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Conservative Authors Swing Hard From The Right

March 2007
Conservative Authors Swing Hard From The Right

Dinesh D'Souza and Ramesh Ponnuru are two stalwarts on the American right who don't mince words when they talk about the ideological left or the center. Like many authors, not to mention savvy publishers, D'Souza and Ponnuru surely know that a great way to grab attention in the overcrowded book world is to be as provocative as possible. That seems to be their strategy, in any case, judging by the titles of their recently published tomes. Ponnuru is the author of The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life. Oddly enough, this title sounds benign when compared to what D'Souza—or, more likely, his publisher—came up with for his latest book. Called The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, it has landed like a cruise missile, setting off a nasty

war of words across the political spectrum. But, no doubt, D'Souza and his publisher welcome these attacks—and counterattacks—as long as the book is a hot seller.

Ponnuru and D'Souza belong to just a handful of high-profile Indian American writers whose sympathies are aligned with the social conservative wing of the Republican right. Hardly surprising because, despite the gains made by Indian Americans in the GOP, they remain overwhelmingly Democratic. Among desis, a SAALT (South Asian American Leaders for Tomorrow) poll in 2004 found, only 9 percent were registered as Republicans while 74 percent were registered as Democrats. As the Rishwain Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, D'Souza is no stranger to controversy. An earlier book, The End ofRacism, generated much heat and debate, cementing his reputation as a fierce polemicist for the conservative right. Ponnuru, a senior editor for National Review magazine, may not be as widely known, but he can be just as combative. Abortion, after all, is the hot-button issue Ponnuru has taken on for his first book. D'Souza, who'd spent his early years in India, is a Goan Catholic by birth, whereas the U.S.-raised Ponnuru is a convert to Catholicism.

A poll conducted by the BBC towards the end of last year found that although many (71 percent) have a positive sense of being Indian, a good number (58 percent) also believe that "India's security is more in danger from other Indians than from foreigners." While 65 percent feel that India should be a superpower, about 55 percent don't think they and their families have personally benefited. The outcome was fairly distributed across income, age, education and religious groups. Despite favorable views of the Indian state, 48 percent prefer to work for private firms as opposed to the more secure government sector. More than half the respondents (52 percent) don't think women face barriers to success, while 55 percent agree that the justice system is equally fair to rich and poor people. Yet, according to the survey, "Indians also show a level of ambivalence about the country's traditions and heritage," with 55 percent agreeing that the caste system is an obstacle to peace and prosperity.

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