Monday, December 06, 2004

Here's another column from last summer about Thomas Frank:

Monday, July 19, 2004

The New York Times had an op-ed piece Friday by my new literary hero, Thomas Frank, who is the author of What's the Matter with Kansas? Better than anyone else I've read, Frank understands the strategy and the impact of the culture wars, and what he knows is that Republicans rile up their conservative base over social issues that the powerful in the GOP have no intention of changing. This ploy to infuriate the cons against "the liberal elite" increases voter turnout in Red areas. Those folks vote for rich Republicans who just keep making themselves richer, while the good-hearted, unpretentious family values crowd just keep getting poorer, without noticing who's doing it to them. This sleight of hand has been not just working, but succeeding devilishly well.
The gay marriage constitutional amendment is a perfect example, as Frank points out in "Failure Is Not an Option, It's Mandatory":
The issue is all-important; the issue is incapable of being won. Only when the battle is defined this way can it achieve the desired results, have its magical polarizing effect. Only with a proposed constitutional amendment could the legalistic, cavilling Democrats be counted on to vote "no," and only with an offensive so blunt and so sweeping could the universal hostility of the press be secured. Losing is prima facie evidence that the basic conservative claim is true: that the country is run by liberals; that the world is unfair; that the majority is persecuted by a sinister elite. And that therefore you, my red-state friend, had better get out there and vote as if your civilization depended on it.
Click here to read the column.

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