Politics & Media
Sep 23, 2009, 11:18AM

How the fringe right went mainstream

A look back at Hofstadter's take on McCarthyism.

A few years ago, in this column, I proposed a moratorium on drive-by references to historian Richard Hofstadter's classic essay "The Paranoid Style in American Politics." Too often, pundits invoked the title of that Goldwater-era exploration of right-wing fringe politics without giving much attention to the essay's actual content, let alone the context in which Hofstadter wrote it.


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