In The wrecking crew : how conservatives rule, Thomas Frank examines the new conservative movement that has risen to dominance in the Republican party over the last forty years.
Frank's thesis is simple: the new conservatives despise government, and seek to destroy it. They see themselves as outsiders, as rebels, as, dare I say it, mavericks. John McCain's position that he is running against the government in which he serves is nothing new.
Accordingly, when they gain control of government, they wreck it. They appoint industry insiders to regulatory groups and systematically drive out any civil servants that disagree with their beliefs. They deregulate and let businesses runs wild. And when it all comes crashing down, when businesses fail and must be bailed out, and rampant corruption sends politicians to jail, the conservatives see it as vindication. "See! We told you! Government just doesn't work! Look at how it corrupts everyone who goes there!"
The book is extremely well written. Frank admirably succeeds at keeping the tone positive and fun. He clearly disagrees with the conservative movement he is blasting, but he avoids turning the book into a vitriolic screed.