sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Sunday, August 29, 2004

A rich guy's a rich guy....

I have to respond to Steve Greenlee's review of Thomas Frank's "What's The Matter with Kansas."

The review appears to be objective. Basically, the book is Frank scratching his head, wondering why on earth any middle-class citizen would vote Republican. But, according to Greelee, the book chastizes Democrats for watering down "its own selling point - its economic policies- and allowed Republicans to win over heartland voters on the moral issues."

But, late in the review, Greenlee writes that Frank meanders a bit in his argument before "he soon returns to his point: that somehow middle America gets outraged about disappearing jobs and wealth distributon, and then elects the very people who will make matters worse."

Greenlee may simply be explaining Frank's point of view, but he does not challenge it, which I interpret to be agreement with that point of view. So they know for certain that Democrats have the answers to the economy? Nobody knows that for certain. The economy may or may not improve under Kerry. Same for Bush. Greenlee should have pointed this out.

Look, I realize the stakes when I walk into that voter's booth. If I win and I'm wrong, I'll be partly to blame. Conservative voters make their decisions based on what they believe is right, not, as Frank writes, because they are deaf "to the patent insincerity of their leaders," which is "one of the true marvels of the Great Backlash."

Why does this middle-class person vote Republican? A few years ago, a sociology professor assigned Thomas Edsall's The New Politics of Inequality, which made the case that the Democratic party had strayed from its roots and was being taken over by rich guys.

Should Kerry and Edwards be elected, they would by far be the two richest guys to hold the two highest offices. In my opinion, it's less hypocritical for a rich guy to come out say he's going to help other rich guys than to pretend like he can identify with with us middle-class guys. How can Kerry, with his $550 million bank account, reach out to me any more than Bush can?


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