What's the Matter with America?

Maybe it's related to What's the Matter with Kansas

If you're shocked, confused and bewildered about the results of the election, perhaps you should be reading Thomas Franks' What's the Matter with Kansas: How Conservatives won the Heart of America. Here are some excerpts from a customer review by Robert W. Moore, posted this morning on Amazon.com ([link]):

“This is one of the most insightful analyses of the contemporary political scene in the United States that I have read. I am writing this on the morning following a presidential election whose outcome is probably going to baffle a host of well informed, issue-oriented Americans for sometime. Thomas Frank, however, provides marvelous keys for understanding what has transpired, and also should provide some warnings to Democrats concerning how the political landscape has been transformed in recent decades.”

“Frank wants to explain a dilemma. On the one hand, the Republican Party has embraced a set of policies and enacted a wide range of legislation that hurts most Americans economically and provides a benefit to only a very small segment of the American population. ... And yet Americans continue to vote for members of a party that seems to be dedicated to intensifying that trend ... . How is this possible?”

“By examining the political scene in his home state of Kansas, Frank is able to show how Republicans have managed to attract a vast segment of the American population by fomenting culture wars, by fixating millions on issues that resonate deeply such as abortion, gun rights, gay rights, defense of marriage amendments, nonexistent religious persecution (as seen in the absurd GOP letters mailed in Arkansas, West Virginia, and elsewhere that if Kerry were elected the Bible would be banned), and similar issues. Despite the fact that the GOP actually passes no legislation related to any of these cultural concerns, and despite the fact that what the party actually does is pass a great deal of legislation that continues the concentration of the national wealth in the hands of a conservative economic elite, these cultural wedge issues have been deployed repeatedly to get people across America to vote against their own best interests.”