Out of boredom, I have been reading Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas, a political tract I picked up in a dollar store a few days ago. The author is perplexed by the behavior of working class whites in Kansas who vote against their own economic self-interest in supporting Republicans. These conservative leaders never deliver on their culture war promises (ending abortion, affirmative action, illegal immigration, etc.), but instead use their time in office to advance their destructive economic agenda. As a result, Kansas is suffering from depopulation and the collapse of its small towns.
Towards the end of the book Frank finally admits that voting for Democrats who support huge bailouts for multinational corporations, deregulation, and free trade accomplishes nothing. When economic issues are taken off the table, the two parties joust each election cycle over personality contests and rehearse culture war rhetoric. After all his grandstanding last summer over the terrible economy, Obama picked up where Bush left off: throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at Wall Street, warning against “protectionism,” flying overseas to push the globalization agenda, pushing amnesty for illegal aliens, and so on.
“Change We Can Believe In.” Yeah right.