editor Hendrik Hertzberg

Last week The New Yorker endorsed John Kerry for president. Hertzberg frequently contributes to the magazine's Talk of the Town section. He is also the author of Politics: Observations and Arguments, 1966-2004. Hertzberg was on the staff of The New Republic magazine for much of the 1980s. He also spent time in the White House from 1979 to 1981 as Jimmy Carter's speechwriter.


Christian Comedian Brad Stine

tine was having limited success in the secular world, decided to pray for help, and landed on his feet in the evangelical church circuit. He has since moved back to playing for larger audiences as well as churchgoers. His DVDs are the new A Conservative Unleashed and last year's Put A Helmet On.


'Baffler' Editor Thomas Frank

Frank is the founding editor of the zine The Baffler, a cultural-criticism journal. He also writes frequently for Harper's, and The Nation. His new book is What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America. He is also the author of One Market Under God, and The Conquest of Cool.


Political Activist William Greene

He is a founder of the conservative group According to the group's Web site, "is an umbrella Web site for many conservative organizations." The group has launched media and e-mail campaigns, some of them against They are planning to sponsor TV ads criticizing the liberal group. One of the group's members recently released a country song entitled "Hey Hollywood." The song pokes fun at so-called liberal actors and country musicians, like Willie Nelson and The Dixie Chicks, who speak out against the war in Iraq.


Comedian and Political Commentator Al Franken

Enter MeFranken's new book is Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Franken recently made headlines when the Fox News Channel tried to sue him over the phrase "fair and balanced," which Fox claimed as its own. Fox lost, and Franken got lots of publicity for the book, which is now a bestseller. Al Franken is an alumnus of Saturday Night Live, where his most memorable character was the simpering self-help sap Stuart Smalley.


Joseph Cirincione

He specializes in defense and proliferation issues at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is senior associate and director of the Non-Proliferation Project. He will discuss the evolution of the Bush administration's policy toward Iraq. Its origins begin with a small group of influential officials and experts in Washington, D.C., who were calling for regime change in Iraq long before Sept. 11, 2001.


William Kristol

He is editor of the conservative magazine, The Weekly Standard. He also chairs the neo-conservative think tank, Project for the New American Century. He is one of the architects of the blueprint for regime change found in the document "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century."


Journalist Eric Alterman

His new book is What Liberal Media? The Truth about Bias and the News. While most critics of the media say reporters are too liberal, Alterman contends the opposite is true, and that the bulk of reporting is quite conservative. Alterman currently writes for The Nation and the Altercation weblog. He's been a contributing editor or writer for Worth, Rolling Stone, Elle, Mother Jones, World Policy Journal and The Sunday Express (London).


Journalist Jeffrey Toobin

Journalist Jeffrey Toobin discusses his profile of Attorney General John Aschroft, published in this week's issue of The New Yorker. Toobin is a staff writer for The New Yorker and a legal analyst for ABC News. His books include Too Close to Call: The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election (Random House); A Vast Conspiracy; and The Run of His Life.


"The Great Betrayal."

Journalist, conservative pundit, and former Presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan. His new book is "The Great Betrayal: How American Sovereignty and Social Justice Are Being Sacrificed to the Gods of the Global Economy" (Little, Brown and Company).


The Split Between Centrist and Far Right Conservatives

Former conservative Michael Lind. As a writer and editor he worked closely with the leaders of American conservatism: as research assistant to William F. Buckley, Jr. and editor of the National Interest. He became disillusioned with the party because of it's economic policies and the dominance of such groups as the Christian Coalition. He also denounced Pat Buchanan in 1992. Lind's new book is "Up From Conservatism: Why the Right is Wrong for America." He's currently senior editor of The New Yorker.


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