[Marxism] Ready for the remainder bins?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Nov 8 12:10:30 MST 2006


"What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America" 
by Thomas Frank

The largely blue collar citizens of Kansas can be counted upon to be a 
"red" state in any election, voting solidly Republican and possessing a 
deep animosity toward the left. This, according to author Thomas Frank, is 
a pretty self-defeating phenomenon, given that the policies of the 
Republican Party benefit the wealthy and powerful at the great expense of 
the average worker. According to Frank, the conservative establishment has 
tricked Kansans, playing up the emotional touchstones of conservatism and 
perpetuating a sense of a vast liberal empire out to crush traditional 
values while barely ever discussing the Republicans' actual economic 
policies and what they mean to the working class. Thus the pro-life Kansas 
factory worker who listens to Rush Limbaugh will repeatedly vote for the 
party that is less likely to protect his safety, less likely to protect his 
job, and less likely to benefit him economically. To much of America, 
Kansas is an abstract, "where Dorothy wants to return. Where Superman grew 
up." But Frank, a native Kansan, separates reality from myth in What's the 
Matter with Kansas and tells the state's socio-political history from its 
early days as a hotbed of leftist activism to a state so entrenched in 
conservatism that the only political division remaining is between the 
moderate and more-extreme right wings of the same party. Frank, the 
founding editor of The Baffler and a contributor to Harper's and The 
Nation, knows the state and its people. He even includes his own history as 
a young conservative idealist turned disenchanted college Republican, and 
his first-hand experience, combined with a sharp wit and thorough 
reasoning, makes his book more credible than the elites of either the left 
and right who claim to understand Kansas.



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