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I've never understood the argument that "Frank is wrong" because Kansas just happens to be above average in income. As Jerome has pointed out, average and median are two different things, and economic inequality has increased in Kansas more than just about anywhere else in the country.

But all of this is beside the point. Kansas has always been a conservative Republican state, as Frank well knows because he grew up there. Frank's argument is that the nature of that conservatism has changed in the last 15 or 20 years, from a sort of "Main Street" conservatism to a more radical version defined more by the religious right and cultural/social issues than economic ones.

Beyond that, is it really "condescending" to think that, in a world of Fox News and a right-tilting media, along with a milquetoast Democratic Party establishment, that people may not fully understand that there are more economic policy options before them than just tax cuts and deregulation? Or that people may get wrongly convinced that George Bush is a new kind of "compassionate" conservative? Or that he is more moderate than he actually is on foreign policy?

I don't think so.

Of course, if people think cultural or social issues are more important than class or economic issues, then that's one thing.

But if they fail to distinguish between the two parties on economic issues or become convinced that the center-left are "extremists" on cultural issues because of a successful right-wing propaganda campaign, then that is something else, and we need to understand why it has happened and what to do about it.

That's what Frank's book is really about.

by TGeraghty on Mon Oct 31st, 2005 at 02:21:17 AM EST
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