Reading Journal Entry: What's the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank

Is anyone sensing a theme here? Yes, I'm liberal.

Frank is incisive and scathing and occasionally very amusing in this analysis of how the Republican party has won the heart of the heartland and co-opted the language of persecution that was once the prerogative of the left.

It was good, but not as good as I had hoped - perhaps a bit over-hyped. Frank intersperses solid observational analysis drawn from interviews and personal experience with less interesting (and grounded) criticism of conservative commentators. Some things, also, he fails to address, such as the success of the paternalistic conservative stance.

He confines his suggestions for the Democratic party to the epilogue and new afterword. Frank blames the loss of support for the party among the lower economic classes to the Democratic turn towards the center and 'pro-business' interests. But I just can't think that's enough of an explanation for the loss of the outrageously active Populist movements of the past. There IS a moral divide on issues like abortion, religion, etc., between liberals and the people he's talking about, there had to be for the neo-cons to exploit it. Why? Was it always there? Who changed?

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