Saturday, August 07, 2004

Cultural Losers
Probably most of you have been aware for some time of the crucial glue that the culture wars form to bond working class voters to the Republican party. But do you know about the book What's the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank?

I haven't read it or even bought it, but watching Bill Moyers and reading two articles qualifies me to say this: this book uses Republican-voting working class Kansas as an example of what's wrong with the whole country to make this fascinating additional contribution to public debate: the Republicans not only cynically use social issues (especially anti-abortion and gay rights) to distract working class people while they accomplish their broad economic agenda, the Republican party routinely loses in its culture fight and wins in its economic fight.

The Republican party uses social issues as populist issues, baiting people against limosine liberals and latte drinking Hollywood liberals. The class war is never connected with economic interests though, because tax cuts for the wealthy do not benefit people who work and shop at Walmart.

The result: working class people who care strongly about these issues lose both ways. I haven't figured out how this can help Democrats, but I suspect there's a way. I guess my approach of just mocking and taunting the Republicans won't fly, "losers, losers, gay people are getting married anyway while you're getting poorer."

No comments: