Wednesday, June 30, 2004

WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS

One of the best political books I've read recently is Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas:How Conservatives Won the Heart of America. Frank, editor of the Baffler, goes back to his own home state of Kansas to discover why a state that was on the forefront of the progressive movement a hundred years ago has become a right wing hotbed. So right wing in fact, that the battle is not between the left and right, but the Mods (Moderate Republicans)and Cons (Conservative activists energized by the anti-abortion movement). While this might promise a dry boring sociological treatise, Frank's secret weapon is his biting wit, which has been rightfully compared with the style of H.L. Mencken (minus Mencken's less savory politics). Adding to the insight is Frank's own background as a college age Reagan supporter. Here's an interesting interview with him from Salon.com.