Pros: Well-written and informative.
Cons: Kind of dry.
In What's The Matter With Kansas? Thomas Frank explained how conservatives hoodwink (mostly poor) Americans into voting against their own financial self-interest. In The Wrecking Crew, he goes into detail about what they do once they win the elections. While Frank covers all the expected corruption and incompetence, he frames these issues as being integral components of the conservative ideology rather than simple cases of greed and misguided policy. Frank makes a good case that many of the terrible decisions made by conservative leaders are in fact part of a plan to turn their view of government as a bloated, incompetent, and expensive bureaucracy into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Frank's thesis would sound like conspiracy theory were it not for the fact that most of his arguments about the conservative scheme to topple the government from within are backed up by explicit statements of prominent conservative leaders. Ronald Reagan's treatment of the EPA is an excellent example of deliberate sabotage of a government organization. In addition to slashing funding for the organization, Reagan appointed someone who was ideologically opposed to the agency's mission to run it. As a result of the underfunding and obstruction from the top down, many of the agency's best and brightest left for jobs in the private sector. These private sector jobs paid a lot better thanks to the conservative policy of deliberately underfunding pay and benefits for government jobs in order to keep the most able workers from even considering civil service.
Frank's theory also explains the huge deficits routinely wracked up by the same party that claims to represent fiscal responsibility. This is best summed up in the famous sound bit from Grover Norquist, who wanted to "starve the federal government until it is small enough to drown in a bathtub." By spending huge amounts of government money on pork and no-bid contracts for their corporate pals (who, after all, represent the holy free market), the conservative administration has an excuse to cut social programs (or, even better, forces the subsequent liberal administration to do so in an attempt to reduce the national debt).
Since many conservative policies are tied closely to their free market ideology, the relationship between government and industry is ever-present throughout the book. Since lobbyists play a large role in this relationship, it's not surprising that Jack Abramoff shows up regularly throughout the book. From his beginnings as the leader of Reagan's College Republicans to his inevitable fall, Abramoff shows up so often that at times the book comes close to sounding more like a biography than a book about politics. While at first it seems that Frank may be using the infamous Abramoff as a sort of boogeyman to represent all that is wrong with the conservative worldview, by the end of the book Abramoff feels like an obvious choice because he so perfectly embodies conservative ideology in action.
In the final chapter of the book, Frank manages to not only summarize his previous points but succinctly explain why liberals are often seen as spineless do-nothings. It boils down to the fact that conservatives see politics as a battle of ideological total war: the only goal is to destroy the opposing side, no matter what it takes (the conservative movement's close ties with fundamentalist Christianity, and the subsequent belief that God is on their side, only servers to shore up this belief). Liberals, on the other hand, operate from a stance that everyone has a right to their own beliefs, and that those beliefs deserve to be heard. As a result, liberals can't play the game in the same way that conservatives do without going against their own principals, leading to a win-win gridlock for the conservative movement.
While The Wrecking Crew is an interesting and informative book, I didn't find it nearly as engaging as What's The Matter With Kansas?. While the subject matter, which involves lots of economic and policy details, is part of the problem, I think the real issue is that after 8 years of Dubya, it's just a lot harder to shocked and offended by the way conservatives do things. While it's not a page turner, the book makes many excellent points and is well worth a read.