9780805073393

What's the Matter with Kansas? : How Conservatives Won the Heart of America

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780805073393

  • ISBN10:

    0805073396

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2004-06-01
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books

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Summary

With his acclaimed wit and acuity, Thomas Frank turns his eye on what he calls the 'thirty-year backlash'-the populist revolt against a supposedly liberal establishment. The high point of that backlash is the Republican Party's success in building the most unnatural of alliances: between blue-collar Midwesterners and Wall Street business interests, workers and bosses, populists and right-wingers. In asking 'what 's the matter with Kansas?'-how a place famous for its radicalism became one of the most conservative states in the union-Frank, a native Kansan and onetime Republican, seeks to answer some broader American riddles: Why do so many of us vote against our economic interests? Where's the outrage at corporate manipulators? And whatever happened to middle-American progressivism? The questions are urgent as well as provocative. Frank answers them by examining pop conservatism-the bestsellers, the radio talk shows, the vicious political combat-and showing how our long culture wars have left us with an electorate far more concerned with their leaders' 'values' and down-home qualities than with their stands on hard questions of policy.

Author Biography

Founding editor of The Baffler, Thomas Frank is the author of One Market Under God and The Conquest of Cool. A contributor to Harper’s, The Nation, and The New York Times op-ed page, he lives in Chicago.

Table of Contents

From What’s the Matter with Kansas?:

Hard times, instead of snapping people back to reality, only seem to stoke the fires of the conservative backlash. Indeed, those segments of the working class that have been hardest hit by the big economic changes of recent years are the very ones that vote Republican in the greatest numbers. We seem to have but one way to express our anger, and that’s by raging along with Rush—against liberal bias in academia, liberal softness on terrorism, liberal permissiveness, and so on. Our reaction to hard times is thus to hand over ever more power to the people who make them hard. In fact, the election of 2002 provided a perverse incentive to the men who gave us the dot-com bubble and the Enron fiasco: Keep at it. The more you screw the public over, the more they will clamor to cut your taxes. The more you cheat and steal, the angrier they will become—at the liberal media that expose your cheating and stealing.

Excerpts

From What’s the Matter with Kansas?:Hard times, instead of snapping people back to reality, only seem to stoke the fires of the conservative backlash. Indeed, those segments of the working class that have been hardest hit by the big economic changes of recent years are the very ones that vote Republican in the greatest numbers. We seem to have but one way to express our anger, and that’s by raging along with Rush—against liberal bias in academia, liberal softness on terrorism, liberal permissiveness, and so on. Our reaction to hard times is thus to hand over ever more power to the people who make them hard. In fact, the election of 2002 provided a perverse incentive to the men who gave us the dot-com bubble and the Enron fiasco: Keep at it. The more you screw the public over, the more they will clamor to cut your taxes. The more you cheat and steal, the angrier they will become—at the liberal media that expose your cheating and stealing.

Excerpted from What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America by Thomas Frank
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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