realization, namely that their drive fornboth the White House and ideologicalnconsensus had failed to producenenough ideologically pure bodies tonstaff the new administration—whichnexplains the proliferation of conservativenthink tanks during the 1970’s.nWith President Richard Nixon,nconservatives quickly grew disenchanted—nhence the wildly unsuccessfulnAshbrook candidacy in 1972.nWith Nixon’s departure they began tonlook beyond the Ford interregnum.nHence the narrowly unsuccessful Reaganncandidacy in 1976.nBlumenthal is not interested innrehashing electoral politics fromnNixon to Reagan. He is no left-of-liberalnTeddy White chronicler of the makingnand unmaking of recent AmericannPresidents. What he is deeply interestednin is the recent stitching together ofnconservative remnants to create thencomplex quilt that is the Reagan phenomenon.nThe result is a book that isnpart intellectual history, part institutionalnhistory, part biography, and partngossip. We learn what Milton Friedmannthinks, how the American EnterprisenInstitute was built, when JudenWanniski discovered conservatism,nand why Norman Podhoretz reallynturned against George McGovern.nWhatever his genre, Blumenthal isnout to make one simple point: Counterestablishmcntnconservatism is essentiallynun-American. Apparently sufferingnfor years under the burden ofnconservative attacks on the patriotismnof the left, Blumenthal is out to turnnthe tables. He begins by positing anpeaceful America inhabited almost exclusivelynby pragmatic liberals. Thesenliberals were too busy solving America’snproblems ever to notice the intrudernin their garden.nLurking somewhere in the wildernessnwere “shadow liberals” who werenuncomfortable in the role of peacefulncultivators: They were “devoted to ideology,nnot tradition.” Their selfappointedncharge was to destroy, notnbuild. Here Blumenthal concedes hisnsubjects a bit of old-fashioned Americanism.nTheirs has been “an Americannstory of self-invention.” Thesenwere conservatives who had no past tonrestore, so they created an identity outnof a hodge-podge of European ideas.nTheir founding father was AdamnSmith, who regarded 18th-centurynBritish mercantilism as a mistake.nTheir Austrian uncle was Friedrichnvon Hayek, a “fossil” who looked uponnthe entire 20th century “as a mistake.”nNot only were these nascent counterestablishmentariansnshadowy un-nAmericans, but they were also openlynun-Republican. Ronald Reagan, accordingnto Blumenthal, didn’t bothernto reinvent the Grand Old Party; hensimply “transcended” it. The party ofnLincoln and Teddy Roosevelt (and bigngovernment) became a haven for conservativenideologues. The party of Hardingnand Coolidge (and Kellogg-nBriand Pacts) became a network ofnCold Warriors.nBorrowing from the “remnant”nsaved and displayed by William F.nBuckley, these new conservatives ofnthe 1980’s have clothed themselves innthe armor of Old Right Warriors likenWhittaker Chambers. Chambersnjoined the Communist Party becausenhe believed it to be the wave of thenfuture; and he left the party “stillnbelieving in the inevitability of worldncommunism.” Russell Kirk is another.nKirk was so “militantly anti-modern”nthat he attacked the essence of America:nthe automobile and the Chambernof Commerce business culture. EvennBuckley himself cannot pass the Blumenthalnloyalty test, because he hasnexpressed cautious doubts about universalnsuffrage.nFrom the fringe of the remnant,nBlumenthal proceeds to unravel thenmany-layered garment which, he isnconvinced, conceals the subversivenmotives of the counterestablishment.nWhether sun-belt businessmen or Jewishnintellectuals, all share the outsidernlabel. If they are truly American, it isnonly because they have divined NormannPodhoretz’s “dirty little secret.”nThey wanted to make it; and theynfigured out how to do so. What couldnbe more American than that? RussellnKirk may be content to climb thencircular staircase in his Gothic house,nbut more modern conservatives prefernto climb the ladder of Americannsuccess.nShameless self-promoters, they havenwritten the right books at the rightnmoment. They have made the rightnmarriages and moved into the rightnneighborhoods. Witness the meteoricnrise of an obscure economist namednArthur Laffer. A “cipher” within thennnNixon administration, a sensitiven”physical absurdity” (Blumenthal seldomnresists an occasion for a personalnremark), Laffer left the governmentnand discovered the wonders of walkingnon the supply side.nBy the late 1970’s he had lost weightnand found southern California. Soonnhe would be mingling socially withnReagan’s “Millionaire Backers.” EventuallynNancy and Ron would benspending evenings at the Laffers, completenwith a “squirming weasel” tossedninto Nancy’s lap by a Laffer offspring.nDespite that surprise, the Reagans returned.n”I had a lot of ‘ins’ in thatngroup,” Laffer conceded. “He was alwaysnthe well-connected Reaganite,”nBlumenthal concludes.nBlumenthal has littie time for traditionalnRepublican politicians. Theynare almost irrelevant to his story. Innfact, Blumenthal posits a teeter-totterntheory of modern politics: As partiesndecline, ideologies rise. In this age ofn30-second political ads and photogenicncandidates, parties have become shellsnof their former selves. Into these suddenlynempty shells have jumped politicizednideologues. But why are there sonmany more conservative players in thisnparticular shell game? And if Americanreally is a nation of pragmatists, andnthe Republican Party really has becomena haven for ideologues, why is itnthe national Democratic Party that isnin such a sorry fix?nAt this point Blumenthal can onlyntrot out Ronald Reagan, the allpurposenanswer-man, as in “conservatismnwould never have become a massncultural experience without him.” IfnReagan has done nothing else in hisnlengthy political career, he has at leastnprovided a convenient excuse for liberalism’snfailures.nReagan’s long-running role duringnthe I980’s has been to convert conservativenideology into national mythology.nThe Great Communicator is, accordingnto Blumenthal, the GreatnMythmaker, who believes that oncenupon a time Americans were pure andninnocent, not to mention individuallynmotivated and individually successful.nUnlike some of his conservativenbrethren, Reagan has no interest innrestoring the Age of Feudalism ornthe England of Edmund Burke.nBlumenthal’s bet is that the Presidentnwould settle for 19th-century Ameri-nJULY1987/23n