This is a major voice already. His willingness to show the hard-right on camera as they really is by itself a major contribution both to our current discourse as well as to later historical analysis.
This new book takes the already highly-insightful thinking of Richard Hofstadter's in his Paranoid Style and American Politics one step further. He takes the paranoid mind-set that describes so well the Right's perspective, and links that mind-set to what I've always believed was at the heart of their movement: a (sometimes all too accurate) perception by its members that they have failed by the standards they subscribe to.
Blumenthal quotes the amateur philosopher (OK, that's just fun to type) Eric Hoffer to Explain Everything:
“Faith in a holy cause,” Hoffer wrote, “is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves.”
This thought becomes Blumenthal's thesis (likely more of a theme, but hey, it's not a literary society), and is used over and over to illuminate the workings of the current Right at their very most fundamental level. He also introduces readers to some of the charlatans and lunatics who have personally created and led this movement - the actual Right Wing Conspiracy.
Max and I disagree about Obama's read of this history -- he thinks the President doesn't take it on board adequately, I disagree. My own view is that the President is taking a long-ish view, and knows that a success on health care will be the crack in the dam that brings about the destruction of the Lunatic Fringe as a significant force in American society for many years to come.
That destruction will take some time, and the health care win will be but the first big breakthrough. But once Americans come to understand that the government can be a very good solution to many problems, the current RIght will finally have their "emperor has no clothes" moment. We will then be able to enjoy another 40-50 years without their interference.