Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Frank’

The Neverending Con

November 5, 2010

The only positive thing I can say about what happened on Tuesday is that at least Sharron Angle, John Raese, Carly Fiorina and Ken Buck all lost and the abominable Blue Dog Caucus was decimated and halved overnight.

Well, the rank and file people on the street have spoken and once again have voted in the very same culprits responsible for the tattered, devastated and defiled economic predicament our nation finds itself in.  They have yet again voted entirely and unequivocally against their own economic interests.  An example of what I mean: Ohio Governor-elect John Kasich, sterling Fixed Noise style man of the people, immediately killed a statewide passenger rail project saying, in his best John Wayne/Gordon Gekko voice, “that train is dead,” according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Besides the absurd, piss-ant bluster with which he uttered these words and everything else positive this project could bring the struggling state, it will cost Ohio an estimated 8,000 jobs.  But according to Kasich, his number one priority is “creating  jobs.”  Hmmm…saying with a straight face that you mean to earnestly create jobs while gleefully wiping out a project that the Department of Labor estimates would actually have created 8,000 jobs is blatant hypocrisy couched in Orwellian linguistic black magic so daring and bold that I almost admire it.  But this is what you voted for Mr. and Mrs. No-More Manufacturing Jobs in Your Neighborhood and One Illness Away From Bankruptcy and Foreclosure, Ohio, U.S.A.   I try to refrain from calling people ‘dumb,’ even though I have let my frustration get the best of me on this blog, because that lets you fall into the dreaded “elitist” trap but when are these people EVER going to get it.  Sometimes there seems to be no other answer.  I know the Fox/Limbaugh echo chamber misinforms millions of people all day/every day, but sooner or later you have to get wise to the con.  Kasich worked at Lehman Brothers for Chrissakes.  He even bragged about it at first.  Yet I’m sure many poor, blue-collar Ohioans voted for Kasich to teach those pesky Democrats “Never Again!” regarding those damn bailouts.  There’s nothing like showing how fed-up you are with these snooty, worthless bankers by electing one of them to the Governor’s mansion.  People like Kasich don’t even try hard to conceal what they are and what they’re about (deregulation, privatization, tax-cuts for millionaires like themselves, union-busting, outsourcing) anymore and voters still, time and again, willingly give them the power to cut their throats.

I’m reading Thomas Frank’s extraordinary What’s the Matter with Kansas and it describes this self-defeating phenomenon, which he terms the “Backlash,” in the most devastating and articulate manner I’ve yet encountered.  One of the core tenets to Frank’s argument is that by constantly stoking the various passions and fervors of the culture wars to get rank and file voters to the polls, big business conservatives are continually able to win elections and further their agenda of deregulation, consolidation etc.  Karl Rove and George W. Bush made this into an art form in 2004, fomenting outrage over gay marriage to get fundamentalists to turn out and in actuality cast a vote for social security privatization.  We see this happen again and again.  But as Frank notes, and there were similar grumblings from parts of the Christian Right near the end of Bush’s second term, the Republicans never deliver any solid, appreciable legislation or leeway on the core issues “culture warriors” care about and elect Republicans to take care of.  Yet the True Believers keep on sending them to DC every few years anyway, a textbook example of Einstein’s definition of insanity.

Thomas Frank:

“For decades Americans have experienced a populist uprising that only benefits the people it is supposed to be targeting…The angry workers, mighty in their numbers, are marching irresistibly against the arrogant.  They are shaking their fists at the sons of privilege…They are massing at the gates…hoisting the black flag, and while the millionaires tremble in their mansions, they are bellowing out their terrifying demands.  “We are here,” they scream, “to cut your taxes.”                                                                                                           p.109  What’s the Matter with Kansas

Some critics have suggested that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote “the Jazz Age” into existence.  Frank wrote these words in 2004, 5 years before the onset of the Tea Party, and even though the machinations of the inverted populist backlash he so eloquently and caustically describes here had been in motion for years, it’s hard to read those words and not think of how perfectly they describe the pathetic deluded, Reverse Robin-Hoods of the Tea Party.

Will you marks ever wise-up?